News Archives for 2020-03

Keeping the Washington Island supplied

Even with a ferry ride between them and the mainland, Mann’s Store on Washington Island has not been immune to the impact of the coronavirus. Almost like a busy summer weekend, staff members at the family-owned grocery store have been working hard to keep the shelves full for their customers. Owner Jerry Mann says like other grocery stores on the mainland, they are running low on some of the same items as the supply chain catches up with the demand. Mann believes with the help of the community that they will get through it.

Mann says it has not been forced to go the way of some grocery stores that have instituted online shopping or special hours for the island’s senior residents. Since Governor Tony Evers’ issued his Safer at Home order last week, the Washington Island Ferry has dropped the number of daily roundtrips it offers down to four.

 

Picture courtesy of MannsGrocery.com

Faith leaders look at the bright side

Pastor Joel McKenney of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Algoma has preached in front of small numbers before, but nothing prepared him for the last few weeks. Like all churches across the country, clergy members have not been able to open their doors for services due to a ban on mass gatherings of 10 people or more. This has forced them to find alternate ways to reach their members and also receive donations to keep their churches thriving. McKenney prefers to look at the positives. He says technology has made their services more accessible to those who have not been able to attend in person in years, let alone weeks.

Views for St. Paul’s services on Facebook have averaged between 300 and 500 views since churches had to stop holding them in person. 

 

Picture courtesy of St. Paul's Lutheran Church web site


PLAYING ON 96.7 WBDK SUNDAY

8 a.m. St. Joseph's Catholic Parish, Sturgeon Bay

9 a.m. St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Algoma

10 a.m. Friends Community Church, Sturgeon Bay

 

PLAYING ON 104.1 WRLU SUNDAY

8 a.m. St Francis & St Mary Catholic Church, Brussels

 

Schedule subject to change

Students adjust to new normal

Students across Door and Kewaunee Counties are still going to school this week, however, their classroom looks a little different. Schools across the state have been closed since early March as a precautionary measure to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Students have had to adjust to not just learning remotely, but not being able to be with friends or participate in sports. Sturgeon Bay senior Sarah Bridenhagen was planning on playing her last season of softball this spring before heading to Wisconsin Lutheran in the fall to begin her road towards being a pediatric nurse. She says her human biology course will be a little different if they are not able to get back into the classroom.

School districts across Door and Kewaunee Counties have developed remote learning plans to replace in-person instruction for the time being, in some instances just within the last few weeks. While high school students are primarily online, elementary students have had a mixture of paper and digital assignments. Click here to read Bridenhagen’s Culver’s Student-Athlete of the Week profile at DoorKewauneeHighSchoolSports.com.


Moving forward after positive case

It may not be the last case, but Door County health officials are moving forward after announcing the first positive test of a person with COVID-19 Monday evening. Door County Medical Center Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jim Heise and Door County Public Health Officer Sue Powers shared broad details about the case during their weekly Facebook Live chat. They said the person has been isolated since being tested and is currently hospitalized in Green Bay.  Powers said now it is a matter of backtracking from when they became symptomatic to determine where they have been and who else may have been exposed.

Heise credited residents with practicing safe social distancing and good hygiene for curtailing the spread of COVID-19 in Door County up until this point. As of March 30th, 102 people have been tested for COVID-19 with 43 coming back negative and over 60 still pending. 

 

 

Algoma community response impresses police chief

The level of cooperation by the public since the “Safer at Home” order was handed down last week by Governor Tony Evers has a local police chief taking note.  Algoma Police Chief Randy Remiker says his patrol officers are still responding to emergency calls and enforcing speeding violations in the city, but are not monitoring any unessential travel.  He says he has been impressed with the community’s commitment to following the restrictions imposed by the state and federal government to this point.

 

 

Chief Remiker is asking residents to make correspondence to the police via the phone if the issue is a small matter or of a non-criminal nature. The “Safer at Home” order was issued for one month and will run until at least April 24.    

 

Giving can be a great gift to yourself -- Mental Health Minute

With more stresses facing people today including the elderly who may not be seeing their family members at this time due to health concerns, this week’s life lesson by psychologist Dr. Dennis White of Sturgeon Bay focuses the importance of giving.  Dr. White shares a story about a five-year-old boy who agreed to have a blood transfusion with antibodies for his younger sister who had developed the same disease he had recovered from a few years earlier.  The volunteer nurse in the room explains what happened next, according to Dr. White.

 

 

You can find Dr. White’s entire Mental Health Minute with the fourth life lesson with this story online.   

 

 


Community support helping pantry meet demand

Feed and Clothe My People of Door County is meeting its' mission of helping anyone in need at any time, despite increased demand.  The pantry in Sturgeon Bay says it's helping more people as businesses reduce or close down operations to address health concerns.  Estella Huff, Director of Operation for Feed and Clothe My People, says as more people are looking for help others are stepping up their support for the pantry.

 

 

 

Huff says Feed and Clothe My People remains open Monday and Thursday from Noon until 4 PM, and other weekdays from 10 AM until 2 PM. The 14th Avenue Thrift Store will be closed temporarily and no donations of goods or clothing will be accepted during this temporary closure.  Food donations continue to be needed and may be delivered to the "Food Pickup" door during the hours of operation.

First confirmed case of COVID-19 in Door County

The first reported case of the coronavirus in Door County was announced Monday by the Door County Public Health Department.  According to the news release, the Individual has remained in isolation since testing for the virus.  The Door County Health and Wisconsin Department of Health Services are identifying and contacting people who have been in close contact with the person affected.  Those people will be asked to quarantine themselves for 14 days from exposure.  You can find the complete news release with this story online including simple steps to prevent illness and avoid exposure to the coronavirus.   

 

 

 

COVID-19 Update Confirmed in Door County 

Door County—Department of Health and Human Services announced today that there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 in Door County. This individual has remained isolated since time of testing. 

Door County Public Health and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) responsibilities include: 

• Identifying and contacting anyone who has been in close contact with a person who has COVID-19. These people are asked to quarantine themselves for 14 days from their exposure and will be monitored for fever and respiratory symptoms. People with symptoms are tested for COVID-19. 

• Daily symptom monitoring to determine when a person can be released from isolation. 

• Providing guidance to clinicians regarding testing 

• Preparing Wisconsin for community spread of COVID-19. 

Door County Public Health is working with our local, state, and federal partners to deal quickly and effectively when people have symptoms of COVID-19 or have been around people who have been infected with the coronavirus. 

In order to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Wisconsin, Governor Tony Evers directed Department of Health Services (DHS) Secretary-designee Andrea Palm to issue a Safer at Home order that prohibits all nonessential travel. This order went into effect at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, March 25, 2020, and will remain in effect until 8 a.m. on April 24, 2020, or until a superseding order is issued. 

The public should follow simple steps to prevent illness and avoid exposure to this virus including: 

• Avoid social gatherings with people of all ages (including playdates and sleepovers, parties, large family dinners, visitors in your home, and non-essential workers in your house); 

• Frequent and thorough hand washing with soap and water; 

• Covering coughs and sneezes (into the sleeve or elbow, not hands); 

• Regularly cleaning high-touch surfaces; 

• Not shaking hands; 

• Avoiding touching your face; and 

• Staying home. 

We encourage the public to monitor the Door County Government website https://www.co.door.wi.gov/ Door County Public Health Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/doorcountypublichealth/ and the DHS website for updates, and to follow @DHSWI on Facebook and Twitter, or DHS WI on Instagram. Additional information can be found on the CDC website. 

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Travel Advisory issued in Kewaunee County

The Kewaunee County Public Health Department has issued a travel advisory to keep residents healthy and safe during the COVID-19 crisis.  Since there are no confirmed coronavirus cases in Kewaunee County as of Monday, local health officials are asking non-permanent residents to avoid travel to their seasonal homes in the county.  The travel advisory is also asking residents of Kewaunee County to stay in the county when doing their shopping for necessities.  Kewaunee County Public Health Department Director Cindy Kinnard says, “we all need to continue to do our part to limit the spread of COVID-19 and by everyone limiting travel is just another way that we can all unite.  Now, we do understand that some Primary care physicians of residents may require travel outside of Kewaunee County, and those appointments can be critical to keep.” She adds to keep social distancing at all times by remaining at least six feet apart from others.   Door County issued a similar travel advisory last week.

 


Fairests biding time

The area’s two Fairests of the Fair are at a standstill as they wait for schools to open and a ban on mass gatherings to be lifted. Door County Fairest of the Fair Katie Guilette and Kewaunee County Fairest of the Fair Kiley Pagel are tasked with visiting local events and talking to people promoting their area’s signature events. During the final months of her reign, Guilette was planning on visiting Door County schools to encourage students to enter some of their class assignments and other projects into the Junior Fair. Pagel hardly had a chance to get her term going, appearing at Winter Park and the Bruemmer Park Zoo’s ZoupArt before Kewaunee County events began being shut down and postponed. While she does have schoolwork to keep her occupied, Pagel is anxious to restart her Fairest duties.

The Fairests’ signature events are still scheduled to take place as of right now with the Kewaunee County Fair happening July 9th through the 12th and the Door County Fair occurring July 29th through August 2nd.

Coalition makes big impact in first week

The Door County Emergency Support Coalition is already making a huge impact in the community despite being just a week old. In its infancy, the coalition has already recruited 294 volunteers and completed 64 community assists. Their efforts include assisting in absentee voting efforts, delivering food on the Meals on Wheels program, and taking sanitizing materials to Washington Island. While the numbers and the amount of activity could be staggering to some, Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Chief Chris Hecht says he is not surprised by the support the coalition has received.

While he is happy with the response early on, Hecht reminds everyone that responding to the community’s needs during the COVID-19 outbreak is a marathon and not a sprint. We have information posted below highlighting the achievements of the Door County Emergency Support Coalition and how you can be a volunteer for one of their non-contact positions.

 

Screenshot from video posted by Door County Fire Chiefs Association

 

Read more about Door County Emergency Support Coalition efforts by click here

 

Sign up to be a volunteer by clicking this link

 

 

Local blood drives to continue

Some blood drives around Door County will be held as scheduled, even though the donation locations are closed for their day-to-day functions until further notice. The American Red Cross is facing blood shortages and concerns about COVID-19 have canceled 67 blood drives in the Wisconsin/Iowa region. Blood drive locations will also be taking extra precautions to address health concerns.  Laura McGuire with the American Red Cross in Madison says that includes practicing social distancing.

 

 

McGuire says that viruses cannot be transmitted via blood donations.  She adds that donors' immunity does not go down after donating blood. However, she requests donors who feel ill within days after a donation please contact the Red Cross so the blood can be quarantined.


Sap season flows well

Sap collectors like Bill Roethle at Hillside Apples in Casco are starting to experience the sweet taste of success after another season comes to a close. The sap begins to flow in maple trees beginning in the middle of February and continues until the beginning of April. The 2,000 gallons of sap collected by Roethle this year went towards the production of 65 gallons of maple syrup for his own use and even more for area wholesalers. He credits gravity and a new system for helping him make about 20 more gallons of syrup this year.

Roethle says good weather also helped in the process as he was able to get to the trees quicker and the sap flowed faster.

Luxemburg machine shop burns

Close to two dozen fire trucks and other emergency personnel responded to a blaze at a machine shop in Luxemburg Sunday night. Located off of Highway 54, fire departments from Luxemburg, Casco, New Franken, Algoma, and Kewaunee began arriving at E&H Premier Machine in Luxemburg at around 7:30 p.m. with smoke coming out and visible damage to the outside of the building. Luxemburg Fire Chief Lew DuChateau says most of the damage occurred in the machine shop’s office.

The Town of Luxemburg Hall, which is connected to the machine shop, only suffered smoke damage. No injuries were reported and DuChateau says the cause of the fire is under investigation. Fire Departments from Brussels-Union-Gardner and Tisch Mills provided back up for the responding units.

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Black swan" likely to cause recession

Sturgeon Bay Mayor David Ward sees some black clouds on the economic horizon. Ward, who has a Ph.D. in economics and was a former college professor, does not believe it’s possible to avoid a downturn. 

 


Ward expects a recession to take hold even with the stimulus bill passed this week in Washington, D.C. He thinks the economic effects from the coronavirus “black swan” event, defined as something rare and unforeseen, will hit before the stimulus can trickle through the economy. Ward says Sturgeon Bay’s manufacturing base should hold up well and encourages people to support local businesses even if it is as small as ordering a take-out meal at an area restaurant.

 

Door County Broadband aided by advance plan

Advance planning is paying off for customers of Door County Broadband.  With more people working remotely, the Baileys Harbor-based internet service provider is more than able to keep up with the demand for bandwidth.  Door County Broadband President and CEO Kevin Voss says his company is benefiting from long-term relationships with vendors that can supply additional bandwidth as needed.  He adds that having a disaster response plan in place has allowed the company to function as demand has increased.

 

 

 

Voss says Door County Broadband's disaster response plan has drawn compliments from vendors who say it surpasses those of some larger internet service providers.

Birch Creek faculty sharing hopeful music online

The Birch Creek Performance Center's social media page is buzzing with new sounds. The school’s faculty is putting their recent musical efforts online as they attempt to bridge the time between now and when they can play again at clubs or orchestra hall. Even instructor Reggie Taylor’s latest blues riff is up-tempo. Executive Director Mona Christensen says music is especially important now.

 


Christensen says that May will be an important time to evaluate whether summer instruction can continue as normal. 

Counseling organization adapts to social distancing requirements

Telehealth has taken off in the coronavirus era, with the diagnosis and treatment of physical, as well as mental, conditions being done in compliance with new guidelines on social distancing. Counseling Associates of Door County is adopting new Centers for Disease Control protocols surrounding mental health and substance abuse treatment. Director William Nick says telehealth isn’t his first choice, but he expects it will stick around.

 


Telehealth previously ran afoul of HIPAA privacy concerns in many cases, and Nick says once the public health emergency is over, he expects those restrictions to be put back in place.

 

County employees meet residents' needs from home

Door County government workers are still helping residents in need of assistance.  They're just doing it online in the comfort of their homes.  Many county employees are now answering residents' questions and looking up records working remotely.  That's to comply with Governor Evers' “Safer at Home” order.  County Administrator Ken Pabich says there's little risk of employees and their computers being overloaded at home.  He also says some county government offices are still being staffed though not accessible to the public.

 

 

 

Pabich says it's best for residents needing access to county services to call the Door County Government Center first and be directed to onsite staffers or employees working remotely. 

Burn ban in effect

From en fuego to no bueno, the Department of Natural Resources has instituted a temporary burn ban. No permits will be issued by local fire departments until the ban has been lifted. DNR Fire Prevention Specialist Catherine Koele says spring is the most dangerous time of the year for wildfires in the state.

 


Fewer than two percent of Wisconsin wildfires are caused by nature. 

 

Money Management Counselors helping clients through economic shock

Last week, an unprecedented 3.2 million Americans filed for unemployment insurance, with Wisconsin and the Door Peninsula following that trend. The previous record for a week was 695,000 claims in 1981. Unofficial data from the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development suggests applications continue to skyrocket, at nearly 20,000 new filings each day. Leslie Boden, Director of Money Management Counselors, says the abrupt change in the country’s economic fortunes can be a clarifying moment for her clients.

 


Boden says Money Management Counselors will have to delay rolling out an Algoma office until economic uncertainty, and the new wave of demand it creates for the organization, dies down. 

 

Golf courses prepare as usual for 2020 season

The Orchards at Egg Harbor is proceeding with preparations for the 2020 golfing season even as Door County is urging people to stay away until the COVID-19 pandemic ends. Employees are taking precautions and moving forward with getting the greens and fairways ready.  Managing  Partner Jack  Jackson says as things stand now he expects the course to open as usual in May.

 

 

 

Jackson says The Orchards at Egg Harbor is prepared to serve guests at the bar and grill when the “Safe at Home” order is lifted.  He also says seating can be spaced out to accommodate guests wishing to maintain social distancing inside and on the patio.

Door County Salvation Army able to meet new economic challenge

Volunteer Tom Mullinix says the Door County Salvation Army is well-capitalized to provide rent and utility relief for area residents as a wave of layoffs cascades through the area. Mullinix says the community was so generous during the prosperous times, including the recent holiday season, additional support is not needed now.

 


Mullinix says he can see the extension become more active in shoring up local food supplies, something it usually leaves to other organizations. He expects that the strain on the supply chain seen at the grocery store will trickle into nonprofit food pantries as well.

 

Humane Society in need of foster homes

The Wisconsin Humane Society is not worried yet about the number of animals under its care, but Vice President of Communications Angela Speed says that can change quickly come summertime.

 


Three of the organization’s five shelters have closed, including its Door County campus, which means they desperately need foster homes to provide care until the coronavirus epidemic has passed. Adoptions are also welcome but are currently being done through appointment only. You can see all of the animals looking for a home by clicking here.

 

*Photo from Wisconsin Humane Society website. 

Door and Kewaunee Counties vote no on mail-in election

Governor Tony Evers proposed a mail-in election Friday afternoon, asking that all registered voters in the state be given an absentee ballot. Clerks in Door and Kewaunee Counties are rejecting that idea. The concerns range from budgetary matters to election integrity, says Kewaunee Clerk Jamie Annoye.

 


Jill Lau says plenty of people heeded the call to vote using an absentee ballot already.

 


Lau says that with so many votes received at this point, even a postponement would be troublesome. That would mean that most will have potentially cast their ballots weeks, or months, before Election Day proper.

 

Southern Door schools meeting increased need of meal program

An increasing number of families who have children in the Southern Door School District are benefiting from the lunch program that restarted earlier this week despite the temporary closure of schools statewide.  School Superintendent Patti Vickman says that the food is being prepared by A’viands Food Service Management with some staff members at the school actually helping with the delivery of the program.  She says the program is running smoothly in the first week, even with the increased demand.

 

 

The breakfast and lunches are distributed at the fire departments located in Southern Door and also at the school for pickup.  If transportation is an issue for the recipients, the meals are being delivered to the residences, according to Vickman.  

 

Pets offer a healthy diversion 

Flea and tick season is approaching soon, and Dr. Jordan Kobilca from Door County Veterinary Hospital in Sturgeon Bay reminds pet owners to make sure your dog has the proper preventative protection for the spring and summer.  He assures people that veterinary services are operating as usual, although having your pet seen may take a little more time.   He says spending more time at home with your families and pets can be positive.

 

 

Dr. Jordan says his clinics are allowing for curbside drop-off of pets to accommodate people with social distancing.  He says his veterinary hospital has enough medical supplies for the foreseeable future, but surgical masks and gloves are on backorder at this time.  The Centers for Disease Control have stated that there is no evidence that pets can spread COVID-19.

 

Religious leaders asking for people to come together spiritually

Churches throughout Door and Kewaunee Counties are finding new ways to reach out to their members since the doors are closed temporarily for masses and services. Churches like St. Mary’s in Luxemburg and Shrine of Our Lady of Hope in Champion are utilizing live video streaming, while others are using the airways. During this time of social distancing, Fr. Bob Stegmann of St. Joseph’s and St. Peter & Paul’s Catholic Parishes in Sturgeon Bay shared the message last week asking people to use the power of prayer to come together as one.

 

 

96.7 FM WBDK will broadcast three services this Sunday beginning at 8 a.m. with St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, 9 a.m. with St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Algoma and 10 a.m. with Friends Community Church.  St Francis & St Mary Catholic Church Brussels will air Sunday Service on 104.1 FM WRLU at 8 am. 

 

Kewaunee Crafters donate over 500 masks

A potentially life-saving service project by the Kewaunee Artisan Center helped to collect over 500 donated masks this week. Bellin Hospital reached out to the organization’s president Cheryl Daul last Sunday to procure handmade face masks to protect medical professionals on the frontlines who are dealing with the coronavirus outbreak. Daul says the quilters had plenty of cotton fabric and a good pattern but it was a challenge finding elastic for the masks. She says over 30 volunteers participated in the successful project that left Bellin Hospital medical personnel impressed.

 

 

Daul says all the masks were bagged and dropped off on Friday at the Kewaunee Artisan Center. A total of 563 masks were made since Sunday and will be used by doctors and nurses in Green Bay.

 

Community picking up food tab

Dinner is on the house for those in need thanks to over a dozen different entities in Door and Kewaunee Counties. Beginning on Monday, the Door County Meals Cooperative will be providing dinners among other items at six different locations throughout the area between Algoma and Baileys Harbor. With schools, businesses, and nonprofits all chipping in to help, Program director Adam Peronto says they have developed a great partnership to get the cooperative off the ground to serve at least 15,000 meals a week for at least 10 weeks.

Registration is not required to participate in the donor-supported program and it is available to those struggling during this time Monday through Friday from 3 to 5:30 p.m. Breakfasts and lunches have been available at many of the local school districts for students in Door and Kewaunee Counties since they closed their doors two weeks ago. Monday marks the first day Gibraltar Area School District will distribute free meals at locations in Egg Harbor, Baileys Harbor, Fish Creek, and Sister Bay. You can find more information on meal distribution below.

 

 

Farmers getting out to their fields

Even with extra help around the farm right now, the one lending the biggest hand to farmers in Door and Kewaunee Counties is that of Mother Nature. Many operations were able to celebrate National Agriculture Week by frost spreading on winter wheat and alfalfa fields. That is because the ground was able to handle the equipment. Rio Creek Feed Mill agronomist Adam Barta says the controlled melting of snow and ice in recent weeks made that possible.

Operations like Rio Creek Feed Mill have kept busy as an essential business for agriculture during the Safer at Home order and Barta says they are taking the proper precautions to keep their customers and employees safe.

Keeping kids on routine a struggle

From newborns to high school seniors, the daily routine of thousands of kids and their parents in Door and Kewaunee Counties has been disrupted due to circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak. While school-aged kids have their remote learning activities to keep them occupied, it is a little trickier for kids under the age of four. Karen Corekin-DeLaMer from Northern Door Children’s Center in Sister Bay says it is still essential to keep them on a routine as much as possible.

Corekin-DeLaMer says there are many resources available online with age-appropriate activities to keep them busy and learning. Child-care centers across the state are now under capacity limits set by the Evers Administration to help control the COVID-19 outbreak.

Supervisor disappointed in sanctuary vote

About two years of work to include Kewaunee County in a proposed marine sanctuary sank indefinitely after the board voted it down 10-5 last week. By including the shoreline of Kewaunee County in the proposed Wisconsin-Lake Michigan National Marine Sanctuary, approximately 185 square miles of water would have been protected. Proponents say marine sanctuary inclusion would have given Kewaunee County an economic boost with divers visiting to explore the waters to see the area’s shipwrecks up close. Opponents believe it would have given the state and federal governments too much power when it came to how the lake’s water was used. Supervisor Lee Luft was one of the leading voices for the proposed sanctuary and hopes it will be reconsidered in the future after he leaves the board.

Luft used the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary as an example of what could have been for Lake Michigan communities. He says there has not been additional federal overreach since it was established in Lake Huron in 2000 and it has brought lots of visitors to the city of Alpena, where the sanctuary’s visitor center is located.

Sturgeon Bay man stepping up to make masks

Eric Copiskey of Sturgeon Bay is taking the time to make a difference by producing masks for emergency personnel and nurses at no charge.  The project started with family members who were seeking reusable N95 masks with replaceable filters.  Copiskey, who is a meat processor in Valmy, says he saw a video online from a doctor from Billings, Montana, who developed a design of the masks for a CAD program that is downloadable.  He says the demand for his masks has been considerable.

 

 

Copiskey uses a 3D printer and has been able to cut down the production time in half from five hours to two and one-half hours while keeping the integrating of the plastic masks.  He says Key Industries in Sturgeon Bay picked up on what he is doing.  They are making a vacuum form mold with hopes of producing 100 masks a day.

 

Advice on keeping children physically active

Children are homebound for at least another month, but one local physical education teacher is proactively keeping them fit.   Neil Seering from Luxemburg-Casco Intermediate School has provided a weekly slide show that has many ideas for his third through sixth graders to stay active. Seering shares his weekly message that parents can benefit from as well.

 

 

Seering says this is a great time and opportunity with the milder weather to take walks outside and play games as a family.  He will update his list every week and have messages to motivate his students.  You can find this week’s slide show/video Seering produced below.

Algoma police staying connected with community

The monthly “Coffee with the Chief” is on hold, but Algoma Police Chief Randy Remiker is continuing his efforts to communicate and connect with the community.  Remiker says the Algoma Police Department is still operating 24/7 and that the city’s website has new valuable information.

 

 

Remiker adds that the Algoma Police Facebook account posts updated data, including the most recent frequently asked questions about Governor Evers’ “Safer at Home” order. The Algoma Police Department also recently added a twitter account to increase their social media presence.

 

 

 

World changes during trip to Costa Rica

A “girls trip” to Central America for a Brussels’ family was a vacation three women won’t ever soon forget.  Twenty-two-year old Alyssa Dantoin, along with her mother Sherri and sister Kendra , departed the United States for the tourist haven community of Tamarindo, Costa Rica, on March 14 and returned last Friday.  While staying in a beach club condo, Alyssa, who works as the annual campaign director at the Door County YMCA, says they followed the news closely while still enjoying the local hospitality and incredibly beautiful sandy beaches.   She noticed that the Costa Rica government measures last week were akin to those taken by the United States and compared the tourism impact to Door County’s summer months.

 

 

There are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Tamarindo as of this Wednesday, but Costa Rico has spiked to over 200 cases.   Dantoin says the travel advisories issued last Thursday led the three women to book the next flight home a day early.

 

 

The Dantoins had no problem changing flights but experienced a slight delay at customs.   They all feel fine and are now self-quarantining at home for another week.  Alyssa encourages everybody to do their part and make the best decisions in the current situation we all face.  

 

 

(Photos submitted)

 

 

Keeping non-profits connected

It is not as easy as gathering in a room anymore to discuss ideas or solve issues, but the Door County Community Foundation is doing its part to help. GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com reported earlier this year that telecommuting had already seen a 115 percent increase in use over the last decade before many people were forced to over the last few weeks. Not everybody has been able to make the switch, which is why Door County Community Foundation President and CEO Bret Bicoy says they are expanding their video conferencing system for area non-profits.

The Door County Community Foundation has raised over $90,000 in contributions since relaunching the Door County Emergency Response Fund last week.

Support building for the frontlines

While restaurants are helping fill the void on struggling families’ tables, businesses in Door and Kewaunee Counties are stepping up their efforts for people serving on the frontlines. In Luxemburg, Agropur donated gloves, lab coats, hand sanitizer spray, and aprons usually reserved for its cheesemakers to the efforts of Kewaunee County Emergency Management. With its home build likely delayed this spring, Door County Habitat for Humanity donated its stock of N95 respirator masks to Door County Medical Center. With many businesses and organizations either closed or operating under restrictions, Door County Habitat for Humanity Restore Manager Megan Dietz says this is a great time for local businesses to stand for each other.

While the giving spirit is good, Door County Medical Center has asked the public to not drop off donated items like gift baskets, food, and homemade masks to any of its facilities without explicit written permission as it works to contain the COVID-19 outbreak.

 

Picture courtesy of Kewaunee County

 

 

Youth orgs bring activities home

Meetings and other special events may be canceled for the foreseeable future, but youth organizations supporting Door and Kewaunee Counties are still finding ways to have fun with their members. 4-H, Girls Scouts of the USA, and Boy Scouts of America are just some of the youth organizations opening their vault of creativity to connect with kids in between remote learning assignments. Bay-Lakes Council BSA Field Director Doug Ramsay says it is important to stay engaged with its members and reach out to potential new scouts even during this time of social distancing.

Girl Scouts of Northwestern Great Lakes and Bay-lakes Council BSA are bringing the camping experience home over the next week with separate Facebook events on March 27th and April 1st respectively. 

 

Resources

Boy Scouts: https://baylakesbsa.org/scouting-at-home/

 

4-H: https://4-h.org/about/blog/covid19-youth-development-update/?fbclid=IwAR1mRvQPBFRyZ38033cOYKsgoU88-viLlwugWncTSLHtwo2JDDC6YdGbpLM

 

Girl Scouts: https://www.gsnwgl.org/en/girls---families/girl-scouts-at-home.html

 

 

COVID-19 stimulus package running through Congress

Wisconsinites could soon be seeing the benefits of a $2 trillion stimulus package designed to perk up an economy being ravaged because of the COVID-19 outbreak. Passed unanimously by the U.S. Senate Wednesday evening, the legislation includes direct payments of up to $1,200 to most individuals, expanded unemployment benefits, and billions of dollars in loans for small businesses and large industries. Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin says the package also sends billions of dollars to the frontlines battling the virus.

Speaking before the final stimulus package bill was released, Republican Representative Mike Gallagher also said supplying hospitals with the funds needed to stay open was important for the health of Americans and the economy.

The House of Representatives is expected to vote on the stimulus package as soon as Friday, even though many of its members are spread out across the country.

 

Click here for statement from Senator Tammy Baldwin on stimulus bill passage

Click here for statement from Senator Ron Johnson on stimulus bill passage

Local birding event canceled

The Washington Island Nature Center announced on Tuesday that this year’s Birding Fest, scheduled for May 14-17, is canceled. The event is held in conjunction with the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Last year it attracted 58 people. Nature Center Director Laura Waldron says Washington Island lies on a migratory path for over a hundred birds.

 


The date is set to try to coincide with peak migration and can’t be moved. For the birders and their guides, the long wait for the spring of 2021 is already underway. 

 

Photo from Washington Island Art and Nature Center Facebook Page*

 

Astronomers split over the fate of one of the sky's brightest stars

A debate is raging among the astronomical community about the future of the star Betelgeuse. The gassy giant is twenty times the size of the sun, part of the Orion constellation about 642 light-years away. Some astronomers believe the rapidly dimming star is about to go supernova, an explosion that would be visible to the naked eye even during the daylight hours. Others say it has 100,000 years before it extinguishes. Door Peninsula Astronomical Society President Dave Lenius says he doesn’t know which camp will end up correct.

 


Lenius says that learning about the night sky is a great way to beat cabin fever during the quarantine period. 

 

 

Weather organizations on the lookout for volunteers

The potential for dramatic shifts in conditions and regular severe weather make it imperative that data can be gathered from across the area. National Weather Service Green Bay employs a system of cooperative volunteers to help take readings. There are two ways to be involved. The first is to ask them. They also might come to you, according to Rebecca Hykin.

 


Locations are carefully picked so that stations are not overly shaded, or too close to pavement. Keep your eye to the sky, or at least the NWS Green Bay social media pages if you are interested in joining. Only 55 official coop observers, along with 14 specializing in fishing conditions are utilized to cover a 22-county area. An unofficial network is used for some data. It includes additional volunteer measuring stations.

 

Zoo and playgrounds close in Kewaunee County

Playgrounds in Kewaunee County Parks and the Bruemmer Park Zoo are closed until further notice due to COVID-19.  The Promotions and Recreation Department announced both closures Tuesday.  Director David Myers says the closures are in keeping with Governor Evers' “Safer at Home” order while not eliminating all outdoor fitness activities.

 

 

During the zoo closure, animal care will continue daily with park staff.  Myers reminds people that while other portions for Bruemmer Park are open for use pets must be left at home.

Algoma Rescue on the lookout for emergency supplies

City of Algoma EMS Captain Kelly Koss says the usual suppliers for personal protective equipment saw stocks dry up about a month ago, so the department is looking to find goggles, gowns, and masks through alternative means. Algoma Rescue is asking residents and businesses that have been deemed non-essential to donate what they can to improve preparedness for a potential infection locally. Koss says protocols are changing too, from dispatchers to hospital emergency rooms.

 


EMS is required to give hospitals advanced warnings about potential coronavirus cases as well. If you have equipment that you can spare, the contact information for Captain Koss is as follows: (920)255-2969 or knckoss@sbcglobal.net.

 

Photo courtesy of Algoma Fire and Rescue Facebook page.

 

 

 

City adjusts to changing times

Adjusting municipal services due to a virus outbreak was never covered in coursework or training conferences for Sturgeon Bay City Administrator Josh VanLieshout. As the world has evolved over the last few weeks, the city has adjusted how it does business. Holding council meetings remotely, changing public safety protocols, and getting paperwork filled out onlineare just some of the changes. While there have been many tweaks to how the city works, VanLieshout credits those working inside city hall for keeping things running as smoothly as possible.

VanLieshout credits the county’s emergency plan for providing a guide for unexpected circumstances. You can find a full list of these modifications, including a polling place change for voters in Wards 4 and 5 by clicking this link.

Brushfire burns in Gardner

A property owner’s spring cleaning  efforts turned into a written warning from the Door County Sheriff’s Department after a brushfire occurred in the town of Gardner. Deputies and members of the Brussels-Union-Gardner Fire Department reported to the scene off of Rocky Shores Drive at around 1:30 p.m. Tuesday after the owners’ efforts to contain the brush fire on their own failed. No injuries occurred, but about a 100-foot by 200-foot area of grass and brush burned as a result. BUG Fire Chief Curt Vandertie says it is a reminder that even though the ground is wet, the vegetation above it could be dry.

Vandertie says the written warning was for not having the proper outdoor burn permit, which is required by most municipalities.

Sheriff to motorists: use common sense during order

You will not have to worry about being pulled over by deputies if you do non-essential activities during Governor Tony Evers’ Safer at Home order. However, Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski still wants you to use your head. Tuesday’s announcement orders Wisconsinites to stay at home unless they are traveling to visit or work at businesses deemed essential. While some businesses were forced to close under the order, others not listed as essential, like restaurants, can continue to operate as they have been for the last week. Joski says nowhere in the order does it direct law enforcement to stop or detain travelers while it is in effect. He does ask travelers to use common sense.

Joski encourages residents to continue to practice social distancing and self-quarantine as ways to stop the spread of the coronavirus. 

 

Click here to read more about the Safer at Home order in effect until April 24th

 

 

 

FROM SHERIFF JOSKI
 

While I was thinking about a topic for this week’s article, I wanted to focus on some positive messaging versus what we have all been inundated with over the past few weeks. I wrote this article two years ago almost to the day and I felt it is relevant to share at this time. Stay Safe, and Stay Healthy!

 

        As I continue to share information on how we as a community can build greater resiliency to adverse situations, I would like to share what I believe has been one of my greatest gifts; Optimism. This is a gift I no doubt received from my parents. Unlike the many material gifts, I have received throughout my life this gift was provided not through purchase, but rather through struggle. As a young man I watched my parents struggle through tragedies ranging from medical to financial and everything in between. We grew up with the basic essentials that our 38 milking cows could provide along with the various jobs my parents would do to make ends meet. Make no mistake about it, I had an amazing childhood and it was for this reason; we always found the good in any situation.

 

   Being able to search out and enjoy the good things is no doubt a skill. It requires us to look past current events and find that silver lining which may at first elude us in our focus of events in time. It does not mean that we hide from the reality that we face, but rather to counter what may be a struggle with thoughts of a better tomorrow or even fond memories of yesterday.

   By always looking for the best we can amaze ourselves by how often it occurs and how near it is to us. We can also begin to hardwire our minds with optimism to counter the ingrained pessimism which many of us develop as we travel through life.

 

    Even in some of the greatest tragedies we as a country have faced, we don’t have to look far to find the good. On Sept. 11, 2001 we witnessed the selfless courage of those men and women who ran into the buildings in an attempt to save lives. During recent natural disasters, we could see armies of volunteers pouring into the affected communities even as the storms where still raging. Locally we experience this by the outpouring of support in the aftermath of events such as the death of a loved one or the loss of property due to fire.

 

     Although the tragedies always seem to get the greatest attention, we should never be content to let the negative lead our conversations or occupy the front of our minds. We should always take the extra effort to look for the good in everything and everybody.

 

      This is an especially important skill to impart to our children. While we have no way of knowing what they may face in their lives or the events to come, we can equip them with the tools to not just cope, but to thrive regardless of the adversity they may experience. Again, this will not happen by accident, we must deliberately and purposefully identify positive examples and more importantly share them so that we can help each other in building optimism in our families, communities and maybe just maybe even the world.

Math program keeps students virtually-connected with schools

With local children currently coping with life outside the classroom, area schools are getting creative in encouraging students to learn online while having fun and being accountable. Marc Vandenhouten, principal at St. Mary’s and Holy Trinity elementary schools in Luxemburg and Casco, respectively, says a standards-based online math program called Dream Box is a big hit with students.  He explains how the new learning tool is being implemented at home.

 


Students are spending up to five to six hours a day, including weekends, on Dream Box honing their math skills, according to Vandenhouten.  He adds that the school is posting daily results on their Facebook account and offering incentives, like a drawing for a pizza party, and a prize for spending the most time online with Dream Box this month.

 

 

Sturgeon Bay changing polling place for westsiders 

Some Sturgeon Bay west side residents will have to travel across the bridge this spring to do their voting in the April election if they choose not to cast their ballot absentee. The City of Sturgeon Bay announced Tuesday that Bayview Lutheran Church, the usual polling location for Districts 4 and 5, will not be open for polling, and voters should go to the City Hall location. City Clerk Stephanie Reinhardt told DoorCountyDailyNews.com that the change to vote at City Hall was necessary because of the church closing and to protect the polling staff and parishioners of Bayview Lutheran Church. Wisconsin has chosen to keep the general election day on Tuesday, April 7. All voters are strongly encouraged to request an absentee ballot by mail this spring. You can find the link to request an absentee ballot online below.

 

http://www.myvote.wi.gov

Shipyard work continues as winter fleet prepares to leave

It’s business as usual for one major employer in Door County, despite Governor Tony Evers’ “Safer at Home” order Wednesday.  Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding is part of the critical infrastructure industry that is exempt from the order.  Todd Thayse, vice-president and general manager, says the shipyard in Sturgeon Bay remains busy and the 12 commercial winter fleet vessels currently docked are near completion.  He says the vessels will be departing later this month to begin hauling critical products like grain and coal.  The shipyard has implemented safeguards, like multiple daily cleanings of high traffic areas, travel restrictions, and social distancing at the facility, to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.  

Phones crash at unemployment claims office

Unemployment claims should be processed online, and that continues to run smoothly. Those trying to reach the office that handles applications for Door and Kewaunee Counties by phone will not be able to do so.  Kim Carley, Executive Director of We Are Hope, which runs the Sturgeon Bay Job Center, says that applicants should exhaust the online resources available before trying to call. For those without internet, the Sturgeon Bay Job Center is open although the capacity is limited.

 


Unemployment claims filed Sunday and Monday this week were over 32,000 statewide. Last year, for the same two-day timeframe, the total was 2,375. Kim says she expects the pace to ramp up following Governor Evers' “Safer At Home” order. Unemployment benefits are income-based until you reach a maximum of $363 per week.

 

Getting through tough times with faith

The collections of crutches and relics at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in Champion are visible signs of the miracles that can occur if you believe. The growth of the COVID-19 outbreak has challenged the beliefs of Christians, partly because they have not been able to attend services in recent weeks. Father John Broussard, the Shrine’s rector says many people have come to their grounds for spiritual strength during these times. He says he talks to them about keeping the supernatural perspective to a natural problem.

While it remains open for confession, the National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help has resorted to live streaming its daily masses online like other churches after the Diocese of Green Bay instructed them not to hold public services until further notice.

Reaching out to students

While some are technically on spring break this week, teachers and administrators across the Door Peninsula are looking for ways to keep things as normal as possible for their students. Kewaunee and Luxemburg-Casco School Districts are hosting virtual spirit weeks for their students, inviting them to take pictures of themselves remote learning while participating in theme days like “social distance twin day” and “PJ’s and Read.” While some staff members have been able to see students at breakfast and lunch pick-up locations, Sevastopol School District has aides and bus drivers going on their normal routes and taking the meals straight to the kids. Sevastopol Superintendent Kyle Luedtke says everyone is trying to make the best out of a unique situation.

Luedtke added its first day of remote learning went well despite some students having spotty internet connections and limited plans ahead of the school shutdown order.

Month-long Safer At Home Order begins Wednesday

Wisconsin residents will be asked to spend a lot more time indoors after Governor Tony Evers officially issued his Safer at Home order Tuesday morning. Beginning Wednesday at 8 a.m., non-essential travel with some exceptions will be prohibited as the state tries to control the COVID-19 outbreak. Residents will be allowed to perform tasks to essential maintain health and safety for themselves and family members and to get the necessary items for staying at home. A limited number of businesses, like health care operations, food retailers, child care facilities, and hardware stores, are allowed to still operate under the order.  It will remain in effect until April 24th or otherwise notified. You can read the full order by clicking the links below.

 

Read the full order here

List of essential businesses

DCMC, public health department prepared for eventual case

Health professionals say it is a matter of when, not if Door County sees its first COVID-19 case. Door County Medical Center Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jim Heise and Door County Public Health Officer Sue Powers took to Facebook Live Monday night to give community members an update on the coronavirus and the measures the area has taken to fight against it. As of Monday, 53 people have been tested by Door County Medical Center for COVID-19. Seventeen tests have come back negative with all others still pending. If a COVID-19 test does come back positive, Dr. Heise believes the hospital is well prepared to treat infected patients while keeping others safe.

Door County Medical Center has established a drive-up COVID-19 testing area near its dental clinic. To make sure they conserve the resources they do have, Heise says not to get tested if you do not show symptoms or just have a mild illness. 

 

 

Local supermarkets adjusting hours and more

Area grocery stores are scrambling to meet the demand of the public while following the ever-changing directives coming down from the state and federal governments.  Alex Stodola, the manager of Stodola’s IGA in Luxemburg has adjusted hours and is offering a “Senior & Special Health Needs” hour from 8 am until 9 am for his customers.  He explains the reasoning behind the hour changes.

 

 

Stodola adds that the inventory limits change almost daily.

 

 

Other local stores have implemented hour changes as well.  Denny’s Super Valu in Algoma went to 9 am until 6 pm daily with call ahead curbside service available.  Main Street Market in Egg Harbor is customer pick up only 9-4:30 Monday-Saturday and 9-2 on Sunday.  In Sturgeon Bay, Pick n’ Save has changed to being open 6 am until 9 pm daily while Econofoods remains open 24 hours a day.      

 

Documentary sheds light on child abuse

Help of Door County is looking to have a nationally-renowned documentary movie be the centerpiece of an upcoming discussion on child abuse.  Milly Gonzales, the executive director, says the story called “The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez” prompts questions about the system’s protection of vulnerable children.  She says that Help of Door County has had many calls regarding the Netflix documentary and the boy’s murder.

 

 
Help of Door County works closely with Child Protective Services.  Gonzales says if people are triggered by the documentary or have any questions about the red flags that could mean child abuse, they should reach out to Help of Door County.  

 

Communicating concerns can help lessen anxiety

Sturgeon Bay Psychologist Dr. Dennis White says active problem-solving can be a positive way to deal with worries and concerns you may have about yourself and your family.  He says although there are many things to worry about, generally worrying does not accomplish anything.  Many people today who may be out of work and do not have money to pay the rent are worrying about other things than just the coronavirus.  Dr. White suggests reaching out to others to calm your fears and worries.

 

 

Dr. White says the people who are staying or working from home have a unique opportunity to connect and spend more quality time with their family members.  You can find Dr. White’s Mental Health Minute, and this week’s life lesson below.

 

 

"Safer at Home" order to be issued statewide

Nonessential businesses in Wisconsin will have to close starting Tuesday.  Governor Tony Evers announced that his new order Monday afternoon and is urging people to stay home to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak.  Last Friday, Gov. Evers did not think more extreme measures were necessary, but the rapid spread of the coronavirus over the weekend changed his course of action.  In a press conference on Monday, Evers said a list of the exempted businesses would be released Tuesday, which includes the health care industry, grocers, and family caregivers.  Gov. Evers requested this past weekend that FEMA supply the state with more protective medical supplies for law enforcement officers and firefighters, including gloves, coveralls, and surgical masks.  As of Monday afternoon, over 400 people in the state have contracted the virus with five reported deaths.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

(photo from a 2019 visit to Door County by Gov. Evers)

 

Improv group brings comic relief

Death’s Door Knockers hopes its soon-to-be-named "Poet Poor-eate" has the antidote to people’s cabin fever. The Sturgeon Bay-based improv group has been hosting its putrid poetry contest since it first started to accept entries in February. Now viewers can vote on their favorite putrid poems by watching videos of Door County celebrities reading the entries on their YouTube channel. One of the lead Knockers, Ross Dippel, hopes the contest brings a smile to people’s faces during an otherwise uncertain time.

The contest’s winner, known as "Poet Poor-eate," will be named on April Fool’s Day. Dippel hopes more people will join the Death’s Door Knockers for fun nights of improv games once the ban on mass gatherings is lifted. 

 

 

Click here to see more entries

Crafters called into duty

The Kewaunee Artisan Center is encouraging crafters to use their sewing machines to save lives. Bellin Hospital reached out to Kewaunee Artisan Center President Cheryl Daul about making homemade face masks for nurses, doctors, and other medical professionals on the frontlines of the COVID-19 outbreak. There has been a shortage of facemasks since the United States began reporting cases of the coronavirus earlier this month. With many of its crafters encouraged to stay at home in the name of health and safety, Daul says this is a great opportunity for their handiwork to go to good use.

We have more information on how you can make facemasks at home and when you can drop them off at the Kewaunee Artisan Center below.

 

 

Kewaunee County receives broadband boost

For about half of its residents, it is about to get a little easier to connect to the internet in Kewaunee County. The state’s Public Service Commission recently awarded Kewaunee County $960,000 to help increase its high-speed internet access with assistance from Bug Tussel Wireless in Green Bay. The grant is a major part of the $2.3 million project to build seven towers, directly affecting the townships of Carlton, Casco, Franklin, Red River, and West Kewaunee. Kewaunee County Administrator Scott Feldt says this is great news for residents and visitors in the area.

There will not be much buffering involved when it comes to getting started on the broadband projects in Kewaunee County. In addition to contracts between the state and the county, Bug Tussel Wireless is going to start looking for properties to build the towers this week.

Non-essential businesses to close under Evers' order

More details are to come when he signs the dotted line on Tuesday, but Governor Tony Evers has indicated that he will order non-essential businesses in Wisconsin to close to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. Area schools are already closed until further notice and many government buildings and businesses are either shuttered or are under tighter restrictions. Neighboring states Illinois and Michigan have already ordered their residents to “shelter at home” for at least the next two weeks. In Wisconsin, close to 400 people have tested positive for COVID-19 this month.

 

 

 

Click here to see the full thread from Governor Tony Evers' Twitter feed

 

 

Outbreak causes voting concerns

The coronavirus is not eligible to vote, but it could still loom large on Election Day. The Wisconsin Elections Commission has been encouraging prospective voters to request an absentee ballot in recent weeks as the COVID-19 outbreak has discouraged people from attending mass gatherings. For those who cannot register online, the Door County Emergency Support Coalition is connecting absentee voters with their municipal clerks to check their identification card and written request. On Election Day itself, Door County Clerk Jill Lau says it may need to replace dozens of poll workers who are unable to serve because of age and health concerns related to the coronavirus.

We have information below on how you can register for your absentee ballot and become a poll worker. While many have called for the April 7th election to be canceled, Governor Tony Evers has said it would be difficult to do so since so many local offices are on the ballot that begin their terms later that month.

 

Click on the links below for more information

Release on absentee voting

Release on becoming a poll worker

 

 

Door County Salvation Army extension in position to provide aid

The Salvation Army’s Door County extension bucked national trends, having a record-setting Red Kettle campaign this past holiday season. That allows the organization to provide assistance as necessary to area residents caught up in the economic effects of the global coronavirus outbreak. Volunteer Tom Mullinix says the chapter is fortunate to have cash-on-hand as charitable giving is drying up quickly.

 


The Salvation Army’s primary mission in Door County is to provide mortgage, rent, and utility assistance.

 

Money Management Counselors anticipates increased interest

Leslie Boden from Money Management Counselors expects to be kept busy over the coming months. The organization has rolled out a remote office in Sister Bay with intentions of providing something similar to the City of Algoma, but that’s on hold until the current economic emergency ends. Boden says some events cannot be predicted, and that’s why it is so important to be self-reliant financially.

 


Boden says the group is still finding ways to meet face-to-face these days, even if it is only through Skype or FaceTime. 

 

Door 2 Door adjusts transit operations

Door County's taxi service will continue operations with some changes during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Residents who rely on Door 2 Door to get where they need to go can still call and schedule a pick-up time, though more advanced notice is now recommended.  Pam Busch, Door 2 Door Rides Transportation Manager, says the service is taking fewer riders at one time though it also hopes to pair up with other transit providers as needed.

 

 

 

Busch says Door 2 Door also recommends that individual riders sit in the back seat of the transit vans to keep a safer distance from drivers.

Whitefish Dunes sees good winter attendance

Attendance at state parks could see a boost in the coming weeks as they are one of the few options for those who need to find some exercise and time outside of the house. Sarah Stepanik says Whitefish Dunes measures attendance monthly and the numbers through February already looked good compared to a year ago.

 


For those looking to head outdoors, all health recommendations are still in effect.

 

Local lenders working with businesses through crisis

Restrictions meant to help curb the spread of coronavirus in the State of Wisconsin have led to an unprecedented slowdown in the economy with several industries such as retail, restaurants, and entertainment hit hard. Local lenders are trying to provide some relief. Senior Vice President of Commercial Lending at Nicolet Bank, Jamie Alberts, runs through some of the options.

 


Several organizations regulate banks. Recently, the FDIC asked that the Financial Accounting Standards Board allow banks to help commercial clients through the current economic challenges without being punished for it. If rules are not changed, any loan that is modified to interest-only payments for the short-term must be classified as troubled debt. The more problem loans a bank has in its portfolio, the greater the amount of cash it must keep on-hand in its reserves. Banks may soon find themselves being forced to watch businesses close due to short-term liquidity problems, or having to take emergency steps to meet capitalization requirements.

 

For more information: https://www.fdic.gov/news/news/financial/2020/fil20022.html

 

Charter flights steady in winter, now declining

Charter flights out of Door County Cherryland Airport in Sturgeon Bay started steadily in 2020 and are now tapering off. Tailwind Flight Center says corporate flights, especially for companies involved in construction projects, made up the bulk of those charters.  Ron Hawkins, a ramp crew member with Tailwind, is hoping air traffic from seasonal residents picks as corporate flights are being cut back.

 

 

 

Hawkins says corporate flights make up the bulk of his business and fuel sales.

Algoma All-America City Award finalist

The City of Algoma has passed through phase one of the All-America City Award process with flying red, white, and blue colors. The community is one of 22 across the country where officials will be subjected to a panel interview from the National Civic League tentatively scheduled for June. The award seeks to honor cities where residents work together to meet pressing issues. The school district submitted Algoma’s application. Superintendent Nick Cochart says many programs were used as examples of how the city is fostering civic cooperation.

 


Cochart says it is slightly ironic that the All-America finalist announcement came the same day the school district was shuttered due to the coronavirus. He says all staff and teachers continue to improve at online education and will be using next week’s spring break to firm up instruction for the rest of the year.

 

Loaves and Fishes hoping to return April 3rd

The Loaves and Fishes dinners scheduled for the next two weeks have been canceled, with a return tentatively set for Friday, April 3rd. A decision will not be made on whether that’s possible until March 30th. John Kolodziej says that things have moved so fast he wants to be privy to the most recent recommendations from the Public Health Department before greenlighting another dinner.

 


If an April 3rd event takes place, it will be carry-out only. Loaves and Fishes is a community meal put on by a group of churches, businesses, and individuals from the area. Dinners are scheduled year-round on the first, third, and fourth Friday of the month, and are free of charge. They happen at the Sturgeon Bay campus of Northeast Wisconsin Technical College.

 

YMCA opens up childcare facilities to families of first responders

Starting Monday, the Door County YMCA will be opening up the Barker early childcare facility and its Lansing Avenue location exclusively for families of those on the frontlines in the current health emergency. Between the two sites, care can be provided for infants up to fifth-grade schoolchildren. Each center is open from 5:30 AM to 5:45 PM. Executive Director Tom Beerntsen explains who is eligible for the program.

 


The Door County YMCA and the childcare centers remain closed to the general public until the health emergency has been lifted.

 

USDA rules limit personal contact at pantry

The Kewaunee County Food Pantry remains ready to help families in need, though clients will not be allowed inside or to have personal contact with pantry volunteers.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture issued new rules late Thursday regarding such contact.  Pantry President Ken Marquardt says food supplies are in good shape while the distribution process has changed to comply with the USDA order.

 

 

 

In addition to the pantry, the thrift store is also closed and is not accepting donations of household goods until further notice.

State parks open to combat cabin fever

State parks and trails in Door County are still open to the public with some limitations.  The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources announced that parks, trails and park restrooms are open, though park offices are closed until further notice.  Keith Warnke,  Administrator of the Fish, Wildlife and Parks Division, says the DNR recognizes the health benefits of keeping parks open, while also reminding people to follow personal hygiene practices.

 

 

 

Park visitors will be allowed to make voluntary park fee payments when visiting.  State park campgrounds are closed through April 30th.  Those who've paid for camping spaces during that time will receive full refunds. 

Learning to cope when a family member is addicted

A recent study has contradicted previous research. It suggests that Alcoholics Anonymous is 60 percent more effective than other forms of therapy in helping the addicted avoid relapses and stay sober. Family members also need help in grappling with the issue, and that task falls to Al-Anon, an organization that has had a presence in Fish Creek for decades. Volunteer Jody says it quickly becomes more than a support group for those who are involved.

 


Sessions happen Tuesday at 6:30 PM at a private residence. Al-Anon also operates in Sturgeon Bay with meetings on Wednesday at 8:00 AM at Hope Church and Saturday at 9:00 AM at Bayview Lutheran Church.

 

Funeral homes adapting to new mandates

Families who have lost loved ones this past week, along with funeral directors are facing more difficult decisions while planning arrangements.  The limitations on public gatherings are making the mourning process more challenging.  Tim Kinnard, funeral director with Wiesner & Massart Funeral Homes in Casco and Algoma, says family members he has dealt with this week have been very understanding.

 

 

Kinnard adds that extra safety precautions are taken by staff by following strict procedures set down by National Funeral Directors and public health departments when removing deceased loved ones from their homes.  Some funeral homes are offering live-streamed videos of services, but Kinnard says he has not decided to do that yet because funerals can be personal for families and be private at times.     

Caution urged for ship fans as fleet leaves

Those who like to watch the ships depart after undergoing winter repairs in Sturgeon Bay are being asked to take health advisories seriously.  Photographers, ship fans, and other visitors are drawn to Door County at the end of March to watch the big ships begin their Great Lakes sailing seasons.  Pam Seiler, Executive Director of Destination Sturgeon Bay, recommends that ship fans take social distancing to heart even outside and consider other viewing options.

 

 

 

Seiler says Destination Sturgeon Bay's website, SturgeonBay.net will continue to post the scheduled departure times for vessels for anyone wanting to see the ships in person.

Humane Society looking for foster homes

The Door County Humane Society chapter is anticipating a significant drop in foot traffic at its shelter over the next several weeks. With fewer people comes fewer adoptions, and the organization is hoping to find foster homes to house the animals until business picks back up. Summer brings with it more animals at the Humane Society, so prolonged public health concerns into May could potentially hit at precisely the wrong time. Vice President of Communications Angela Speed says an incident in Southeastern Wisconsin is contributing to the need for additional accommodations.

 


The Wisconsin Humane Society has only five chapters in which to spread those cats around. Speed says foster homes have complete control over what animals end up staying under their roof.

 

Increasing home fire safety precautions

As more people spend time at home during the present situation, local fire chiefs are sharing information on keeping your household and family safer from potential fires.  Algoma Fire Chief Tom Ackerman says most residential fires begin in the kitchen area.  He shares advice on ways to prevent any fires while preparing meals.

 

 

Ackerman also recommends not overusing extension cords and making sure the wire gauge is heavy enough to support powered devices in your home.  He adds that eliminating clutter around your house and fireplaces can reduce the chance of a fire starting and spreading quickly.  You can find a list of tips on home fire prevention and safety here.  

Churches evolve to reach members

Churches in Door and Kewaunee Counties are finding a number of different ways to reach their members until the ban of mass gatherings is over. St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Luxemburg and the National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in Champion are among the local churches going to Facebook Live to broadcast their services to the faithful. Others are recording devotionals and sending emails. Friends Community Church Pastor Nancy Bontempo says finding an alternative way to get God’s message out is important in times like these.

 


96.7 WBDK will broadcast two services this Sunday beginning at 8 a.m. with St. Joseph’s Catholic Church and 10 a.m. with Friends Community Church. The Diocese of Green Bay announced earlier this week that public attendance at Masses is suspended until at least mid-April.

 

Parents should be calm and serious with COVID-19 message

Explaining the coronavirus pandemic to your children may be one of the most important conversations you’ll ever have to make. Psychologist Dr. Dennis White of Sturgeon Bay says that it is essential for people to stay calm, which will lead to better messaging and decisions. Secondly, Dr. White adds that you need to convey a serious message, not a scary one, to your children on the importance of following the rules like washing your hands and social distancing. He says it is also vital to give age-appropriate conversations.

 

 

Dr. White recommends that you ask your child, “what have you heard” and “what do you know” because of the wild rumors and scary stories that are going around. Knowing what your child’s concerns are, then you can make age-appropriate responses and reassure that people are doing all they can and that we are all in this together. You can listen to Dr. White’s entire interview below.

 

 

Door County Government buildings closed to public

All Door County Government buildings and facilities are now closed to the public beginning Saturday to reduce any potential spread of COVID-19.  According to a news release by Emergency Management Director Daniel Kane, the Door County Library will be closed to the public as well.  Door County will continue to provide operations and deliveries wherever possible by phone, email, or virtual meeting and by appointment. The public is encouraged to utilize county services still, and the policy will remain intact until further notice.  This order does not pertain to the Door County Circuit Court System. You can find more details and information with the link below.

 

http://www.co.door.wi.gov/

 

 

Evers calls for closure of hair salons, spas and more

Personal care businesses will now be closed as part of a mandate set down by the State of Wisconsin.  Governor Tony Evers updated the order set down earlier this week that bans gatherings of 10 or more people and the indefinite school closures.  All hair salons, day spas, nail salons, barber shops, tattoo parlors, and tanning facilities must be closed by 5pm Friday.  You can find the entire news release from Governor Evers with updated clarifications below. 

 

MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers today directed Department of Health Services (DHS) Secretary-designee Andrea Palm to issue updates to the previous order prohibiting mass gatherings of 10 or more people.

The updated order maintains the ban on gatherings of 10 or more people and indefinite school closures, but includes some important changes and clarifications:

  • Treats bars and restaurants are the same. Bars will be able to have carryout sales of alcohol and food, if allowed by local ordinances and state law. This will help ensure thousands of establishments can stay in business during this unprecedented health emergency.
  • Media and news organizations can remain open to provide the public with vital information.
  • Laundromats may remain open.
  • Banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions may remain open if they practice social distancing.
  • All parts of the food delivery system – from farms to stores – may remain open.
  • Clarifies that cafeterias in healthcare facilities may remain open to serve our healthcare workers.
  • Allied health professions, such as acupuncturists, are unaffected by the mass gathering ban.
  • All parts of our transportation system can continue to serve our economy.
  • Any facility used for in-person absentee voting or as a polling location may remain open for voting, except for sites at long-term care and assisted care facilities.
  • Hair salons, day spas, nail salons, barber shops, tattoo parlors, body art establishments, and tanning facilities must close effective 5 pm on Fri., March 20, 2020.

All gatherings that bring together or are likely to bring together 10 or less people in a single room or confined space, whether inside or outside, at the same time must preserve social distancing and follow all other public health recommendations issued by DHS or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Voluntary cancellation, closure, or limitations on the size of gatherings beyond the requirements of this order are permitted and encouraged. 

People should follow simple steps to prevent illness and avoid exposure to this virus including:

  • Avoid social gatherings with people of all ages (including playdates and sleepovers, parties, large family dinners, visitors in your home, non-essential workers in your house);
  • Frequent and thorough hand washing with soap and water;
  • Covering coughs and sneezes;
  • Avoiding touching your face; and

Staying home when able. 

 

Foundation brings back emergency response fund

The Door County Community Foundation is stepping in to make sure local non-profit organizations are still able to help the people they serve. With support from United Way of Door County, the foundation has reactivated the Door County Emergency Response Fund to help respond to the short-term needs of the area as it deals with the COVID-19 outbreak. Door County Community Foundation President and CEO Bret Bicoy says while much of the attention has been on small businesses, non-profit organizations are also directly affected by the evolving situation.

The Door County Community Foundation donated the initial $15,000 to the emergency response fund, which Bicoy says will also focus on the aftermath of the virus outbreak. 

 

Click here to visit RespondDoorCounty.org

Retailers adapt to changing dynamics

Area retailers are being forced to think outside the box when it comes to selling their products while the general public is being forced to stay home. E-Commerce is nothing new for many businesses because they already have websites where they can show off their products and make transactions. The Door County Habitat for Humanity Restore relies on sales to help fund its mission to provide affordable housing in Door County. Restore Manager Megan Dietz says with only a couple of people in the building due to COVID-19 concerns, they had to get creative.

Dietz says Habitat for Humanity affiliates across the state are following a nationwide trend of employers planning to downsize this month as retailers, restaurants, and others weigh out their options to reduce their hours or close completely.

City of Sturgeon Bay officially declares an emergency

The Sturgeon Bay Common Council met Thursday to declare an emergency related to the current public health crisis. It gives authority to Mayor David Ward, Administrator Josh VanLieshout, and Council President Dan Williams to take any steps needed to combat potential coronavirus cases in Sturgeon Bay. Ward says the city’s role in the crisis is to aid state and county efforts.

 


Ward wants to squelch rumors of positive cases of COVID-19 locally. He says the information that has been released by the county is accurate; the disease has not reached the area. Ward stresses that speculation to the contrary can be very damaging to specific businesses mentioned by name in the chatter.

 

Kewaunee County buildings closed to public

Unless you have critical court proceedings and scheduled appointments, all other Kewaunee County government buildings are closed to the public until further notice. The order, signed by Board Chairperson Robert Weidner and Administrator Scott Feldt, is effective as of March 20th at 1 p.m. Feldt says there are no confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus in Kewaunee County, but the closures are being done as a proactive measure.

Feldt added that many of the county’s employees have already started working from home as an additional precaution. The Kewaunee County Courthouse will remain open as required by law, but only from 10 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday.

Internet impacted by increased remote work and schooling

The increase in working and schooling from home is impacting downloads and buffering times on Door County internet providers.  The extent of the bandwidth demand depends on where you live or work.  Erin Helgeson, co-owner of Quantum PC in Sturgeon Bay, says her company is able to help those finding themselves handling business or homework remotely.  She adds internet providers are helping where they can though patience will be needed in some areas.

 


Helgeson says Quantum PC continues to successfully help people set up their homes for remote working and school and with technical support via telephone.

Schultz previews upcoming kayak season in Door County

Although Door County kayak fishing pro Bill Schultz did not present at the canceled  “Canoecopia  Expo” in Madison last weekend, he has some tips on getting ready for the upcoming kayak season in the area.  Schultz was to give two talks including a “kayak fishing for smallmouth bass in Door County” presentation.  He says upgrading equipment and staying in good physical condition are his two recommendations.

 

 

Schultz will again feature a bi-weekly kayak fishing series this spring on DoorCountyDailyNews.com  starting in May for the fourth year.           

 

Local judicial process facing slow down 

Courtrooms in Door and Kewaunee County, as part of the Eighth Judicial District, will be facing potential backlogs this spring.   Due to measures to control the outbreak of the COVID-19, the director of State courts issued a directive earlier this week that circuit courts must reduce court hearings to only critical and essential functions.  Those hearings include custody defendants, bond and bail, preliminary, and reviews of sentencing after revocation, as well as the termination of parental rights.  Cases dealing with Family law, mental commitments, and guardianship, along with criminal jury trials with speedy demands, also are considered essential. 
Circuit court judges Todd Ehlers and David Weber in Door County and Judge Keith Mehn in Kewaunee County, can also make changes to the guidelines as necessary.  The policies take effect until at least April 17.   

 

Musician Grier doing "living room dance" as album waits

Sturgeon Bay musician Cathy Grier is not letting the shutdown of the studio where she was working on a new release to keep her from showcasing her upcoming album.  Sending out a positive message with one of her album’s 17 songs daily on her youtube channel, Grier is making the best of a difficult situation.  Here is her video introduction for the song “Good Thing.”

 

 

Grier started the music video postings on Monday and says she will continue for the foreseeable future and as long as people like them.  One of the daily messages and song videos from Grier’s “I’m All Burn” album is below. 

 

 

 
 

Cathy's youtube channel

Fire chiefs, agencies form coalition

Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Chief Chris Hecht says now is the time for what Door County does best: come together in a time of need. The Door County Fire Chiefs Association has joined together with the Door County Public Health Department, ADRC, Door County Community Foundation, and municipal governments to create the Door County Emergency Support Coalition to assist where possible while helping to slow the spread of COVID-19. While 911 will still be the main point of contact for emergencies, the coalition hopes to connect people who need help grabbing their groceries, check on family members, and answer questions. Hecht says some people just need to talk.

HECHT1

The Door County Fire Chiefs Association has put together a special Facebook page to help disseminate information to residents and visitors during the COVID-19 outbreak. You can find that link here and our interview with Hecht below. 

 

INTERVIEW WITH SISTER BAY/LIBERTY GROVE FIRE CHIEF CHRIS HECHT

 

Sheriff's department changes protocol

Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski hopes his department will remain relevant and viable in the community while also practicing the proper precautions. As of Wednesday, the Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department is asking for minor property damage reports to be done over the phone and non-reportable accidents under $1,000 to be relayed directly to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. It is also restricting access to the Kewaunee County Safety Building to essential personnel, canceling public presentations, and not responding to rescue calls on a case-by-case basis. Joski says they are trying to stay ahead of the impact the coronavirus could have on his staff, but also believes they are fortunate to live in a great community.

The measures being taken by the Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department will be continually evaluated as the situation evolves. 

 

As the recent virus continues to remain a focus for all of us at all levels of our society, I wanted to provide some information and awareness from the law enforcement perspective. By the time this article goes to print many of our schools have suspended classes, major events have cancelled, and everything from Church Services to person to person greetings have been modified to minimize the spread and limit the impact on our medical services as well as those susceptible to the virus.

         There is an old saying that you don’t know what you have until it is gone. I think that the measures we are currently taking are the right measures and that although it may be an inconvenience, and in some cases a true financial burden, we must always think of those who are vulnerable to the worst case outcome and place their welfare above our own. What I am missing already is the freedom to interact as we have all become accustomed. To not be able to shake a hand or give a hug has been and will continue to be an adjustment.

         I have had questions and conversations regarding how law enforcement is weathering the storm. First I would say that each community is facing its own challenges and we will each react to these challenges in our own way. We have already seen the best and worst of our society, and I was very proud when I walked into one of our local grocery stores to see that the shelves had not been cleared and how well we have kept our sense of community as well as our sense of humor. Much like any other crisis in our lives, we have little control over the obstacle placed in front of us, but we can control how we react to that obstacle. Long after this virus fades into the history books just as those in the past, what will remain are our memories of how we assisted each other and stuck together as a community.

         Those of us in emergency services continue to do our job, responding to those who need us. We have met within our circles to implement strategies which will minimize the risk to both our public servants as well as those whom we serve. We would ask you the community to be patient as we find a balance between the freedoms we hold so dear, and the restrictions which will allow us to minimize the impact of this virus. A few considerations we would ask for are. 1. If you are calling for response from either law enforcement or other emergency services, please disclose if anyone in the home is experiencing flu like conditions. This will assist us in equipping those responding with the appropriate equipment. 2. Unless absolutely necessary, please utilize our website, or contact us by phone to obtain documents or request for service. Although this goes against our natural instincts, we feel it is appropriate to limit physical contact as much as possible.

          It goes without saying that we are still in the business of holding people accountable, so any and all complaints and crimes will of course be responded to and followed up on including arrests when appropriate. We have plenty of masks and gloves to take care of business. We also have a few cells available for those violators who need to be “Quarantined” until their court date.                            

         Let’s all work together to get through this challenge, and come out on the other side a closer and stronger community!

 

As of March 18, 2020 and continuing until further notice, the following measures will be in place regarding the response and protocols of the Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department. These measures are being taken to minimize the risk of exposure to both our staff as well as to the community as a whole.

 

Access to the Kewaunee County Safety Building is being restricted to essential personnel only. There will be no visitation, fingerprinting, or prescription medication drop off services provided during this time. Those wishing to deposit funds into an inmate’s account can utilize www.smartdeposit.com

All public presentations from Sheriff’s Department Staff are also being cancelled and postponed for later dates.

Unless life savings measures are necessary or if requested by EMS personnel, Deputies will not be responding to Rescue Calls.

Most minor damage property reports will be handled by phone

Non-Reportable accidents (under $1,000.00) may be asked to be self reported through the DOT Website.

 

We ask that when contacting the Kewaunee County Dispatch Center for response to your emergency, in addition to the standard information, you provide the Dispatcher with any information on any persons exhibiting flu like symptoms at the location of the incident.

 

Thank you for your patience and understanding during this time. These measures will be evaluated continually and any changes will be announced as soon as they become available.

            

Districts prepare for remote learning long-haul

Avoiding snow days, not pandemics, was the main goal of local school districts when they began exploring remote learning in the past year. Following Governor Tony Evers’ announcement that schools would be closed for the foreseeable future, districts had to formulate plans to deliver high-quality instruction with several weeks in mind, not just a random day or two. Kewaunee Principal Michael Bennett says the collaboration between the administration and teachers have been fantastic during this unique time.

Gibraltar Area Schools have had a few opportunities to work out any issues occurring during their pilot run and a snow day they had earlier this year. Those experiences left Superintendent Tina Van Meer encouraged for what this extended break from normalcy could bring.

Both Bennett and Van Meer says internet connectivity is the main hurdle their students are facing, but have worked on ways to address those concerns with mobile hot spots.

Restaurants roll with the changes

The closure of restaurant dining rooms in Door and Kewaunee Counties earlier this week left owners looking for ways to stay open. While fast-food restaurants like Culver’s in Sturgeon Bay are equipped with drive-through windows, fine dining restaurants like Donny’s Glidden Lodge have had to develop limited menus and carry-out plans. Chris Jacobs from the Village Kitchen in Casco had to prevent customers from their morning routine Wednesday when they came in, having them order their cup of coffee and croissant breakfast sandwich to go. She is thankful for the community supporting her business and others as they sort things out.

Governor Tony Evers banned the use of indoor dining rooms earlier this week when he called for an end of mass gatherings of 10 or more people while the state continues to grapple with the impact of the coronavirus. 

 

Click here to see the Wisconsin Restaurant Association list of businesses staying open during the coronavirus outbreak

Door County Library in Sturgeon Bay staying open

While all other branches remain closed, Door County Library's Sturgeon Bay location is continuing to serve area residents. Community Relations Assistant Morgan Mann says the library is following the state guidelines of no more than ten people gathering at one time with social distancing. Mann also shared that there is a ten-minute time limit on computers right now. Still, the library’s internet service, including the closed locations, is available outside of the building for users anytime. Those entering the library need to pick up a number tag just inside the entrance door during their visit. The Sturgeon Bay Library is open 9 am until 9 pm Monday through Thursday and until 6 pm Fridays and 5 pm on Saturdays.

 

Door Peninsula Astronomical Society explores cyberspace

Saturday’s viewing party for the Door Peninsula Astronomical Society is set to explore a different kind of space. With coronavirus restrictions forbidding a gathering of more than ten people, the group is taking to the internet to broadcast the viewing, according to President Dave Lenius.

 


The forecast for Saturday in Sturgeon Bay is calling for cloudless skies. Lenius says that the monthly meeting of the organization scheduled for the first week in April is still up in the air at this point. The Astronomical Society is considering the possibility of putting that online also, using Zoom.

 

Weidner highlights unsung skill needed to be county chairman

Robert Weidner will be stepping down as Kewaunee County board chairman sometime this spring. Weidner is still hoping for April 28th, but the exact date is not known due to the effects of the coronavirus outbreak. Speaking to DoorCountyDailyNews.com, Weidner mentioned the position requires a great understanding of interpersonal team dynamics.

 


Weidner says his successor will have the opportunity to learn about a wide variety of topics. He notes government is exciting because of the scope of subjects that you encounter.

 

Door County to tourists: come back a different time

Door County officials are encouraging potential tourists to postpone their visits until later in the year as it tries to control the spread of the coronavirus. In a release from the county Wednesday afternoon, it asks tourists to not come to Door County for the next 30 days as a way to provide the safest public health environment for residents. County Board Chairperson Dave Lienau appreciates the support it has received from the public and private sectors. He says that even includes many lodging entities not accepting new reservations and canceling booked rooms within the next month.

Door County and seven other municipalities have declared public health emergencies in the past week due to the pandemic that has affected over 100 people in the state, including one case recently in Brown County. 

Sturgeon Bay planning for the future, special meeting scheduled for Thursday

Although the attention started Tuesday evening with the community’s immediate health concerns surrounding the COVID-19 virus, the Sturgeon Bay Common Council managed some business with eyes toward the future.  Mayor David Ward says an approved plan for Cherryland Properties to build a two-story building, featuring professional office space with a residence, could be the first of many exciting developments on Sturgeon Bay’s west side waterfront.

 

 

The Sturgeon Bay City Council has called a special meeting Thursday at 6 pm to declare an emergency, like many other municipalities. Ward says the action will suspend standard rules and allow the city to take immediate action if it becomes necessary.  He adds that the declaration is more administrative at this time since the state and federal agencies have already set down stringent rules for the public to follow. 

 

 

Farmers spared from brunt of the public health emergency

Current Centers for Disease Control guidelines suggest that restrictions on public gatherings will have run their course by early May. That’s excellent news for farmers, according to Rich Olson, from Olson Family Farms, because that is the time of year when seeds generally are put into the ground.

 


Olson expects some extra work to be needed in the fields this spring to repair the damage done by a wet harvest in 2019. With luck and good weather, planting will begin on time.

 

Longer NFL season a benefit for Door County

The National Football League will expand to a 17-game regular season and that would mean extra business for Door County.  The NFL Players Association has approved a new 11-year collective bargaining agreement.  Part of that pact calls for reducing the preseason to three games and adding one regular-season game.  Jon Jarosh, the Communications Director for Destination Door County, says that would add to the benefits a Packers home game already brings to area inns and attractions.

 

 

 

The expanded regular season could begin as early as 2021.  The new agreement will also add one NFC and one AFC team to the playoffs. Had the new playoff structure been in place last season, the Packers would have been in one of the first-round games.

Local supermarkets saw more green this St. Patrick's Day

As the national festival of St. Patrick’s Day was celebrated Tuesday, area grocers noticed an uptick in the purchasing of the holiday staples this past week. Alex Stodola, manager of Stodola’s IGA in Luxemburg, says he saw a significant increase in purchases of the foods associated with St. Patrick’s Day.

 

 

He notes that the limited celebrations this year allowed families to do more traditional meals at home. According to a National Retail Federation report on St. Patrick’s Day, almost four of every ten people who intended to spend money on celebrations have gone to grocery stores in recent years. 

 

(photo courtesy of IGA)

DCMC updates city on COVID-19 readiness

The City of Sturgeon Bay received an update from medical personnel from the Door County Medical Center Tuesday evening at the common council meeting at City Hall.  President and CEO Brian Stephens along with Dr. James Heise answered questions and updated the council on DCMC’s preparedness at this point to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.  Heise, an internal medicine doctor, says staffing is more of a concern than ventilators.

 

 

Dr. Heise added that it does not make sense for a smaller hospital to rent more than the two ventilators it has obtained and take away from larger hospitals like those in Green Bay.   He uses an analogy to explain the potential spread of the coronavirus.

 

 

Concerning the current 25-bed capacity at the hospital, Stephens stated that the campus can expand to 50 at this time with enough staff to care for patients.  He says if the spread of the coronavirus can be slowed, DCMC has plenty of resources to take care of residents.  You can find the audio of the entire 30-minute update presented by DCMC at Tuesday’s Sturgeon Bay Common Council meeting below.

 

 

Door County YMCA closes

The Door County YMCA Leadership Team announced to members Tuesday that the Sturgeon Bay and Fish Creek Program Centers are closed until further notice.  According to a letter sent to members, the YMCA facilities will restore full operations when the area schools reopen this spring.   The closures are preventive and were based on the Leadership Team’s last four days of meetings in statewide conferences.   The YMCA will continue to support health and well-being goals by offering virtual fitness programs.  You can find more information online at doorcountyymca.org.

 

Egg Harbor declares emergency; Kress Pavillion closes

Following the lead of other local municipalities, the Village of Egg Harbor declared an emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The Village Board decided to close the Kress Pavilion until May 12.   Administrator Ryan Heise says the action Tuesday will shift the village’s priorities and align staff resources to meet the needs of the community and neighbors.  He says Egg Harbor is handling the pandemic in phases.

 

 

Heise says Egg Harbor will now wait for the directive from the state, elections commission, and Governor Tony Evers.  The eight-week closure of the Kress Pavilion falls in line with the Center for Disease Control’s directive in limiting social interaction.  The Village of Egg Harbor will conduct future meetings by either video or teleconferencing.  Committee meetings will be minimal, and the Plan Commission will only meet if it is critical.

State limit reduced to 10 for gatherings

In efforts to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Tony Evers on Tuesday directed the Department of Health Services to issue a ban on mass gatherings of 10 people or more in the state.  Restaurants and bars can only offer take-out or delivery.  The order has exceptions for transportation, schools, child care, hotels, military, law enforcement, food pantries, hospitals, long-term care facilities, grocery stores, convenience stores, utility facilities, job centers, and courts.  The emergency order becomes effective at 5 pm Tuesday.  All schools will remain closed until the end of the public emergency. 

 

 

 

Official Press Release below.

 

 

Gov. Evers Directs DHS to Limit Gatherings to Less Than 10 to Slow Spread of COVID-19

 Measures also being taken to manage testing capacity in Wisconsin

MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers today directed Department of Health Services (DHS) Secretary-designee Andrea Palm to issue an agency order prohibiting mass gatherings of 10 people or more to slow the spread of COVID-19. The order makes exceptions for transportation, educational institutions, child care, hotels, military, law enforcement, food pantries, hospitals, long-term care facilities, restaurants and bars can only offer take-out or delivery, grocery stores and convenience stores, utility facilities, job centers, and courts. See full order and list of exemptions here. Additionally, schools will be closed for the duration of the public health emergency.

“Our top priority at this time is to keep Wisconsinites safe and healthy by reducing the spread of COVID-19, especially for those who are considered high-risk. With limited tests available nationwide and continued community spread, we have to take every precaution to protect ourselves, our families, and our neighbors,” said Gov. Evers. “I know what this means for our small business owners and the struggles they and their workers will face in the coming weeks, but we are committed to working with our federal partners, state officials, and stakeholders to ensure we are doing everything we can to assist during these uncertain times.”

Community Spread
We are seeing community spread of COVID-19 in Wisconsin. This means that there are people who have tested positive who have no exposures to a known case nor did they travel to a location where there is known community spread. Today, we have cases in Milwaukee, Dane and Kenosha counties indicating that there is community spread happening in Wisconsin. Social distancing will help keep you, your family, and our community from increased risk of exposure.

DHS and Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene to move to tiered COVID-19 testing to manage capacity
Despite The Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene (WSLH) significantly increasing their capacity for COVID-19 testing, the number of testing specimens being received far exceeds their daily capacity. In order to conserve supplies for testing, WSLH and DHS are now prioritizing two tiers of cases for testing:

Tier One (Individuals who):

are critically ill and receiving ICU level care with unexplained viral pneumonia or respiratory failure

are hospitalized (non-ICU) with fever or signs and symptoms of lower respiratory tract illness (cough, shortness of breath) and either known exposure to a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 patient or travel to an area with sustained community transmission

Tier Two (Individuals who):

are hospitalized (non-ICU) with unexplained fever and signs/symptoms of lower respiratory tract illness

are health care workers with unexplained fever and signs/symptoms of a lower-respiratory illness, regardless of hospitalization

Test requests that do not meet these criteria will be sent to other labs in the state and country for testing, resulting in longer wait times.

Information for healthcare providers on the testing tiers is available at dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/index.htm. Patients without symptoms and patients with mild upper respiratory symptoms who are not health care workers should not be tested in order to ensure that there is capacity to test ill people.

People should follow simple steps to prevent illness and avoid exposure to this virus including:

Avoid social gatherings with people of all ages (including playdates and sleepovers, parties, large family dinners, visitors in your home, non-essential workers in your house);

Frequent and thorough handwashing with soap and water;

Covering coughs and sneezes;

Avoiding touching your face;

Staying home when sick.

 

 

Governor Evers DHS decree details

Businesses step up for families

Spanning the entire peninsula, small businesses are doing their part to make sure families are covered for meals during the extended break from school. The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction shows all four mainland Door County school districts and two of the three Kewaunee County school districts offering free and reduced meals to at least 40 percent of their students. Ebert Enterprises in Algoma was approached by North Water Bakery and Deli to donate the milk for the free bag lunches being distributed in the city. In Sturgeon Bay, Sonny’s Italian Kitchen has offered to prepare lunch for free for 50 local families. Just north of Ellison Bay, Uncle Tom’s Candy Store owner Heather Laughlin is coordinating Corona care packages, which features her pancake and oatmeal mixes as well as products from other local businesses like Bea’s Ho-Made Products and the Sister Bay Piggly Wiggly. She says now is the time to support your neighbors.

Area school districts are also in contact with families about delivering free breakfasts and lunches while class is out of session.

 

A FEW EXAMPLES OF GENEROSITY

 

Board of Supervisors ratifies Door County emergency

The Door County Board of Supervisors met in an unplanned session Tuesday morning to ratify the public health emergency that was declared earlier in the week by Chairman Dave Leinau and Administrator Ken Pabich. The final vote was 20 in favor with one absence. Pabich provided the board with a presentation covering the two main aspects of the plan, including travel restrictions and the supplemental paid leave bank. Pabich says that self-quarantine, if necessary, is expected to be done at the home of the county employee affected. Nissa Norton, from District 12, asked if the county would assist those who were unable to quarantine at home without putting family members at risk. Pabich said while he understands the severity of that possibility, he did not envision the county carving out a protocol for such a specific situation.

 


All county employees are subject to travel restrictions as of midnight Wednesday. Those who have a trip that was booked before this week can use hours from the SPL when they do their mandatory self-quarantine. Employees can still travel in the coming days, but they must use paid time off when they self-quarantine rather than the SPL bank upon their return.

 

Ephraim up next to declare emergency

The Village of Ephraim could be next to declare a state of emergency in regards to the possible impact of the coronavirus.  According to Village Administrator Brent Bristol, the meeting would help establish new policies for staffing, including allowing some employees to telecommute if possible. Ephraim could join Door County and the Village of Sister Bay in declaring a state of emergency to raise awareness for COVID-19 and the impact it could have on the community.  Similar to Monday’s emergency session in Sister Bay, the meeting will only be available to the public via teleconferencing when it begins on Wednesday at noon.

 

To follow the meeting, see below

Please join my meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone.
https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/195050621

You can also dial in using your phone.
United States: +1 (872) 240-3311

Access Code: 195-050-621

Childcare becoming scarce

Door County is one COVID-19 case away from potentially being really short on licensed childcare facilities available for parents who need to head to work. Childcare centers are among the critical services not affected by Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers’ order to ban gatherings of 50 or more people to limit the impact of the coronavirus. Some childcare centers, like the Door County YMCA’s Barker Child Development Center, will close their doors beginning on Wednesday to allow parents to find other options. Others like Northern Door Children’s Center in Sister Bay are staying open until a positive COVID-19 case is discovered in the area. Karen Corekin-DeLaMer from Northern Door Children’s Center says they are trying to keep things normal with some extra sanitation practices thrown into the mix.

Corekin says they are looking into ways to connect with families if or when they do have to shut down so they can continue seeing the kids and not disrupt the routine of their students too much. You can see Northern Door Children’s Center’s letter to parents by clicking this link.

 

 

Schools prepare for life without students

Classes at area schools may be done for several weeks because of the fear of spreading the coronavirus, but that does not mean the buildings will fall silent. Teachers in some cases will still report to construct and distribute their e-learning lesson plans for the day. With no students around, Sevastopol School District Superintendent Kyle Luedtke says custodian will work during the break to disinfect every surface in the building.

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction announced on Monday that school districts will not have to make up the time lost as long as the proper paperwork is filed. The DPI is also lobbying the United States Department of Education to drop the mandated assessments that are usually taken at this time of the year.

Door County declares state of emergency

The Chair of the Door County Board of Supervisors and Door County Administrator have declared a state of emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The declaration will allow for public health, protection, safety, and welfare within Door County and hasten the availability and use of resources by the county with prudent and reasonable steps, according to the proclamation.  Door County also issued temporary administrative and travel orders.  You can find the declaration and administrative orders below this story.  The Door County Board will conduct an emergency meeting Tuesday at 10 am.  There have been no confirmed coronavirus cases in Door county at this time.

 

Click on the links below for more information

 

Declaration of Emergency

 

COVID Supplement

 

COVID Employee Order

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sturgeon Bay to review outdoor lighting guidelines and PUD

The City of Sturgeon Bay will get back to business Tuesday evening for the first meeting of March, taking up recommendations from its City Plan Commission and Community Protection & Services Committee, as well as Personnel Committee.  City Administrator Josh Van Lieshout says the council will vote on a recommendation on a planned unit development for a multi-use two-story building.   Professional office space and residence at 145 S. Neenah Avenue, as petitioned by Jeff Jahnke,  will need C-5 zoning.  Approval for the Design Guidelines and Criteria for the Sturgeon Bay Aesthetic Design & Site Plan Review Code for a more dark sky friendly lighting design will in front of the council on Tuesday as well.  The amended language includes downward exterior lighting, back-lit or halo-lit signage, and dimmers with timer controls on all external lighting.   VanLieshout adds that the Sturgeon Bay Common Council meeting is on a video-feed in real-time on the city’s website, but the public is still welcome to attend.  The meeting will begin at 7 pm in the Council Chambers at City Hall.  You can find the agenda for Tuesday’s meeting below.

 

Agenda for meeting 

 

 

 

 

Click here for video link.

https://sbtv.viebit.com/   

Southern Door offering Free Breakfast and Lunch pickup 

Starting next Monday, Southern Door schools will offer free bagged breakfasts and lunches through the National School Breakfast and Lunch Program.  The drive-thru and pick-up locations are located at the four fire departments in the Southern Door School District and the high school.  Business Manager Mark Logan says their food service company will be preparing the sack lunches similar to when there are field trips or after school programming.

 

 

 

The free meal program will be available weekdays from March 23 through April 3.  The Southern Door School District says it is vital to complete the survey or reach out to the District Office to participate in the program this week.  Sevastopol and Sturgeon Bay are also formulating plans to distribute free lunches to those in need. 

 

Stories can inspire you to help others – Mental Health Minute

Helping others is more important than knowing who we are helping, according to Sturgeon Bay Psychologist Dr. Dennis White.  Learning life lessons through stories can inspire you to be a better person.  Dr. White shares a story about an elderly African-American woman who experienced car troubles on a highway in Alabama in the 1960s and received assistance from a young white man who helped her to safety and got her a taxi cab.  The woman then reached out and gave a gift to the young man a week later with a special thank you note.

 

 

You can listen to Dr. White’s entire Mental Health Minute on the “lessons of life” series with this story below.   

 

 

Sister Bay makes Emergency Declaration

The Village of Sister Bay Board took the extraordinary action of making an emergency declaration at a specially called meeting Monday night held at the Sister Bay-Liberty Grove Fire Department. President Dave Lienau says the measure, which was approved unanimously, is necessary because government reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic is changing quickly.

 

 
Village Attorney Randy Nesbitt says time is of the essence in giving the village the immediate power that he compared to Martial Law.

 


Lienau adds that just because the Sister Bay governing board can impose rules that would otherwise infringe on people’s rights, does not mean any action will be taken. He says although no COVID-19 cases have been reported locally, the Sister Bay area has one of the most susceptible populations. 

 

 

 

Food pantries in short supply

Door County food pantries like Care 24/7 located at Stella Maris Parish in Fish Creek could use your help the next time you head to the grocery store. With students and potentially their parents forced to stay at home, food pantries are one outlet where families could lean on to make sure they do not go hungry during this time. Food pantry volunteer Jan Liss says without donations, they could struggle to meet the needs of the community.

Liss says food items like canned fruits and vegetables and oatmeal can be dropped off at the pantry’s site in Fish Creek. Businesses and school districts in Door County are also working on plans to make sure kids get lunch while classes are postponed until at least April 6th.

 

Click to see a list of food pantries from the Door County Library

Farmers optimistic about spring ahead

Salentine Homestead Dairy owner Josh Salentine hopes Mother Nature got his order for better weather in Luxemburg this spring. Rain on top of frozen soils and snow delayed crops from being planted last spring, and farmers had to call some fields a total loss after not being able to get back out to harvest them. Salentine says it cost him 50 percent more in harvesting and manure spreading expenses to get the job done last year. He says some sunny, warm days at the end of March and beginning of April could go a long way to helping farmers this year.

Timm Uhlmann from the National Weather Service in Green Bay told farmers at last month’s Peninsula Pride Farms Annual Meeting that the spring could be wetter than average. However, he believes the record-setting precipitation totals the area received in the previous two years were anomalies.

Early voting moved up, absentee encouraged

The polls do not officially open until next month, but the call for social distancing could trigger more absentee voting. The Wisconsin Elections Commission is encouraging voters to vote absentee this year as one way to limit your exposure to the coronavirus. The city of Sturgeon Bay even kicked off early voting on Monday, a week sooner than originally scheduled. If you want to request an absentee ballot, Sturgeon Bay City Clerk Stephanie Reinhardt says it is actually quite easy if you’re already registered.

If you are not registered to vote, Reinhardt says you have until March 18th to do so online or through the mail. If you miss the deadline, you have to head to your municipal clerk’s office to register by April 3rd. 

 

Click here to learn more about how to vote absentee

 

 

 

Hospital establishes visitor restrictions

Door County Medical Center and other hospitals across the country are establishing new guidelines for visitors as they try to reduce the risk of transmitting the COVID-19 illness. 

Effective immediately, visitors with an acute illness, returning from a high-risk area for COVID-19 exposure and under the age of 14 are no longer allowed at Door County Medical Center. The hospital has also established visitor limits for those receiving treatment with exceptions made only on a case-by-case basis. These include one visitor for patients undergoing surgery or having an appointment in a clinic location or two for those at the end of their life or under the age of 18. The full restrictions, which are available online with this story, are in effect until further notice.

 

Full Release for Door County Medical Center

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

 

Door County Medical Center Hospital Visitor Restrictions

 

March 16, 2020 - Sturgeon Bay, WI. Door County Medical Center (DCMC) is restricting all visitors to the hospital at this time, effective immediately. 

 

In order to reduce the risk of transmitting COVID-19 illness into hospitals as well as the virus throughout the community, area hospitals have come together, in partnership with local public health departments, to put restrictions in place that exemplify commitment to the dignity and care of all, especially those most vulnerable amongst us.

 

There may be exceptions made on a case-by-case basis. The following exclusion criteria are currently in place, effective immediately:

  • Patients who have an appointment in a clinic location within the hospital, and a laboratory or radiology order, as well as those visiting the emergency department, may have one person with them.
  • Labor and delivery patients - one partner and one birth support person
  • Nursery patients - ONE (1) birth parent plus ONE (1) significant other who must remain in the room for the duration of the visit.
  • Patients who are at the end-of-life - TWO (2) visitors
  • Patients under age 18 - No more than TWO (2) visitors (must be family or guardian)
  • Patients undergoing surgery or procedures - ONE (1) visitor who must leave the hospital as soon as possible after the procedure/surgery.
  • No visitors under the age of 14.

Visitors with acute illness are not allowed. Also, visitors returning from international travel or areas at high risk for COVID-19 exposure per CDC criteria may not visit until they have been home and symptom-free for 14 days.

 

For any questions or clarification, contact Door County Medical Center at (920) 743-5566.

Wisconsin GOP hoping to see Democratic presidential primary end

State Supreme Court candidates are technically considered nonpartisan, but party politics shape races for Wisconsin’s top bench like other elections. This year’s court race coincides with general elections at the county level and the Democratic Party’s presidential primary. Stephanie Soucek, Chairwoman of the Door County Republican chapter, says the Democrats could benefit from having a high profile contest act as a magnet to get their voters to the polls where they could also weigh in down-ballot. The Republican primary is uncontested, and that creates a potential turnout problem for the GOP.

 


Former Vice President Joe Biden has begun to pull away from Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders over the past two weeks. The next major prize in the campaign is delegate-rich Florida, which gets decided Tuesday.

 

Short movie shot in Kewaunee recognized as best in Wisconsin

Filmmaker Melonie Gartner shot her horror film, Shadows, in one weekend at an Airbnb she rented in the City of Kewaunee last summer. She used local talent, including a leading man from Sturgeon Bay, and that effort was recognized Saturday night at one of the preeminent film festivals in the entire state. Gartner spoke to DoorCountyDailyNews.com in September, where she laid out the goal of having her movie screened in Appleton.

 


Gartner says her work is influenced by Alfred Hitchcock. The hope is that the accolades for the short film will result in funding for a feature-length production down the road. Gartner says the screenings of Shadows in Sister Bay at the Door County Short Film Festival, and now the accolades from Wildwood are leading to an interest in potential future projects. Shadows was named winner in the best horror/thriller category.

 

Bookings even for spring and summer tourism

Memorial Day weekend is just over two months away and some in the Door County accomdations industry are seeing just below normal bookings for spring while summer inquiries are about even.

Resort managers say anyone looking for rooms right now for the opening of the summer tourism season will likely find them readily available.  Patti Taylor, the General Manager of Landmark Resort in Egg Harbor, believes if lodgings can do as well, or slightly better, than last summer,  that would be good.

 

 

Taylor says staff members are doing extra cleaning efforts at the Landmark's housing facilities to give future guests some peace of mind.

Green Bay Diocese embraces Rural Life Days

St. Louis Parish in Dyckesville will host a Rural Life Days celebration Saturday with Mass beginning at 10 AM, followed by a blessing for farmers from soil to equipment, lunch, and a guest speaker. Two parishes are selected in the diocese for Rural Life Days each year. Once selected each church hosts for two years. The cycle is set up to alternate with one church in year two and the other taking part for the first time. Peter Weiss, the Living Justice Advocate for the Diocese of Green Bay, says support for Rural Life Days comes from the top, namely Bishop David Rivkin.

 


Putting the challenges of rural life into focus is a national priority for the church, but Weiss says it doesn’t always get the attention it deserves. The Diocese of Green Bay consists of 16 counties, many rural, and Weiss says the subject resonates here in a profound way.

 

Ice breakers free up shipping in the nick of time

Three cutters from the US Coast Guard were involved with icebreaking operations from Sturgeon Bay to Green Bay the past week. They opened up shipping channels, which allowed for needed supplies to flow into the Port of Green Bay. That will make its way into Door and Kewaunee Counties over the next few weeks, says Director of Vessel Traffic Services Mark Gill.

 


It is hard to remember but three months ago, it looked like the region was set for an early onset of winter, and the port was closed in mid-December. Being able to get commerce restarted in the first half of March ensures that the shortages of a year ago will not repeat in 2020.

 

Thinking like an entrepreneur in Kewaunee County

The Kewaunee County Economic Development Corporation is putting on an eight-session training course for would-be entrepreneurs beginning March 31st at Luxemburg-Casco High School. The classes are three hours, with a $250 application fee required. Some topics covered include networking, writing a comprehensive plan, and capitalizing on marketing opportunities. It is a two-step application process, registering and securing a grant from the State of Wisconsin. 

Jingdezhen students unlikely to fill Door County jobs

The ranks of foreign students working in summer jobs and seeing the U.S.A via Door County will likely be a bit thinner.  That's because students from the county's sister city of Jingdezhen, China are unlikely to get J1 visas in time for the tourism season.  Laura Vlies Wotachek, who serves on the Ad Hoc Sister City Committee, says COVID-19 concerns will not likely be resolved in time.

 

 

 

Similar concerns about COVID-19 led to the cancellation of planned visits this year by Door County leaders to Jingdezhen.

Scan before you tan

Free skin cancer screenings from Kewaunee County Public Health and Prevea are the final piece to the perfect beach body. The event runs from 9 AM-noon on Saturday, April 4th at Prevea’s Luxemburg location. Public Health Director Cindy Kinnard says skin is fragile, and one bad burn at any time in your life can lead to serious repercussions later on. During the session, there will be visual examinations and presentations on how to avoid too much sun during summer. 

 

 

Mental health series coming to Sturgeon Bay

Amber’s Last Promise, a Milwaukee-based nonprofit, is enlisting the help of two local organizations to bring a mental health series to Sturgeon Bay. The goal is to destigmatize common issues that are kept out of the public spotlight and left unresolved. Victoria, from Counseling Associates of Door County, will be the principal presenter for the series. She runs down what is covered.

 


It all starts April 1st at the Sunshine House. Victoria says that to truly destigmatize a topic as serious as mental health requires more than a talk. She says attendees should expect to have fun.

 

Washington Island included in expanded well testing

The testing of private water wells in Door County will continue and include locations on Washington Island for the first time.  The county has worked with researchers from UW-Oshkosh for several years to track contaminants and bacteria in water wells and near beaches. Door County Supervisor Helen Bacon, who serves on the Health and Human Services Board, says the latest testing will offer property owners more convenience, especially Washington Island residents.

 


Residents will also be able to order testing kits online. Bacon says additional details on the well water testing program will be made available once some upgrades to the testing processes have been completed.

 

It's impossible to brush off Algoma Library paint event

Adult Services Librarian Katie Haasch has been having too much fun, by her own admission, in preparing a new painting workshop at the Algoma Public Library. There will be no brush or easel required March 27th for the free event. Haasch and fellow librarian Braelyn Spencer will be teaching patrons how to use acrylic paint, a water-based solution that dries quickly. 

 


Registration is required as space and materials are limited. The program begins at 1:00 PM. 

 

Photo courtesy of Algoma Public Library website.

 

Democrat Party switches to virtual campaign

In light of recent health concerns, the 2020 campaign will have a different look to it for the Door County chapter of the Democratic Party in the home stretch of both a presidential primary and Wisconsin Supreme Court race. Chairman David Hayes says the primary get-out-the-vote effort will now be conducted through social media and working the phones. They are also testing out the possibility of placards that would be placed on door knobs of homes across the county along with yard signs. The electorate trends older for primaries and second-tier races but Hayes says he thinks the virtual campaign can be effective reaching those voters.

 


Stephanie Soucek, head of the local Republican Party chapter, says the GOP is continuing to use traditional campaign methods.

 

Treatment court moves toward June launch

Door County is sharpening its focus on having a drug treatment court in operation by June 1st.   The court is designed to help those convicted of illegal drug use and related offenses deal with their substance abuse issues.  The courts emphasize treatment and taking responsibility for one's actions over incarceration.  Door County District Attorney Colleen Nordin says April will be a key month in making the drug treatment court a reality.

 

 

 

There are currently 3,000 drug treatment courts in the U.S. The National Drug Court Resource Center says the most successful programs have reduced the recidivism rate by 35 to 40 percent.  That means taxpayers save nearly $6,750 per drug court participant. 

Utilities restricted from cutting off service

With the State of Wisconsin under a health emergency declaration, the Public Service Commission is mandating that public utilities postpone all service shutoffs. Sturgeon Bay Utilities General Manager Jim Stawicki says that this emergency is unique compared to those declared for temporary weather conditions.

 


Stawicki says a steady rate of customers wind up behind on their bills with service disruptions occurring as a result, unfortunately. There is no particular time of the year when missed payments spike and local laws help ensure that the utility can collect what is owed. Stawicki does not expect this moratorium on shutoffs to be shouldered by taxpayers.

 

Computer store ready to help local work at home efforts

Door County residents planning to work from home in light of the COVID-19 pandemic will be able to get the help needed to make sure they can stay connected and handle company projects.  The two basic requirements for working remotely are a computer and a secure internet/wifi link.  Erin Helgeson, a co-owner of Quantum PC in Sturgeon Bay, says beyond that other upgrades may be required.  She also says her company is more than able to meet customers' needs.

 

 

Among the companies now telling employees to work from home are Amazon, Google and Apple.

Humane Society continues to see in-kind donations pour in

With personal items like toilet paper and other essentials flying off store shelves, it is easy to imagine that in-kind donations to the Door County chapter of the Wisconsin Humane Society would be drying up. Vice President of Communications Angela Speed says that is not the case.

 


Speed does sound a cautionary note, though. She cites disruptions for the Humane Society pertaining to fundraising events and says the organization expects revenue to be down in almost every category in the coming months. 

 

Five Gibraltar DECA seniors win state awards

Five Gibraltar DECA students won state competitions held in Lake Geneva earlier this week. Two Gibraltar High School seniors, Brandon Stillman and Connor Duffy, double-qualified for internationals by earning first place in the Sports and Entertainment Marketing Team series and 2nd place for their Integrated Marketing Event Campaign. That proposal was for the Fish Creek Winter Games. Stillman shares the historic nature of the state results even though the DECA students will not be traveling to Nashville for the international competition which was canceled.

 

 

Other qualifiers included Aubrey Peot, who took sixth place in the Business Finance Series, Jack Weitman earning 8th place in the Apparel and Accessories Series, and Kayla Scharrig was chosen for the Emerging Leaders Council.  Gibraltar DECA also received a State Award for Community Giving Acts of Kindness.

 

Photo submitted :  L-R:  Brandon Stillman, Aubrey Peot, Kayla Scharrig, Jack Weitman, Connor Duffy

 

 

 

 

Local gas prices dip below $2.00

Drivers in Door and Kewaunee counties can fill up their gas tanks for less money.  Prices in Sturgeon Bay fell as low as $1.99 per gallon for regular unleaded on Friday.  Suppliers told Parv Jandu, the owner of Jandu Petroleum, with eight convenience stores in the area that the drop in the stock market has had the most significant impact on lowering gasoline prices.  AAA says another factor is that OPEC and non-OPEC countries have not agreed to cut production of oil overseas.  The average price of a gallon of gas in Wisconsin is about $2.15.  The last time the price at the pump fell below $2 in the state was in December of 2018.    

 

Area Catholics not obligated to attend Mass next three weeks

The Diocese of Green Bay announced Friday that while Sunday Masses will continue in parishes throughout the area, Catholics have been granted a dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass through March 29.  Bishop David Ricken says, "during this time of heightened precautions, the church wants to keep people safe, healthy, and free from fear."
Sunday Mass is available through a live stream from St. Frances Xavier Cathedral in Green Bay at 9 a.m. here: https://sfxcathedralgb.com/73 

 

The Green Bay Diocese covers 16 counties in Northeastern Wisconsin, including Door and Kewaunee counties. 

 

All K-12 schools to close March 18 statewide

All schools throughout the state, including Door and Kewaunee counties, will close as of next Wednesday in response to the coronavirus.  Governor Tony Evers announced Friday that the mandated closure of K-12 schools will start March 18 with an anticipated reopening on April 6.  The Governor stated that "the decision was not made lightly, but keeping our kids, our educators, our families, and our communities safe is a top priority as we continue our work to respond to and prevent further spread of the COVID 19 in Wisconsin."  There have been 19 cases of the virus reported in the state as of Friday. 

 

 

(photo of Gov. Evers taken in Door County last summer) 

Developing tomorrow's exhibitors

Two Kewaunee County parents are working together to get kids into the show ring with their favorite livestock animals. Jenny Prodell and Crystal Bailey are the people behind the Blue Ribbon Livestock Camp, which will take place this May at the Kewaunee County Fairgrounds. The day-long program will walk kids and their parents through what it takes to earn that blue ribbon at the county and state fair. The sessions will include how to properly wash, train, and care for your pig, cow, sheep or goat. Prodell hopes the lessons they learn at the camp are just as important as the ribbons they could potentially earn.

The Blue Ribbon Livestock Camp, which takes place on May 16th, will also feature presenters and hands-on demonstrations. 

 

 

 

Photo submitted by Aerica Bjurstrom

Nursing homes taking extra precautions

Your visit to see your loved ones at a nursing home or assisted living facility may have to wait. Some homes like the Door County Medical Center’s Pete and Jelaine Horton Skilled Nursing Facility are not allowing visitors except for one designated person as an extra precaution due to coronavirus concerns and the seasonal flu. The decision is based on recommendations made by the Centers for Disease Control earlier this week. Not being able to say hi and check in on loved ones during this time could be tough for families. Nursing Home Administrator Nancy Bohrman says they are helping families connect with each other if they cannot physically visit.

If you feel like a visit to the center is necessary, Bohrman asks you to contact them ahead of time and make sure you are completely healthy.

Girl Scouts make big difference on small island

Washington Island Girl Scout Troop 4398 is proving that size does not matter when it comes to having a significant impact on the community. At just four members, Troop 4398 is one of the smallest troops in the Girl Scouts of the Northwestern Great Lakes. It is fitting since the members go to school at Washington Island, the smallest school district in the state. However, the troop has been busy at its bi-monthly meetings, including making blankets for the Door County Humane Society, creating holiday decorations for Northern Door nursing homes, and taking courses in first aid and self-defense. Leader DJ Kickbusch says it has been great working with the girls.

Troop 4398 is celebrating the end of Girl Scout Week by wrapping up its cookie sales. In addition to earning their business patch, the money raised goes towards activities on and off the island.

Black Ash Swamp purchase moves forward

The Glacial Lakes Conservancy is one step closer to acquiring a portion of Kewaunee County’s Black Ash Swamp. The Kewaunee County Land and Water Conservation Department approved the plan for the conservancy to purchase approximately 420 acres of Black Ash Swamp, which is located near the border of Door and Kewaunee Counties. With help from a Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Grant, the conservancy will purchase the property instead of taxes, which accounted for over $14,000 of the 2018 tax levy in the Town of Lincoln. Land and Water Conservation Committee Chairperson Chuck Wagner said the property could be open for public use once it is protected.

The Kewaunee County Board will have the final say on the future of the Black Ash Swamp when it meets on Tuesday.

 

Project Day, St. Patrick's Day Parade among coronavirus-related cancellations. UPDATED POSTPONEMENTS

Only six cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed in the state, but recent actions by the University of Wisconsin system are causing a ripple effect in Door and Kewaunee Counties. Several campuses in the UW System including Madison, Milwaukee, Green Bay and LaCrosse are moving many of their classes online and extending their spring breaks to help in efforts to stem the virus’ outbreak. UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank has called for all events of 50 or more people to be canceled, which includes Saturday’s Kewaunee County 4-H Project Day at Luxemburg-Casco High School. Kewaunee County 4-H Educator Jill Jorgensen told DoorCountyDailyNews.com that she is disappointed the over 100 participants plus presenters and volunteers will not be able to participate. After Governor Tony Evers declared the coronavirus a public health emergency, Destination Sturgeon Bay canceled this Saturday's St. Patrick's Day parade. Carly Sarkis from Destination Sturgeon Bay says it was a hard decision.

 

Sarkis says individual businesses with events surrounding the parade are still having them at their own discretion. The virus is also being blamed for the cancellation of Destination Imagination regional competitions and an upcoming rummage sale hosted by the Kewaunee County Food Pantry.

 

Other updated announcements locally include:

 

Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) of Door County is cancelling the St. Patrick’s Day Noon Meal Celebration scheduled for Tuesday, March 17th at the Sturgeon Bay location.

 

The 85th Annual Steamboat Dinner, this Saturday, March 14, 2020, will be available for DRIVE UP ONLY; there will not be any seating in the lodge dining room!   The Steamboat dinner will not be available inside the Masonic Lodge dining room but still be available for pick up at the white tent in front of the lodge building at 31 S. 3rd Ave.  No need to ever get out of the car, just drive up; use your ticket or cash and carry.  The meal is exactly the same except in a “to go” container.   

 

NWTC has extended Spring Break through March 28 on all campuses.

 

 

 

 

Picture from Kewaunee County 4-H

 

 

Ice shoves close Union road

At least four homeowners could be blocked in as the result of ice shoves covering the road in the town of Union. 

 

According to a post from the Door County Sheriff's Department, ice shoves as tall as 15 to 20 feet are to blame for portions of South Bay Shore Drive being completely blocked, preventing pedestrian and vehicle traffic from getting through. Address numbers 1028 and lower are only accessible from the south end of S. Bay Shore Road, while addresses 1056 and higher are only accessible from the road's north end. Homes in the middle are blocked in completely. Emergency personnel is aware of the situation just in case help is needed, but the road will remain blocked until the highway department can clear the road sometime on Friday.

 

 

Sunrise School showcases live "wax museum"

Sturgeon Bay elementary students presented a wax museum of sorts on Thursday at Sunrise School.  59 fourth-graders dressed up in-character and shared a brief biography of a famous person they researched. Sunrise School fourth-grade teacher Kayleen Smeaton says the students were assigned a historical figure from their four top choices. She shares how the wax museum project came about.

 

 

The students lined up along the walls of the multi-purpose and the hallways while awaiting their chance to be in-character of famous sports figures, presidents, authors, and inventors. Parents and family members were able to attend and push a fake button to start the student’s wax museum presentation. You can see a video and pictures from Thursday’s wax museum from Sunrise Elementary School with this story below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

Door County FYRE participates in teen summit 

Help of Door County’s FYRE program participated in the largest-ever “End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin Teen Summit” held in the Wisconsin Dells last month. FYRE stands for Forging Youth Relationships and Education.  Help of Door County Executive Director Milly Gonzales says the experience will be beneficial in educating young people on what defines a healthy relationship.

 

 

Over 700 attendees were part of the Teen Summit, which included youth, parents, educators, activists, and mentors from around the state. Topics included toxic masculinity and identity crises faced by teens of color.

Personal property cause of disputes in family estates

The dividing up of property can be contentious during an estate settlement.  When one dies without having a will, the legal term is called “intestate.” That means the intestacy laws of the state where you reside will determine the distribution of property upon your death. Attorney Jim Downey of Blazkovec, Blazkovec & Downey says the issue over personal property is where he sees the most disputes.

 

 

According to Forbes, over half of all people between the age of 55 to 64 don’t have a will or estate plan. Downey says if you don’t have a will, the intestate succession statute will dictate exactly where your belongings and assets will go without your input. Wills can distribute your property, name an executor, name guardians for children, forgive debts, and more, according to Downey.

High school tackles bullying with musical----POSTPONED

Algoma High School students will be asking theatergoers if they are a “Heather” or a “Martha” when they perform their musical this weekend. The high school edition of “Heathers: The Musical” tackles issues of peer pressure, bullying, and mental health. Algoma Musical Director David Robertson says the production is a tamer version of the movie and Broadway musical, but believes the students did a great job handling the material.

“Heathers: The Musical” will be performed on Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 2 and 7 p.m. Due to the subject matter, the show is rated PG-13 and childcare will be available during the performances.

 

Photo/artwork courtesy of Algoma High School and AKA NYC

 

Guiding Rotary's 100th year

Sturgeon Bay Rotary Club President-elect Sean Linnan has the task of carrying the organization into a new century of service. Planning is underway for a late May celebration of the Sturgeon Bay Rotary Club’s 100th anniversary.  With a strong membership and financial base, the club has helped support local projects like the restoration of Little Lake and international causes like the Clinica Evangelica Morava in Honduras. Linnan believes it has one of the most active clubs in the country with people in it not just for networking but for its altruistic efforts. He is proud to help lead a club his grandfather told him about as a child.

New members are always encouraged to join the Sturgeon Bay Noon Rotary Club, which meets every Thursday at the Sturgeon Bay Yacht Club. The Sturgeon Bay Breakfast Rotary Club meets on Tuesdays at Hope Church beginning at 7:30 a.m.

Fishermen rescued off of Red River County Park

A call came in at around 9:45 Thursday morning concerning six ice fishermen who needed to be saved. Four of them were near Red River County Park on a piece of ice that had become separated from shore and had floated about 40 feet into deeper water. Those four were rescued by New Franken Fire Department. The Luxemburg Fire Department also dispatched a boat to rescue two more in a similar situation roughly two miles north. Captain Norman Heraly says none of the fishermen ever fell into the water. The call came in from a third party.

 


Heraly says the warm temperatures and rain have made conditions poor, and he recommends that everyone stay off the ice for the rest of the spring. 

 

Slow travels through construction

Construction barriers should keep motorists on high alert no matter where they are traveling, but it is especially true in Fish Creek. Narrow, winding roads in some spots are part of the equation, but the sheer popularity of the community could make things extra dangerous for the construction crews that went back to work in the area on Monday. Mark Kantola from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation says motorists traveling through communities like Fish Creek need to take even more precautions than usual.

The Gibraltar Town Board voted last week to add additional signage in the area to direct people to specific businesses affected by the construction work. Stage 2 of the State Highway 42 road construction project through the town is expected to last until Memorial Day.

 

You can click this link for additional details about the project, including road closures and detours.

 

 

Algoma man arrested on child porn charges

A 61-year-old Algoma man is sitting behind bars in Kewaunee County after a raid of his home discovered pieces of child pornography. According to a release from the Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department, the search took place Wednesday at an apartment complex in Algoma after receiving a tip from the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. The search led to the arrest of David Lehnert on charges of Possession of Child Pornography. Lehnert will remain at the Kewaunee County Jail until his day in court.

Stores stocking sanitation supplies more often

Concerns about COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus, are keeping employees at one Sturgeon Bay grocery store busier.  Demand for personal sanitation products continues to increase.  Jon Calhoun, general manager of Tadych's Econofoods, says keeping shelves stocked with those products has gone from a bi-weekly to a daily process.

 

 

 

Calhoun says sales of other goods and foodstuffs are running normally.

YMCA cancels national swim meet

The YMCA has canceled its national swim meet for the first time since Harry Truman was president. The decision comes just weeks before the event was scheduled. According to Door County YMCA Aquatics Director Mike McHugh, this hasn’t happened since 1947. McHugh is on the coaches committee, which oversees the meet, but he says the group was not part of the decision, that it came directly from the parent organization. McHugh says he is saddened for the kids.

 


The Wisconsin YMCA will still have sectional and state meets. There is also a long-course national swim meet, using an Olympic size 50-meter pool, which happens in the summer months. 

 

Jens Jensen's legacy lives on

A man who has researched landscape architect Jens Jensen, founder of The Clearing Folk School in Ellison Bay to train future architects, is pleased that Jensen will finally be in the Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame.  Roger Kuhns also portrayed Jensen on stage in “An Evening with Jens Jensen”.  Kuhns says Jensen's work with Chicago area parks and the Cook County Forest Preserve still show the need for people of all ages to reconnect with the outdoors, no matter where they live.

 

 

 

Kuhns says today's nature preserves also fulfill Jensen hopes that visitors can rediscover themselves.

 

 

 

Kuhns is finishing up a book based on his play “An Evening with Jens Jensen” and expects to do further performances at The Clearing, though no dates have been set.

Farmer expects wheat prices to increase

Rich Olson, from Olson Family Farms, expects there to be repercussions from the historically low winter wheat planting season last fall. Bloomberg News notes that acreage for winter wheat fell to its lowest level since 1908, kept in check by wet conditions, and what many thought was going to be an early onset of winter. Olson says that he doesn’t expect supplies to run out, but it could go for a steep price.

 


Olson says silage quality from last fall’s harvest is generally poor, which is affecting the milk production of local herds.

 

Door County reacts to recent Wisconsin ransomware attacks

Well-publicized ransomware attacks in Oshkosh and Racine earlier this year have Door County reevaluating its preparedness for a similar event here. Technology Services Director Jason Rouer says he stresses accountability across all county departments. Rouer says he has even used outside contractors to probe for weaknesses.

 


Rouer says the county has increased the frequency with which it backs up its systems to try and mitigate the damage if a ransomware attempt is successful.

 

Man killed in Kewaunee County Crash

One man is dead as the result of a two-vehicle crash in Luxemburg Tuesday morning. According to a Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department release from Wednesday afternoon, 24-year-old Derrick Hallam was traveling westbound on Luxemburg Road just after 6 a.m. when he ran a stop sign crossing County Highway AB. He was struck by a 49-year-old Luxemburg man traveling northbound on County Highway AB in his truck. Rescue units from Luxemburg, Lincoln, and Casco responded to the accident. The truck driver sustained no injuries in the crash but Hallam died after arriving at a Green Bay hospital. The accident remains under investigation by the Wisconsin State Patrol.

Sanitation emphasized to reassure diners

Restaurants in Door and Kewaunee counties are working to reassure customers that they're continuing thorough sanitation efforts to reduce the spread of communicable viruses.  The spread of COVID-19 has been on the minds of patrons coming to Sonny's Pizzeria in Sturgeon Bay.  General Manager Kenny Albert says he tells his guests that staff members on the floor and in the kitchen continue to follow the extensive sanitation and hygiene protocols in place to ensure that diners can relax and enjoy safe meals.

 

 

 

Albert says, so far, Sonny's is not seeing a decrease in dining area business nor an increase in takeout orders as more cases of COVID-19 have been documented worldwide.

Rural Life Days puts spotlight on St. Louis Parish

The Diocese of Green Bay has chosen St. Louis Parish of Dyckesville for its Rural Life Days celebration March 21st. The Diocese covers 16 counties, even with two churches selected each year being the host parish means seeing new faces says organizer Barbara Cornette.

 


In addition to mass, there will be a blessing of the soil to encourage a prosperous growing season. Afterward, there is lunch, followed by a speaker. Father John Girotti will talk about pastoring in a small town. Reservations for lunch are encouraged by this Friday. Those interested can contact the parish office.

 

Film aims for community child care conversation

The task of finding quality, affordable access to child care in Door and Kewaunee counties is getting some help from an upcoming film presentation.  United Way of Door County will hold four showings of the documentary “No Small Matter” throughout the area starting March 31st.  Christina Studebaker, the United Way's Community Impact Coordinator, hopes “No Small Matter” will help start a conversation on child care issues by looking at the subject from all perspectives.

 

 

The first screening of “No Small Matter” is scheduled for March 31st at the Southern Door High School Library from 5:30 PM-7:30 PM.  The film will also be shown on April 6th, 6:00-8:00 pm at Crossroads at Big Creek in Sturgeon Bay, April 13th, 6:00-8:00 pm at the Sister Bay Village Hall in Sister Bay and May 19th, 6:30-8:30 pm at the Donald & Carol Kress Pavilion in Egg Harbor.

Flooding concerns heighten with melt

Local municipalities are readying for potential flooding of streets as temperatures rise, and the winter snowpacks continue to melt in the area. Algoma Public Works Director Matt Murphy says one area of concern for flash flooding in the city would be off Perry Street and County S near the dog park. He says his department is consistently monitoring the city’s pumps when necessary.

 

 

With daytime temperatures expected to remain above freezing for the next week, Murphy says a slow, gradual melt with little precipitation is the best combination to prevent any flooding issues. He says the Algoma Street department is in good shape with the supply of about 1,500 sandbags just in case.

 

 

(photo of flooding in Algoma last summer courtesy of Algoma Fire Department)

New DCEDC director sees potential in entrepreneurship

One week into his new position as the Door County Economic Development executive director, Steve Jenkins is reaching out to the business community with eyes towards the future.  Jenkins says Door County has a strong business base with a nice mix of manufacturing and tourism opportunities.  He believes a great potential lies in attracting young entrepreneurs to help build business development in the area.

 

 

Jenkins, who has 45 years of experience in economic development, was named the new director of the DCEDC in February, replacing Jim Schuessler, who left to take a position at Yuma Multiversity in Arizona.  

 

Rotary scholarship deadline is this Sunday

Seniors from area high schools still have a chance for scholarships offered by the Sturgeon Bay Rotary Club.  Students who plan on pursuing four-year degrees next fall can apply online by this Sunday, March 15. These scholarships range from $1,000 to $2500 and are funded by the Rotary Club of Sturgeon Bay Charitable Trust.  Rotary President Mark Nelson shares the impact the scholarship program has had in the past.

 

 

The Rotary Technical Education/Robert Muckian Scholarships have been awarded the past 13 years and range from $500 to $1,200.  The awards will be presented at the Rotary Luncheon on May 14.  You can find complete scholarship information and the link to the application online with this story.  

 

 

https://sturgeonbayrotaryclub.org/scholarships/  

Algoma Police investigating property damage at Crescent Beach

The City of Algoma Police Department has begun an investigation into broken lights at the Crescent Beach boardwalk. More details will be provided later this week. As of Tuesday afternoon, there are no suspects. Other information, such as when the property damage occurred, remains unknown. Crescent Beach is located on Lake Michigan at the southern edge of the Algoma business district.

 

 

New town hall for Lincoln

The town of Lincoln will soon have a new place to gather in the community after contractors put the final touches on its new hall. The Town of Lincoln Hall, located on Maple Road in Casco, is expected to be open by the time people head to the polls on April 7th. The building will have conveniences the old town hall did not offer like running water and a kitchen area. Town chairperson Cory Cochart credits supervisor Jesse Jerabek for not just spearheading the project but keeping it under budget.

Cochart says they will wait until a later date to have a grand opening celebration for the town hall, which will also be used for town meetings and event rentals.

Nelson out as Parks Superintendent

Door County will officially begin its search for a new parks superintendent when its Facilities and Parks Committee meets on Wednesday.  Ben Nelson recently left the position after being hired in April 2018. His hiring coincided with the Parks Department merger with the Door County Building and Grounds Department. Door County Administrator Ken Pabich could not go into detail about Nelson’s departure but says the move allowed them to make some other changes as well.

Pabich assures nothing will be missed while the position sits vacant for the next two to three months while they go through the hiring process. He says Facilities and Parks Department Director Wayne Spritka will take over those duties until a new park manager is hired.

Charitable giving down

Door County was not immune to the downward nationwide trend of charitable giving. The United States Treasury Department said last week giving was down 1.3 percent over the year prior according to 2018 tax returns, which would reflect the first year since changes to the tax code were made. Door County Community Foundation President and CEO Bret Bicoy says foundation giving was up about 4 percent, but individual gifts were down over three percent. He says the drop in giving affects charities differently.

He expects the Treasury Department to give a similar report next year after 2019 returns are filed. Bicoy encourages people wanting to donate and get a tax break to batch their gifts through a donor-advised fund, which takes into account your total gift but spreads it out over time.

Preparation needed as coronavirus concerns grow

The risk of contracting the coronavirus in the area continues to be low and two Door County entities are working together to keep it that way. It comes after the Wisconsin Department of Health confirmed the state’s second and third cases of the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, in Pierce and Dane Counties. In a joint Facebook Live question/answer session Monday night, Door County Medical Center Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jim Heise and Door County Public Health Manager Sue Powers spoke about COVID-19 and what to do to be prepared. Powers is encouraging individuals and businesses to think about their preparedness measures.

Heise says COVID-19 concerns are higher in bigger cities, but that does not mean it could not make its way to Door County.

Door County Medical Center announced last week it had two people tested for COVID-19 after they became sick upon their arrival from infected places. Both tests came back negative. You can watch the full question/answer session with Powers and Heise below.

 

 

Icy roads delay school

Students at Door County school districts will have a little extra time to get ready for school on Tuesday due to weather.

 

The combination of Monday's rain and dropping temperatures Tuesday morning caused icy spots to form on area roadways. Salt crews were out treating roads this morning, but Sevastopol, Gibraltar, Southern Door, and Sturgeon Bay are all under a two-hour delay due to the conditions. The slick conditions are a precursor to the snow expected to fall Tuesday night into Wednesday morning. One to two inches are expected to fall. Additional delays will be listed below as we are notified.

 

Sevastopol: 2 hour delay

Sturgeon Bay: 2 hour delay

Southern Door: 2 hour delay

Gibraltar: 2 hour delay

St. Peter's Lutheran School, Sturgeon Bay: 2 hour delay.

Sunshine House: 1 hour delay for opening and busing

Washington Island: 2 hour delay, 4K canceled

St. John Bosco, Sturgeon Bay: 2 hour delay, no preschool

Northern Door Children's Center: 2 hour delay

Sevastopol candidate forum set for March 21

Residents from the town of Sevastopol can get informed on important issues when the third candidate forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Door County is held next Saturday, March 21.  The forum will feature the four candidates running for the two open seats on the Sevastopol Town Board.  Dan Powers, the forum coordinator for the League of Women Voters of Door County says the forum can especially be helpful when there are no incumbents on April’s ballot, like the one in Sevastopol.

 

 

Darrick DeMeuse, Derek Wayne Denil, Robert Gamble, and Jeanne Vogel will vie for the two Sevastopol seats on the town board.  The candidate forum will be held at the Sevastopol Town Hall at 10 o’clock in the morning on March 21.

 

Bettering oneself can be as simple as a smile

Dr. Dennis White, a Sturgeon Bay psychologist, says making a conscious effort to interact with people you encounter every day can inspire you to be a better person.  He shares a story he researched that is from an anonymous author.

 

 

You can find Dr. White’s entire Mental Health Minute below. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Southern Door 5th graders shine at CP Telethon

A tradition that goes back 39 years continued this past Sunday when the Southern Door fifth-graders performed at the 66th Annual CP Telethon in Green Bay. Nearly 50 students performed songs on stage and television before presenting a check of $47,210.51 for Cerebral Palsy center. Bridget Spude, a fifth-grade teacher at Southern Door Elementary School, says the individual efforts started back in December with a letter-writing campaign. She says the hard work shown by the students every year is always appreciated as well as the community support. [SPUDE] The Southern Door Fifth grade class has raised as much as $53,000 in past years. The 2020 CP telethon held at WBAY TV studios raised over $1.4 million over the weekend.  

 

Counihan ends federal court appeals

The former executive director of the Door County Humane Society is ending her effort to bring her conviction on embezzlement charges before the U.S. Supreme Court.  Door County District Attorney Colleen Nordin says her office has been informed that Carrie Counihan has withdrawn her request for an appeal to the high court.  That comes about two weeks after the Wisconsin State Supreme Court upheld her conviction and rejected claims of ineffective representation by her attorney.   Door County District Attorney Colleen Nordin believes the end of Counihan's appeals is a win for the community.

 

 

.Counihan was convicted of five misdemeanor counts in connection with using a humane society credit card for $20,000 in purchases for personal use.  Counihan was sentenced to nine months in jail and Nordin says Counihan has now been ordered to begin serving her sentence in 60-days.

Conservancy, county talk Black Ash Swamp deal

The future concerning swampland on the Door/Kewaunee border could become clearer after the Kewaunee County Land and Water Conservation Committee meets on Thursday. The Glacial Lakes Conservancy offered to purchase 420 acres of the Black Ash Swamp, which is one of the few vast, diverse lowland forests in the region. The Town of Lincoln signed off on the deal, but Kewaunee County officials pushed it off because the sale would have taken the property off the tax rolls. Land and Water Conservation Committee Chairperson Chuck Wagner says a plan for the conservancy to make a payment to the county in lieu of taxes is a good idea for everyone.

If the committee approves the resolution, it could get the final OK needed to finalize the sale at the Kewaunee County Board meeting on March 17th. The Kewaunee County Land and Water Conservation Committee will meet this Thursday at 8:15 a.m. in Luxemburg to also discuss its support for the Green Bay Ecosystem National Estuarine Research Reserve project at UW-Green Bay and other items brought up by the public at past meetings.

Getting veterans what they deserve

Door County Veterans Service Officer Beth Wartella hopes to meet you before it is too late. CVSOs across the state work with veterans and their families to make sure they are aware of and receive all of the benefits they are entitled to from the moment they are discharged to the time they pass away. Wartella says there is a lot of preparation involved to get everything set up correctly and efficiently.

Wartella says their relationship with organizations like the American Legion has made it easier to reach out to many veterans but admits they can also do better to reach others. You can learn more about the programs available through the CVSO by calling their office or attending one of the upcoming Delta Company listening sessions throughout the county beginning on March 19th.

 

ALL SESSIONS BEGIN AT 6:30 P.M.

March 19th at Sturgeon Bay ADRC

April 9th at Jacksonport Town Hall

April 23rd at Liberty Grove Town Hall

May 7th at Brussels Town Hall

 

Call the Door County Veterans Service Office at 920-746-2225 for more information

Finding the next Fairest

Continuing to grow is the goal for the Door County Fairest of the Fair program as it enters its third year. Katie Guilette has served as the Fairest since she was formally crowned last year at the Door County Fair. With more of an arts background, Guilette will be visiting schools in the county to help drum up more entries for the Junior Fair. Program organizer Laura Vlies-Wotachek says it has been beneficial to have two Fairests with such diverse backgrounds after Claire Olson, who showed livestock at the fair, took on the role in 2018.

The search is on for the next Door County Fairest of the Fair, which will be crowned this year in July. As the Fairest, the chosen person earns a $1000 scholarship and a lifetime pass to the Door County Fair in exchange for promoting the Door County Fair at events across the area over the next year.

 

 

Dispelling sex offender myths

Kewaunee County is no different than other communities when it comes to welcoming back sex offenders. According to state statute, any person convicted of sexual assault or another related crime must register as a sex offender. Since 1997, law enforcement professionals have been required to alert the community when they are released, especially since also according to state statute, sex offenders have to return to their county of conviction. The “Why Here?” is where Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski says many people get confused.

Joski says the community and law enforcement can work together to prevent further offenses. He adds that sex offenders have a recidivism rate of less than nine percent, and between 86 and 94 percent of the crimes were committed by either family members or close acquaintances of the victims. You can read more about the sex offender registry below:

 

FROM SHERIFF MATT JOSKI

Recently I have had a few residents with questions surrounding the topic of sex offenders, and the sex offender registry. Throughout the years I have written articles pertaining to many topics which affect the overall safety of our communities. From theft and fraud prevention to animal bites and cold weather preparation, there is never a shortage of issues in which helpful information can be shared. Looking back, it has been over five years since I last wrote on this subject, so this week I would like to cover some information regarding sex offenders and the guidelines which govern their re-integration into our communities.

             

By state statute definition, a person who must register is any individual who has been convicted of a charge as defined in Wisconsin State Statute 301.45. These crimes involve sexual assault and include a variety of specific offenses. While these types of offenses have been committed throughout history, it was in 1997 that the Sex Offender Registry and the Community Notification Law went into effect, thus providing a means by which law enforcement and the community can work together to better inform and ultimately prevent further offenses from occurring. While no issue has the potential to create more anxiety, it is important to note that the recidivism rate among these offenders is only 8.8% and that in a majority of the cases (86%- 94%) were committed by either family members or close acquaintances.

            

One of the most frequently asked questions I receive when conducting a notification is “Why here?” Many are not aware that there is in fact a state statute requirement that upon discharge from the correctional facility, the offender must return to the county of conviction. While many times this will allow the offender close access to follow up counseling as well as resources from family or friends, this is not always the case and many times efforts are made to place the individual in the environment which will facilitate their return to a normal life and minimize the potential for re-offense.

            

What is important in this entire process is that we share information, and then just as importantly use that information responsibly to bring awareness to the community while not infringing upon the basic rights of the individual who is the subject of the notification. We must also understand that the knowledge of past offenders and their whereabouts is just part of the prevention in these types of crimes. We must be vigilant in regards to those who have contact with our children throughout the year. As stated earlier, most sex offenses involve victims who are known to their offenders, and thus prevention must include careful screening of all those entrusted with the care of our kids. Many organizations have implemented child protection protocols which may involve courses which have to be completed prior to any work involving children. For more information on the Wisconsin Sex Offender Registry you can go to:

https://doc.wi.gov/community-resources/offender-registry

Teenagers hardest hit by lost hour

Daylight Savings Time occurred early Sunday morning as clocks sprung forward, eliminating an hour of rest. Linda Golik, from Bellin Health, says that newer research suggests it could take up to two weeks to adapt to the time change. She believes that the adjustment period weighs heaviest on teenagers because they need sleep the most.

 


Golik says Americans are becoming increasingly sleep-deprived. In extreme cases, she says you should consult with a physician to evaluate all possible options to ensure you’re getting a good night’s rest.

 

Sturgeon Bay Police recertified in CPR

The Sturgeon Bay Police Department was taken to school by Assistant Fire Chief Kalin Montevideo last week. All officers were recertified in CPR. Montevideo works as an instructor with the American Safety and Health Institute. She helps with training for almost all public employees in the city.

 


Recertification is good for two years, so most departments do it at one time with everyone participating. Montevideo says it lasts a couple of hours.

 

Photo courtesy of Sturgeon Bay Police Facebook page.

Kewaunee County youth begin animal care training

To sell an animal at the Kewaunee County Fair’s livestock auction, a child must enroll in quality care training. Most take the course online since over 100 students typically enroll, but Thursday was an opportunity for in-person instruction from Agriculture Educator Aerica Bjurstrom. She says there are different themes each year and details what is being taught for 2020.

 


Bjurstrom teaches a national curriculum developed by the Youth for Quality Care of Animals (YQCA) organization. It focuses on animals as small as rabbits up to swine and cattle, everything except horses.

 

Find the luck of the Irish at the Miller

In addition to Saturday’s St. Patrick’s Day parade through Sturgeon Bay, live music will be a staple at several area parties. The most authentically Irish can be found at the Miller Art Museum. March’s installment of Library Live at the Miller presents the Door County Folk Alliance. Assistant Librarian Morgan Mann says the group is a staple in the area.

 


From jigs to waltzes, there will be plenty to dance to beginning at noon. The concert is a free performance.

 

Coast Guard breaking the ice

Reinforcements are set to join the Coast Guard Cutter Mobile Bay to begin icebreaking operations in the Bay of Green Bay on Monday. The Sturgeon Bay-based tug, along with the CGC Mackinaw and CGC Neah Bay, will begin with the canal working into the Devil’s Triangle area out towards Chambers Island. Director of Vessel Traffic Services Mark Gill says the ice is much thinner than normal.

 


Gill says thin ice can actually be more dangerous to vessels traversing the bay because they have limited room to navigate around small icebergs that form as the spring thaw begins. Mobile Bay will begin clearing the canal to allow the winter fleet to leave next week.

 

Athletes learn importance of nutrition

The first practice of the year for the Algoma High School track and field team will charge out of the blocks Monday afternoon with assistance from dietician Lee Hyrkas. He will be presenting for about 45 minutes to the group as a whole before leading breakout sessions with individual athletes to help them build the most efficient nutrition plan for the upcoming season. Hyrkas has presented to several schools in the area and says there are usually around five coaches or athletes who benefit significantly from the talks.

 


Hyrkas says he will tailor his message to the needs of individual sports. Football and wrestling will be more protein-heavy to build muscle, whereas speed and agility are the name of the game for basketball and track.

 

Nursing homes are not surefire investments

Last month’s closing of the Crossroads Care Center of Green Bay is the most recent example of the tumultuous era for healthcare in the region. Tama Bagley from Anna’s Healthcare says there are strict regulations regarding staffing that prevents the industry from being a secure investment.

 


Bagley says that the evident demographic trends in the country attract private equity and other funding sources who do not have experience in managing a care facility.

 

Civility harder to achieve with social media

The Door County Civility Project held its first meeting in 2013, at the height of the social media age. Twitter was about to go public, and user growth was exploding for several services. Steering Committee member Shirley Senarighi says there is no easy answer as far as taming the web, but she does have some suggestions. 

 


The Civility Project has several goals; one of those is to encourage more participation in local government by improving how the public interacts with politicians. Senarighi says that this spring’s elections suggest there is more work to be done, but she is encouraged by the fact that coarse discourse or hostile treatment is no longer cited as a reason to avoid political office.

 

Local recycling programs may need new tax revenue to survive

A dramatic slowdown in the Chinese economy has halted its construction industry and caused demand for recycled products to dry up. With prices cratering, many municipalities across the country in the United States are having to make a tough decision about whether the programs are worth saving. Advanced Disposal General Manager Steve Estes says recycling is a labor-intensive industry compared to regular trash pickup. The sorting of recycled goods has to be done manually. When the end product isn’t bringing in a reasonable price, costs overwhelm revenue. Estes believes that even if recycling continues to lose money, area residents will vote to save it.

 


Estes believes recycling is now part of the culture of the region.

 

Public input wanted on parks and open spaces

People can have their say on the Door County Parks and Open Space plan for 2020-2025.  It replaces the current plan adopted in 2011.  The revised parks and open space draft document inventories all county parklands and completed and future improvements.  Becky Kerwin, with the Door County Land Use Services Department, says public input via surveys and an upcoming open house help give the county direction on park upgrades.

 

 

 

The open house meeting on the draft on the 2020-2025 Door County Park and Open Space plan is scheduled for March 31st from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM at the County Government Center on Nebraska Street in Sturgeon Bay.

City of Kewaunee loses Easter egg hunt

The annual Easter egg hunt at the Hollyhock House and Gardens has been canceled for 2020. The wedding venue has run an egg hunt on the Saturday before Easter for years. In addition to grabbing as many eggs as possible, kids had the chance to win a host of raffle prizes, and they got to meet the Easter Bunny. Each event is paired with a charity, the past four being the Lakeshore Community Food Pantry. Being a partner organization requires a large commitment of time and volunteers, says Hollyhock Owner Kathy Howlett-Despot.

 


Even in bad weather, the hunt attracts over 120 children so it will leave a hole in the area’s holiday calendar. Howlett-Despot says Hollyhock had already begun putting together kids raffle baskets before Lakeshore decided to end the partnership and will be looking to donate them to other egg hunts in the coming weeks. Holy Rosary Catholic Church also hosts an event each year.

 

Photo from 2018 hunt courtesy of the Hollyhock House Facebook page.

Local school already follows student restraint guidelines

The Southern Door School District has policies in place to report incidents of forced student isolation or restraint. Now a new law requires all Wisconsin school districts to follow similar efforts and inform parents or guardians and the Department of Public Instruction when such incidents take place.  That law was signed into effect recently by Governor Evers and also covers de-escalation training for staffers who deal with students who misbehave or are out of control emotionally.  Patti Vickman, Southern Door Schools Superintendent, says with a few exceptions her district's policies already follow the new law.

 

 

 

The new law also establishes that restraint and isolation of a student be used only as a last resort. It also sets up debriefing procedures for staff after each incident occurs.

Harbor projects recommended in Sturgeon Bay

The Sturgeon Bay Harbor Commission is recommending three projects for the harbor improvement plan on the city's waterfront, including one that could benefit Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding.  That plan calls for adding a new dock wall on private property adjacent to the shipyard. Community Development Director Marty Olejniczak says the commission's approval helps prioritize the dock wall project for action and future funding operations.

 

 

 

The harbor commission also recommended the city move forward with water, sewage and electrical upgrades and repaving the work area at the Sawyer dock, where the Sarter tugs are moored.  A proposal to improve electrical and mooring facilities at the south side dock near Grant Park also recommended for consideration.

 

(Photo courtesy Sturgeon Bay Parks and Recreation Dept)

Church club celebrates 150th anniversary

The Rosary Society at St. Mary Catholic Church in Algoma has blown past Moses, but it might be a while before they catch Methuselah. The organization celebrated its 150th anniversary on February 23rd, which included a visit from Bishop David Ricken. President Judy Ortleib says the Bishop usually makes an appearance for the sacrament of confirmation every two years, so it was gratifying for him to be on hand. Ortlieb says being a member of the Rosary Society deepens a person’s Catholic faith and creates unbreakable bonds with other parishioners. 

 


The Rosary Society and the Knights of Columbus are the most active organizations within the St. Mary community. 

 

Pantries meet needs with SNAP eligibility changes

Food pantries in Door and Kewaunee counties are meeting the needs of clients even after tighter eligibility requirements for food stamps.  The federal government changed work requirements in December that will prevent certain work-eligible adults without dependents from receiving SNAP assistance.  Kewaunee County Food Pantry President Ken Marquardt says their operation is well-stocked and able to meet client's needs right now.  Although he believes the eligibility changes could impact some people more than others.

 

 

 

The Kewaunee County Food Pantry also has connections with Feeding America to buy food at reduced prices as needed.  “Feed and Clothe My People” of Sturgeon Bay, on the other hand, is community dependent.  Pantry volunteer Nancy Skadden says even as situations change, her operation will be there for anyone in need.

 

 

 

The SNAP eligibility changes are expected to impact 700,000 adults nationwide when they go into effect on April 1st.

Coronavirus tests at DCMC come back negative

The Door County Medical Center has conducted its first tests for infection from the coronavirus, with the results coming back negative. Multiple individuals complaining of respiratory illness were treated at the Sturgeon Bay campus’s outpatient facilities. As a precautionary measure, the hospital, along with partners at the Door County Public Health Department and the State Department of Health, decided to test for COVID-19. The hospital is engaging the public to allay any fears that exist. That will include a press conference on Monday afternoon focusing on how local and state agencies are cooperating to tackle the threat. Best practices will be reiterated, including proper handwashing techniques. 

 

 

----------------

Press release issued by DCMC March 6, 2020

Door County Medical Center (DCMC) Sturgeon Bay campus recently treated outpatient individuals for a respiratory condition who subsequently tested negative for the Coronavirus. Due to concerns expressed among our community members and partners, and as the leader in the health and wellbeing of our residents, DCMC feels it is important to share the following information:

 

DCMC is working very closely with Door County Public Health and the State Department of Health to stay at the forefront of the latest developments with Coronavirus. DCMC has a robust infection control process and team, and stands ready to treat members of our community in the event someone becomes seriously ill with the Coronavirus. DCMC will continue to work with federal, state, and county health agencies to ensure an appropriate coordinated response that meets the needs of the patients we serve and protects the safety of all patients, staff, and community members. All DCMC clinicians and staff members are trained in infection control processes and will continuously work to ensure a safe patient care environment.

 

Currently the best advice is to continue to wash your hands with soap and water, and cover your cough should you have one. Individuals at greater risk due to underlying illness or immunocompromised status should consult with their healthcare provider if they have additional questions. DCMC recommends that if you are experiencing symptoms of cough, fever or body aches that are mild, please stay home, rest and maintain good fluid intake. This will help avoid potential further spread of viruses. If your symptoms are more severe, please call ahead to your Clinician’s office.

Door County solar energy initiative looks mostly sunny

An organized effort to incentivize a solar energy buy-in could launch as early as later this month in Door County.   The goal is to install solar panels on a significant number of homes and businesses to lower costs and provide more substantial energy savings overall.  Shirley Wiese-Young started an initiative to make the Sturgeon Bay downtown a carbon-neutral, fossil-free community last year with her renovation of the old Advocate building into apartments and an art gallery. Jesse Michalski of Eland Electric in Green Bay says the installation of those rooftop solar panels will start when there are more projects in Door County, leading to lower installation costs.  He shares the most prominent misconception people have about solar energy in this area.

 

 

Michalski is planning to host informational seminars in Door County in the coming months to educate consumers on the process and cost benefits associated with solar panels.  

 

Grier releasing new album

Local blues musician Cathy Grier of Sturgeon Bay is releasing a new album this spring.  The new album called “I’m all burn” is in the final stages of production with an expected release in May.  Grier, who moved to Door County in 2016 from New York City, has played in huge venues around the world, including living in Key West, Florida, and Paris, France.  She shares the details about the musical collaboration behind her new 16-track album.

 


Grier adds that the title “I’m all burn” is from a collaborated song she did with Michael McKinnon and Matt Spodl during the “Love on Holiday” sessions performed last year in Sturgeon Bay.  She notes the music on the new album is in the blues grooves genre, which is where her heart lies. 

 

(photo courtesy of Ty Helbach from Summerfest Performance) 

 

Average length of vehicle loans creeping up

As the life expectancy of a vehicle on the road is getting longer, local car dealers are seeing consumers being willing to extend their financing terms to lower their monthly payments. The average monthly car payment was $554 for a new vehicle and $391 for used cars in 2019, according to creditkarma.com. Danielle Harju, finance manager at Jorns Chevrolet in Kewaunee, says the 60-month finance program is the most common at the dealership.

 

 

Harju says lower interest rates are making it more attractive for buyers to finance their vehicles longer as well. Longer financing terms typically have higher interest rates. Harju says just because buyers qualify for long loans does not mean they should take them because the shorter the length the quicker the equity buildup in your car.    

Bird City celebration planned in Algoma

It doesn’t matter if you are an avid birdwatcher or a beginner, the Bird City Algoma Committee is planning the annual International Migratory Bird Day that is coming in April.  The annual event is at the Algoma Youth Club, with the theme being “Birds Connect Our World.”  Sue Hepp of Bird City Algoma says the day has activities for all ages.

 

 

Submitted bird photos will be on display during the day as well.  The International Migratory Bird Day celebration will start at 9 am on Saturday, April 18, and will include live birds from the Open Door Sanctuary.   Algoma received the Bird City USA distinction in 2012.

 

Last bites for ice anglers

Ice anglers in the Door Peninsula are running out of time to make that last big catch of the season. Temperatures have been in the 40s for much of the week with an expected high of almost fifty degrees coming on Sunday. Couple that with the United States Coast Guard announcing it would be conducting icebreaking missions beginning on Monday, fishing guides are beginning to call it a season. JJ Malvitz from JJ’s Guide Service says it took a while to get good ice to fish on, but it still ended up being a great year.

At one point, Malvitz spent 50 straight days taking groups out to ice fish, which included people from about 15 different states. He says that shows the tremendous economic impact ice fishing has on Door County.

New IMC providing tremendous space

Gibraltar Secondary Principal Gereon Methner has heard only good things about its new library and instructional media center since officially opening last month. The school district showed off the new space at a February 12th open house as a way to thank residents for supporting its $4.5 million referenda. Methner says it was important for the community to see what their support turned into over the last several months.

Gibraltar could be considered trendsetters in the county when it comes to school improvements. Sturgeon Bay High School hosted an open house earlier this week to discuss the changes they would like to make as a part of a proposed $16.84 million referendum. Southern Door will host a groundbreaking event for its upcoming $6.27 million facilities upgrade on March 16th while Sevastopol will begin its own $25-plus million project later this year.

Cow tracking growing

None of his 300 cows have a FitBit account, but Luxemburg’s Josh Salentine checks on his herd just the same. According to DairyBusiness.com, approximately 10 percent of farmers nationwide use fitness trackers to help keep track of their cows’ health. The technology was introduced at Salentine Homestead Dairy two months ago to help keep closer tabs on its growing herd. Salentine’s routine now includes a morning check of the tracker’s app to see if a cow’s rumination was off or was not moving enough over the last 24 hours. He says it has been a handy tool.

Hoard’s Dairyman, an agriculture publication, also credits tracking devices with improving cow longevity and comfort while decreasing the amount of labor and medication needed to treat the animals. If you want to compare step totals with the cows, Salentine Homestead Dairy is this year’s Kewaunee County Breakfast on the Farm host on Father’s Day.

 

Picture courtesy of Salentine Homestead Dairy

Local cheese tops world championships

Some of the best cheese in the world is made on the Door Peninsula and now four cheesemakers have the hardware to prove it. Cheesemakers from Rosewood Dairy in Algoma, Door Artisan Cheese in Egg Harbor, Ponderosa Dairy Products in Kewaunee, and Agropur in Luxemburg won a combined six medals across 132 different categories during this week’s World Championship Cheese Contest held in Madison. Two of the six medals were for “Best in Class,” including Roger Krohn’s provolone entry for Agropur-Luxemburg. Krohn won his class by just five-hundredths of a point. Speaking after he won a Blue Ribbon at last year’s State Fair for his mozzarella, he said it comes down to the details.

A Swiss cheesemaker won the contest’s Best of Show honors out of thousands of entries. 

 

Pictured L-R: Agropur's Roger Krohn and Pat Doell

 

AWARD WINNERS

6. TRADITIONAL WAXED CHEDDAR, MILD TO MEDIUM

Renard's Rosewood Dairy Team

Renard's Rosewood Dairy, Inc.

Algoma, WI

United States

97.05

Second Award

Traditional Red Wax Mild Cheddar Daisy

 

15. MOZZARELLA

Pat Doell

Agropur

Luxemburg, WI

United States

99.40

Second Award

Low Moisture Mozzarella Cheese, Whole Milk

 

19. PROVOLONE, MILD

Roger Krohn

Agropur

Luxemburg, WI

United States

99.05

Best of Class

Provolone Cheese 

 

Pat Doell

Agropur

Luxemburg, WI

United States

98.90

Third Award

Provolone Cheese

 

27. ASIAGO, FRESH 

Danny McCrary Reed

Door Artisan Cheese Company

Egg Harbor, Wi

United States

99.55

Best of Class

Crema Pressato Dolce Asiago

 

121. NATURAL SNACK CHEESE, CHEESE CURDS 

Products Team

Ponderosa Dairy Products

Kewaunee, WI

United States

99.65

Third Award

Farmstead Curds

Apartment fire still under investigation

The cause of the Saturday night apartment complex fire in Sturgeon Bay is still undetermined.  Sturgeon Bay Fire Department Chief Tim Dietman says all residents of the Alabama Place Apartments, including a rescued disabled man,  are all displaced indefinitely.  Six units have extensive smoke damage, while the other two apartments suffered direct fire impact.  Dietman says the investigation into the cause and origin of the blaze continues.

 

 

Dietman added that the Sturgeon Bay Fire Department, the apartment owner, and insurance fire investigator met on Wednesday to review the premises.  The fire required 3,000 gallons of water to extinguish, and the Sturgeon Bay Fire Department was on the scene for about three hours.

 

Campground wins over housing plan in Kewaunee County

The Kewaunee County Finance and Public Property committee Thursday morning recommended a campground development over a multi-family housing project for the sale of 30 acres of land in the Town of Pierce.  Chair Virginia Haske says the recommendation will now go the county board for final approval later this month.  The accepted proposal by Gilles was $60,000 compared to the $30,000 submitted by Ebert Enterprises.   Haske added that the campground proposal was in line with the previous history of the parcel located on 9th Road south of Algoma near the lakeshore.   The property was foreclosed on over three years ago and had been sitting vacant since.   You can find the details of the two submitted proposals below.  

 

 

Crossroads celebrating Aldo Leopold on Saturday

In celebration of Aldo Leopold Day, Crossroads at Big Creek in Sturgeon Bay is hosting a memorable day of activities this Saturday.  Leopold, Wisconsin’s premier ecologist, was a professor at the University of Wisconsin and is considered the “Father of Environmental Ethics”.  Crossroads will be hosting a continental breakfast at eight in the morning while volunteer readers present short passages from Leopold’s book “A Sand County Almanac.”  Then an inspirational film about Leopold will be screened in the lecture hall. Crossroads Director Coggin Heeringa says the movie and book have inspired many people.

 

 

Later in the day, the Aldo Leopold Day Hike will be offered at 4 pm at the Ida Bay Preserve at the entrance between Canal and Cove Road. 

 

Egg Harbor scores $1-million for Church Street project

The Village of Egg Harbor will be able to take on a huge road improvement project that benefits drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians.  The village received a $1-million Multimodal Local Supplement grant from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation for improvements on Church Street.  That was the largest grant among four Door County projects.  Ryan Heise, the Village of Egg Harbor Administrator, says the grant is welcome news for residents and visitors alike.  He says the village would have been hard-pressed to take on the improvements on its own.

The Village of Egg Harbor will be providing matching funds of $1.6-million for the Church Street project.

Grant helping businesses expand despite overseas obstacles

Door County's Ad Hoc Sister City Advisory Group says concerns over COVID-19 and its' recent impact on the stock market should not deter business owners from expanding into China.  Collaborative Access Market grants are making it easier for local companies looking to establish business ties with the county's sister city of Jingdezhen, China.  Advisory group member Laura Vlies Wotachek says it's possible for firms to make connections without going overseas.  She also says the grant program continues to draw interest.

 

 

Some trade missions from Door County to Jingdezhen had been planned for 2020, however, those have been postponed until further notice.

Older softeners adding to water concerns

Even clean water from your home could be adding to the current woes in area lakes and streams. According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, older models of water softeners are beginning to be removed from homes because they use more salt, which means an increase in chloride production. University of Minnesota researchers point to wastewater treatment plants and residential septic systems for being the third and fifth biggest culprit of dumping chloride into waterways, which can be detrimental to fish and other aquatic life. Jim Simonar of Lemens WaterCare in Luxemburg says while newer technologies may not be in everybody’s budget, water treatment professionals can make adjustments to make your current system work better.

Simonar says homeowners can expect their water softeners to last 20 to 25 years depending on their usage.  

Road closures return to Gibraltar Monday

Visitors to the Northern Door YMCA and Gibraltar Area Schools will face some extra obstacles beginning on Monday. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation announced this week that road crews would be returning to finish their work on State Highway 42 in Fish Creek on March 9th. Until Memorial Day, the highway will be closed from Windmill Lane to the YMCA pedestrian crossing and from County F to north of Gibraltar Road. Mark Kantola from the DOT says motorists will have to pay close attention to the detours.

Started last fall, the State Highway 42 project through the town of Gibraltar is expected to be finished by the Fourth of July weekend.

 

 

Sturgeon Bay's World War II contributions highlighted

Being well over 1,000 miles away from any battlefronts did not keep Sturgeon Bay away from having a major impact on World War II. The Door County Maritime Museum presents “Built for Battle: Sturgeon Bay Ships in World War II” this Saturday at the Southern Door Auditorium. The multimedia presentation will cover how Sturgeon Bay ship makers produced hundreds of vessels to support the war effort, many of which never returned. DCMM Deputy Director Sam Perlman says in the 75 years since World War II ended, many of the stories being featured on Saturday have never been told before.

The presentation is part of the Door County Medical Center Maritime Speakers Series and serves as a companion to the exhibit currently on display in Sturgeon Bay. The presentation, which will also feature the Southern Door High School choir singing selections from the Northern Sky Theater musical “Loose Lips Sink Ships,” begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are still available.

 

Picture courtesy of the Door County Maritime Museum

Road paved for intersection improvements on Highway 42/57

The Sturgeon Bay Common Council entered into an agreement with the state of Wisconsin’s Department of Transportation during Tuesday’s meeting regarding intersection improvements on State Highway 42/57. The proposed intersection improvements will be implemented at the Ashland Avenue, Neenah Avenue, and Clay Banks Road intersections. City Engineer Chad Shefchik says the agreement does not guarantee the work will be completed as scheduled in 2023. The city is still able to back out but it cannot walk away without bearing the costs of any planning work done by the state.

 


Most of the discussion in Tuesday’s meeting centered on the Neenah Avenue intersection.

 

Obesity rate hovers near record high

Obesity among American adults has ballooned to 42.4 percent according to a survey released last week by the Centers for Disease Control. The data covers two years (2017 and 2018). Nurse Katie Van Laanen, from the Door County Health Department, says the high prevalence of obesity is a direct contributor to a host of health problems, some of which can end up life threatening.

 


By comparison, in 1999-2000, the CDC found about 30 percent of Americans were classified as obese. Van Laanen says everyone’s situation is unique, and a personal physician should be involved with crafting a weight loss plan.

 

Cleaning supply sales increase with coronavirus spread

Reports of more COVID-19 cases may have some Door County residents stocking up on cleaning supplies.  Sales of disinfectants were up over the weekend at some area stores.  Jon Calhoun, General Manager at Tadych's Econofoods in Sturgeon Bay says in addition to cleaning agents it appears some shoppers were stocking their pantries with other items.

 

 

 

Calhoun adds that there are no signs right now that his store will run short of cleaning supplies.

Door County elected positions get pay increases

Door County's treasurer, clerk and register of deeds will all be getting a pay raise after election day.  The county approved a plan to increase salaries for those positions between 2021 and 2024.  Door County Administrator Ken Pabich says the decision to upgrade the pay scale was designed partly with the upcoming elections in mind.

[PABICH]

Under the revisions, the salaries for the Door County Clerk and Register of Deeds would go from the current $65,339 annually to $72,799 by 2024.  The Door County Treasurer currently earns $65,399 and will increase to $70,025 by 2024.

Dating violence from a teen's perspective

Dating violence does not discriminate when it comes to age, and some Algoma High School students want to help their classmates be prepared to face it.  Members of Today's Teens at the high school and the Violence Intervention Project will hold an assembly to address teen dating violence.  The featured speaker will be Buck Blodgett of Love>Hate who'll share his experience as a father whose daughter was murdered by a former boyfriend.  Violence Intervention Project organizer Kim, whose last name is being withheld as a matter of the group's security policy, says having teens take the lead on dating violence can carry more credibility with their peers.

 

 

 

Algoma's Teen Dating Violence Assembly will be held at 8:00 AM on March 12th at the high school on Division Street.

Transit grants advance S. Neenah Avenue project

Sturgeon Bay taxpayers are getting a break on a planned renovation of S. Neenah Street.  The city received a $200,000 grant through the Wisconsin Department of Transportation's Multimodal Local Supplement program.  Sturgeon Bay City Administrator Josh VanLieshout says the grant money will allow the city to get the project done at one time rather than doing the work in separate phases.

 

 

 

The S. Neenah Street project's total cost is estimated at nearly $403-thousand dollars.
The Sturgeon Bay grant is among  $1.79-million dollars for four projects in Door County.  The DOT also awarded nearly $170,000 in transit grants for two Kewaunee County projects.

 

 

Area film makes world premiere

A film shot in Kewaunee went international over the weekend. It didn’t quite make it to Bollywood, but Shadows got close, showing in nearby Sri Lanka. Producer, director, and lead actress Melonie Gartner says the movie has been active on the short film circuit. That includes the world premiere which occurred Valentine’s weekend at the Door County Short Film Festival. Gartner says the Sister Bay debut was different from anything she has ever been a part of as a filmmaker.

 


Shadows will screen during the Wildwood Film Festival in Appleton on Saturday, March 14th. 

 

Sturgeon Bay beneficiary of historically low interest rates

A representative from Baird presented at Tuesday night’s Sturgeon Bay Common Council meeting with good news for the city’s bottom line. Two refunding bonds had bids submitted at historically low rates. A $1,235,000 taxable bond had a low bid from BOK of Dallas, Texas submitted at 1.547 percent. A nontaxable general obligation bond with principal of $2,180,000 saw a low bid of 1.907 percent. Bradley Viegut said that people are fleeing to safety. Before the emergency rate cut by the Federal Reserve Tuesday, the yield curve was inverted with 30-year treasury rates below the Fed Funds target rate.

 


The city will save roughly a quarter-million dollars in interest payments compared to what was estimated. The council also voted to end the Sturgeon Bay Economic Development Revolving Loan Program. They are folding the funds into a joint program with the county. The county will be responsible for the administration of the funds, but they cannot be comingled because the federal funds available to the county are subject to a different tax treatment than those available to Sturgeon Bay. The goal is to apply Sturgeon Bay’s portion to the development at the former west side school.

 

UPDATE: YMCA surpasses goal for Day of Giving

The Door County YMCA hoped for a little help to aid people of limited means who need what the Y has to offer. Y members and people in the community exceeded those expectations.   The first “YMCA Day of Giving” raised over $13,000 to help those who have financial limitations and want to be Y members.  Alyssa Dantoin, the YMCA's Annual Campaign Director, says the entire community benefits from improving some people's access to the organizations' programs.

 

 

The Door County YMCA's Day of Giving was part of a larger $525,000 operational capital campaign. 

 (Photo courtesy of Alyssa Dantoin Door County YMCA)

Tassoul credited with heroics during Saturday Fire

A man's life was saved during a fire on Saturday thanks to the efforts of a Sturgeon Bay Police officer.

 

According to a post by the Sturgeon Bay Police Department, emergency personnel responded to an apartment fire at 903 Alabama Place with heavy smoke and flames billowing out of the building. Upon reports of a disabled man being still inside the building, Sgt. Markus Tassoul of the Sturgeon Bay Police Department went into the building twice to try to locate the man despite the conditions and originally having the wrong apartment number. It was the second try that Tassoul was able to find the man and bring him to safety.

 

No other information about the fire has been released since the Saturday night blaze occurred. Phone calls to the Sturgeon Bay Fire Department have gone unreturned.

 

 

Leave the investing to professionals

A Sturgeon Bay investment associate recommends a steady long-term plan and working with a professional when it comes to putting money into the stock market.  The volatility of the stock market the past two weeks has nervous investors wondering where to turn.  Casey St. Henry of Thrivent Financial in Sturgeon Bay says it is better to consult with an investment professional, rather than doing-it-your-self.

 

 

St. Henry adds that a financial advisor can also help you stay on track with your priorities.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell nearly 800 points on Tuesday to 25,913.68.  

Education the key to making homes more energy-efficient

A Door County award-winning architect that specializes in environmentally responsible and energy-efficient design is promoting the need for more training in the area.   Virge Temme, a leader in Green design and LEED-certified projects in Northeastern Wisconsin, says the focus should be to eliminate the dependence on coal and other fossil fuels.

 

 

Buildings contribute over 40 percent of the carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and of that, 60 percent are homes.  Temme recommends to her clients, architects, and builders to take the necessary training on how to design and build super energy-efficient homes.  Online training is possible while it can also be completed within five business days in-person. 

Sturgeon Bay goes interactive for referendum informational session

The Sturgeon Bay School District is offering a special referendum information session on Wednesday evening.  The new interactive assembly differs from past informational meetings the school district has held.  School Superintendent Dan Tjernagel explains how it will work.

 

 

The Sturgeon Bay School District approved a $16.84 million referendum for the April ballot that will address safety and security, along with capital maintenance throughout the District. The informational session will be from 6 pm until 7 pm on Wednesday at the main lobby area outside the High School office. 

Flu bug not challenging church traditions

Sickness may be keeping people home from churches in Door and Kewaunee Counties, but not changing much else once they get there. The Centers for Disease Control estimates over 13 million people have suffered from flu this year, with thousands being hospitalized because of it. That has caused churches across the country to change practices during their services, like greeting one another and communion. Father Daniel Schuster of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Luxemburg and Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Casco says their traditions have allowed them to keep doing what they do without making a big deal of it.

Schuster says the parishes’ schools have been in contact with parents if other students are forced to stay home due to a positive influenza test. On Tuesday afternoon the Archdiocese of Chicago announced measures to limit contact during its services due to the coronavirus. Until further notice, there will be no physical contact during the sign of peace and the Lord's Prayer, baptismal fonts will be turned off, and parishioners will not be allowed to drink from the cup.

Door County runs reconnaissance

Over 2,500 veterans call Door County home, and Veterans Service Officer Beth Wartella wants to make sure they are all accounted for moving forward. Dubbed Delta Company, the Door County Veterans Service Office will be hosting listening sessions across the county over the next two-plus months to make sure those who wore the uniform, and their families, know about local, state, and federal resources meant for them. Wartella says Door County faces challenges other counties do not encounter.

The Door County Veterans Service Office will host sessions in Sturgeon Bay, Jacksonport, Liberty Grove, and Brussels between March 19th and May 7th. 

 

ALL SESSIONS BEGIN AT 6:30 P.M.

March 19th at Sturgeon Bay ADRC

April 9th at Jacksonport Town Hall

April 23rd at Liberty Grove Town Hall

May 7th at Brussels Town Hall

 

Call the Door County Veterans Service Office at 920-746-2225 for more information

Farm Bureau grows agriculture's future voice

Over 300 members strong, the Kewaunee County Farm Bureau hopes to keep the agriculture industry healthy in the area. According to a 2014 Extension UW-Madison study, agriculture accounts for over 2,000 jobs and $424 million in economic activity in the county. The Kewaunee County Farm Bureau promotes young people staying in the industry by providing support for their attendance at Future Farmers of America and Wisconsin Farm Bureau events as well as sponsoring Rural Safety Day. Secretary Edith Lauscher says they do it all with one goal in mind.

The Kewaunee County Farm Bureau is preparing for its spring banquet in April as well as accepting applications for its annual distribution of the Glenway Brietlow and Elmer Ullmann Memorial Scholarship. The two $500 scholarships are awarded to graduating high school seniors heading to college to study agriculture.

Samsung, Washington Island School team up

The work done by Washington Island students has opened the door for representatives from a global technology company to come on campus later this year. Last year’s exploration of possible wastewater solutions for the island earned the school a $20,000 technology grant from Samsung as a part of their Solve for Tomorrow Contest. The school came in the top five in the state this year as they searched for ideas to eradicate or lessen the impact of Lyme’s disease. Even without the win, representatives from Samsung will come to the island to work with staff on how to use technology better. Principal Michelle Kanipes credits teacher Miranda Dahlke for her role in setting up the visit for the state’s smallest school district.

Over the past year, Dahlke has been flown out to New York City and Silicon Valley for conferences on how to use technology in the classroom better. Kanipes says a date for the training has not yet been set.

Algoma administrator getting settled in new position

With one month under his belt as the City of Algoma administrator, Jared Heyn is getting comfortable in his new duties.  Heyn, a De Pere native, graduated from St. Norbert College and received a master’s degree in Public Administration from Northern Illinois University.  In 2015, Heyn moved back to the Green Bay area and worked as the assistant to the administrator for the Village of Bellevue before accepting his new position as the Algoma city administrator.  He shares the major challenges a smaller community like Algoma has to face in the future. [HEYN]   Heyn will be joining Police Chief Randy Remiker for the monthly “Coffee with the Chief” coming up on Tuesday, March 17 at 9 am at Cafe Tlazo.    

Trusting your child is not about love -- Mental Health Minute

Sturgeon Bay Psychologist Dr. Dennis White says the question, “Don’t you trust me?” is one a parent needs to answer directly to prevent grief and manipulation by their child.  He says you should not trust your teenager when it comes to situations like staying at someone else’s house without confirming that an adult will be present.

 

 

Dr. White says it is better to tell your child straight-out that you do not trust them in some circumstances.  Once your teenager knows that you have set the ground rules, they will learn to accept and anticipate that you will be checking on them.  You can listen to Dr. White’s entire Mental Health Minute below.

 

 

 

Peninsula Symphonic Band looking for more musicians

The Peninsula Symphonic band is in the recruitment mode as it prepares for the 30th Anniversary season.  The all-volunteer organization is seeking additional musicians despite having about 50 members who participate.  Director Jason Palmer says there are no auditions and hopes are to find a few more clarinetists to complement the band.  He shares details about the first performance of the season, which is on May 18 in Sturgeon Bay.

 

 
The Peninsula Symphonic Band will begin weekly rehearsals on Monday evenings starting on March 30 in the Sturgeon Bay High School Band Room.   Interested parties can show up then at 7:15 pm or find more information on the Peninsula Symphonic Band below.

 

 

https://peninsulasymphonicband.org/

 

  

 

Face masks in short supply

Residents in Door and Kewaunee counties are having the same issues getting face masks to avert the possibility of contract COVID-19 or other respiratory illnesses.  They're in short supply.  Jake Blazkovec, who owns the Bay Hometown Pharmacy in Sturgeon Bay, says suppliers cannot keep up with demand.  He adds that some customers are looking for other options for their peace of mind.

 

 

Such prevention efforts, however, may not be that effective.  Sue Powers, with the Door County Public Health Department, says there are simpler ways to stop the spread of all respiratory illnesses.

 

 

Powers also recommends frequent hand washing with soap and water instead of relying only on hand sanitizers, which she says are not as effective as soap and warm water.

Intersections get facelift in proposed project

Significant road construction could be on the docket for 2023 if the city of Sturgeon Bay approves a proposed project by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation on Tuesday.  Over $250,000 would go into the project that would resurface Highway 42/57 while also improving the Ashland Avenue, Neenah Avenue, and Clay Banks Road intersections. The work would require the city to acquire the necessary land needed to make the changes, such as adding right turn lanes for Clay Banks Road. The city would also be responsible for relocating a light pole near Ashland Avenue to make way for that portion of the project. The Sturgeon Bay Common Council could vote to approve, amend, or turn down the agreement when it meets Tuesday at 7 p.m. at city hall. The council will also weigh in on appointments to the newly established Sturgeon Bay-Door County Revolving Loan Fund Committee.

Peninsula Preschool plays to kids' strengths

Kids love to play, and Peninsula Preschool in Ephraim makes sure they take more from it than just a cool story to tell mom and dad. Established in 1983, Peninsula Preschool uses play as a way to introduce academic concepts. This ranges from playing with blocks to identify shapes and colors to performing music to learn how to think and imagine creatively. Director Jill Harkaway says she brings a lot of different philosophies into the classroom for the benefit of their three and four-year-old students.

Four-year-old students get to explore the world outside their classroom walls with visits to The Ridges Sanctuary once a week and the Peninsula School of Art. Harkaway credits a Door County baby boom and the support of generous donors for keeping their classrooms full and busy. Enrollment for the 2020-2021 school year begins in May.

Stuck ready to run

State Representative Amanda Stuck is heading into her final days as a part of the Wisconsin Legislature as her attention begins to turn more to a higher office. The Appleton-area Democrat announced her campaign to run against current U.S. Representative Mike Gallagher for Wisconsin’s Eighth District. She has balanced her Wisconsin Legislative duties with campaigning since then, including attending events in Door and Kewaunee counties. She says there are many issues that have become very important to the district that were not even discussed when she worked in the office of former U.S. Representative Steve Kagen close to 10 years ago.

Stuck is proud of the progress being made on issues like the farming crisis and groundwater contamination in recent weeks as the Wisconsin Legislature begins to wrap up its current session.

Fire victim identified

The identification of a 71-year old Kewaunee man killed in a Friday fire concluded what was a busy weekend for the Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department. Firefighters from three departments responded to the fully engulfed home in the town of Franklin just after 1 a.m. Friday. After the fire was put out, fire investigators discovered the body of Stephen Voelker just after 11:30 a.m.  Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski says there is still more work to be done.

Friday afternoon, deputies were involved in the search for 37-year-old Shamus Kimball of Green Bay, who ran from authorities during a traffic stop. Kimball was found around midnight and will now face additional charges after giving deputies false information during the traffic stop.

 

FROM SHERIFF MATT JOSKI

It is said that the true character of a person is not visible until they are tested through a challenging experience. I suppose the same can be said for a community as you really don’t appreciate the people and support that is there just under the surface until it is called upon.

             This past Friday, we had two incidents of very different natures which brought forth the quality of our community here in Kewaunee County. The first was a tragic house fire in which a resident of our county lost their life. Just as in all calls for service, our law enforcement officers, along with our fire services responded to the call in an attempt to mitigate the loss of life or the damage of property. We take these men and women for granted too often assuming they will be there when the call for help goes out, but it is when those from outside our community are witness to their actions that we are made aware of the true quality of these responders. In this case the family made a special effort to thank those who responded and shared how impressed they were with how everyone worked together so seamlessly in a common goal to not only extinguish the fire, but more importantly the care in which those at the scene showed in the recovery of their loved one’s remains. Although they don’t ask for it, those men and women in bunker gear have our deepest respect and gratitude. In addition to those agencies, there was also the support of our community.

               The majority of these men and women were out in the frigid temperatures through the night battling the fire, and it was almost magical how warm food and drink made its way to them through those early morning hours just as it has appeared at so many incident scenes throughout the years, and throughout the county. That’s just how it works here in Kewaunee County.

              Later that same day, one of my Deputies was conducting what should have been just another traffic stop in a continued effort to keep our roads safe. On this traffic stop however, the passenger of the vehicle who it would be discovered was wanted by the Department of Corrections, fled the vehicle, initiating a multi- agency search through the fields, woods, and even partially frozen rivers. The extent to which our law enforcement officers from various agencies came to together to work as one is something I am used to seeing on a daily basis, but during incidents such as this, it really stands out. What was just as amazing was the level to which our community assisted us. Once we made the residents of the immediate area aware of what was happening, they sprung into action keeping a watchful eye out for the suspect, and eventually it was information from the community which led to the apprehension of the individual. This person, who was from a much larger community with a great deal more resources, most likely assumed he would not be caught out here. I have no doubt this person is continuing to question how he wound up in our little jail. Well, that’s just how it works here in Kewaunee County.

             In both of these incidents, the work of our Emergency Responders made the difference, but our work would have been made much more difficult without the support and direct interaction of our community. Thank you!

 

 

Teens to get local government apprenticeships

Practical job skills and insights into local government will be open to Door County high school students.  County supervisors approved spending $24,000 for the creation of the AhnapeeYouth Apprenticeship Program, which would be open to five students at a time.  Door County Administrator Ken Pabich says the goals of the program are aimed at giving youths a little direction for their career paths.

 

 

 

The apprenticeships would include positions in the Door County Soil and Water Conservation Department, the Facilities and Parks Department and the Human Services Department.

Eliminating confusion about legal tobacco sales

The age limit of 21 or older for tobacco sales nationwide is creating some confusion in Door and Kewaunee counties. That's because the legal age in Wisconsin remains 18 pending a change by the state legislature.  So tobacco opponents are working to help local store owners and their employees take a consistent stand on tobacco sales.  Cath Tease with re:Think-The Lakeshore Tobacco Prevention Network says when in doubt card customers and go with the federal standards.

 

 

 

The legal age to buy tobacco and vaping products went up to 21 at the beginning of 2020.  Wisconsin and 31 other states are among those who have yet to change the legal age from 18.

Sturgeon Bay go Bragh

You don’t have to track down the end of a rainbow to find a pot of gold on March 14th, just head to Sturgeon Bay. The annual St. Patrick’s Day parade steps off at 11 AM, traversing from the west waterfront across the canal to the Third Avenue business district. Carly Sarkis, from Destination Sturgeon Bay, says there will be plenty of entertainment options that last into the evening around town.

 


In addition to Stone Harbor, the Door County Folk Alliance will be performing at the Miller Art Museum. Kissing a blarney stone is optional, but not discouraged.

 

Photo courtesy of Destination Sturgeon Bay.

 

City limit signs could promote Sister City relationship

City limit signs around Sturgeon Bay could tout Door County's Sister City relationship with Jingdezhen, China.  The Ad Hoc Sister City Advisory Group is looking into the specifics of changing those signs that greet motorists coming into Sturgeon Bay.  Sister city group member Grant Thomas says they're looking to the state for more specific details.

 

 

 

Thomas says there's already overwhelming support within the Ad Hoc Sister City Advisory Group to have the signs put up once all questions and specific details are spelled out.

 

(Photo courtesy of Brady DeGroot, Pinterest)

Tourism options as weather patterns change

 Tourism promoters in Door and Kewaunee counties have an eye on the future as weather patterns show signs of change.  The National Weather Service is switching its database used to determine weather trends, which will cover forecasting records from 1991 until the end of 2020. That information is already showing wetter conditions statewide, less early winter weather, and warmer night-time temperatures.   Weather patterns are among the areas addressed as tourism promoters in Door and Kewaunee counties look to future marketing.  Jon Jarosh, Communications Director for Destination Door County, says climactic changes are already showing some benefits for local tourism.

 

 

 

 Kay Smith, Executive Director of the Algoma Chamber of Commerce, says her group started promoting other options to draw visitors in addition to charter fishing and Crescent Beach.

 

 

 

The National Weather Service also says the winter season is starting off slightly warmer, according to records going back nearly 30-years.  Over that time, temperatures in December have increased an average of two degrees.

Kewaunee County Highway Department supplies, and budget, in good shape

Last week, the Door County Highway Department requested $300,000 from the general fund to help patch a hole in the budget related to 2019 snow removal expenses. In Kewaunee County, the fiscal situation is not as dire, says Chairman Todd Every.

 


Every says salt supplies are also in good shape for the end of February, and he does not expect shortages at any point this season.

 

Crossroads Trail Run provides unique reward to finishers

Registration is open for the 2020 Crossroads Trail Run. The event rings in summer, beginning at 8 AM on June 20th. There are three different distances for participants;  two, five, or 10 kilometers. Crossroads board member Gretchen Schmelzer says the long course allows runners, and walkers, to cover all of the major scenic areas located within the preserve. For those who finish, a unique reward is offered.

 


Area artists have helped design the t-shirt for this year’s event, and vendors will be on hand to serve cherries and ice cream after the race. Register here.

 

*Photo courtesy of Crossroads web site.

Area library accepting donations again

Door County proved too generous early this year, with donations pouring into the Sturgeon Bay Public Library. For February, books from the public were refused or directed to one of the other branches in the county. Library Assistant Morgan Mann says they were able to clear the backlog through a used book sale section in the basement and more frequent weekend sales. The next Shop the Shelves Friends Book Sale is Saturday, March 14th.

 


The sale runs from 10 AM to 1 PM. 

 

It's not easy being green

The recycling market is looking more like trash than treasure lately, and those in the industry see no end in sight to the hard times. Advanced Disposal General Manager Steven Estes says China is the problem, and it has nothing to do with tariffs.

 

 

Estes also points to the low price of oil which reduces the value of recycled plastic. Estes admits there are municipalities looking at ending their recycling programs across the country, but he doesn’t expect that locally. 

Proposals in for Pierce property

A multi-family residential development and a campground are two proposals that will be discussed by Kewaunee County leaders in the coming months. Kewaunee County received the two ideas for the 30-acre parcel in the town of Pierce after requesting proposals in January. The land was a campground before the county received the land about three years ago. The county held onto the land just in case future needs warrant it. Kewaunee County Administrator Scott Feldt says the proposals are now up for review.

 

 

 

Feldt says the two proposals will likely be on the agenda for the next meeting of the county’s Finance Committee.

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