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News Archives for 2020-06

Finance Committee approves Industrial Park vacant lot sale

The Sturgeon Bay Finance/Purchasing & Building Committee took no action Tuesday on a letter of intent to purchase west waterfront property but did approve the consideration for a sale of a city lot in the Industrial Park.  Before a closed session, the committee approved an offer to purchase by Sturgeon Bay Cold Storage for a vacant parcel.  The company hopes to start construction of a 12,000 square foot addition to the manufacturing facility.  Committee Chair Helen Bacon says the land purchase, which will include some investment credit incentives, was facilitated with help from the Door County Economic Development Corporation.



The final purchase price for the city lot will be $10,000.  The construction project by Sturgeon Bay Cold Storage is expected to cost over $1.2 million and provide added production, storage, office space, and increased employment opportunities. 

Kewaunee Art Walk flying high

Downtown Kewaunee will be showcasing special artwork banners along the streets starting this Wednesday.  The annual Kewaunee Art Walk will feature eight local artist’s creative and colorful paintings.  The banners were recently judged by Kewaunee High School art teachers.  Kewaunee Area Chamber of Commerce Administrative Assistant Cassie Jelinik says you can be involved by voting on the “people’s choice” award.



The Kewaunee Art Walk banners will remain on the lampposts on Ellis Street and Milwaukee Street through mid-October.  You can see pictures of some of the banner artworks below courtesy of the Kewaunee Area Chamber of Commerce.










Surges worry health officials

A surge of COVID-19 cases across the country and in the state have Door County health officials worried about what is to come. While the number of deaths has remained steady and the hospitalization rate is dropping, the rate of positive cases has been above 5 percent over the last few days. The biggest jump has occurred among people in their 20s with their cases being possibly linked to the recent protests, bar-hopping, and social gatherings over 50 people. Door County Medical Center Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jim Heise says wearing masks, using good hygiene, and practicing social distancing can be helpful to everyone.

As of Tuesday morning, Door County remains at 44 positive cases while Kewaunee County had one additional positive test to raise their total to 54.



Kewaunee County ranks high in Census compliance

Kewaunee County can proudly say: “We're number 117!”  That's something to boast about when it comes to national rankings for Census 2020 compliance.  Nearly 74-percent of Kewaunee County residents have handed in their census forms, which bests the state average of nearly 69-percent and the national average of nearly 62-percent compliance.  Kewaunee County Administrator Scott Feldt believes residents see census participation as a civic duty that improves the area's chances of receiving more tax dollars.



Census participation in Kewaunee County's largest communities nearly mirrors the county average.  Nearly 79-percent of Luxemburg residents have responded to the census, just over 74-percent of Casco residents have taken part, in Kewaunee just over 73-percent of residents have completed their census forms and just over 68-percent in Algoma have complied. 


Authorities searching for stolen vehicle

The Door County Sheriff’s Department is on the trail of a vehicle stolen last week in Sturgeon Bay.  The black 1995 Mazda Miata was taken between June 20th and June 23rd near County Highway CC in Little Sturgeon Bay. WLUK-TV in Green Bay reports the car, now sporting a different license plate, was involved with a gas-drive off in Oshkosh. People with information on the car’s disappearance are encouraged to contact the Door County Sheriff’s Department. 



Meeting driver license renewal deadline safely

The deadline is fast approaching for drivers in Door and Kewaunee counties to renew expired driver licenses. The previous deadline of March 12th had been extended to Saturday, July 25th because of COVID-19 concerns.   If you need to renew your licenses, the good news is it can be done easily.  The Wisconsin Department of Motor Vehicles says most renewals can be done online for drivers 64 and under without medical restrictions or vision changes.  Even if you still need to go to a local DOT office or vendor, DMV Administrator Kristina Boardman says getting some documents online can speed up your office visit. 



Drivers who are 60 and older and need to register in person also have a little more time to renew their licenses.  They have until September 25th to apply for renewal.

High-risk workers facing daily stress – Mental Health Minute Series

The mental health toll of the COVID-19 pandemic on essential workers on the frontlines throughout our communities is unprecedented says Sturgeon Bay Psychologist Dr. Dennis White.  The pressures, health risks, and daily stresses facing those in the medical communities can be overwhelming.  Dr. White shares some of the mental health issues faced by many in the healthcare field.



Dr. White adds that other essential workers, like grocery store staff, truck drivers, and delivery personal kept our communities from coming to a grinding halt during the Safer at Home order.  You can find Dr. White’s entire Mental Health Minute below.



Open Door Pride presents special award

Although the Open Door Pride Festival was canceled this year, the sponsoring organization did present a special award this past Saturday in Sturgeon Bay.  Martin Park was the setting for the 2020 Sandy Brown Award to Third Avenue Playhouse (TAP).  Cathy Grier, the founder of Open Door Pride, says TAP exemplified their mission of celebrating our diversity with inclusion for all.



Establishing the first PFLAG chapter in Door County, Brown, the first recipient now has her name bestowed on the award.  Sturgeon Bay Mayor David Ward formally declared June Open Pride Month with a Pride Flag flying over Martin Park.   Plans are to hold the Open Door Pride Festival on Saturday, June 26, next year.


by Ty Helbach


(Photos courtesy of Ty Helbach) 

New Washington Island ferry "Madonna" christened 

Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding and the Washington Island Ferry Line celebrated the completion of the new ferry “Madonna” Monday at the shipyard in Sturgeon Bay.  A gathering of representatives from each company as well as dignitaries ushered in the newest era of a year-round passenger ferry with a special christening.  Bay Shipbuilding Vice President and General Manager Todd Thayse says this project was a special one.



Hoyt Purinton of the Washington Island Ferry line notes that it is a remarkable accomplishment by Door County industries.



After a few finishing touches, the 124-foot ferry will join the fleet of four other Washington Island vessels.   The Madonna will be the largest of the fleet and have a capacity for 28 vehicles and 150 passengers. 












News Release 



Personal fireworks shows from boats risky

Some people around Door and Kewaunee counties will host their own July 4th  fireworks show, however boating enthusiasts say don't launch them on the water.   The BoatUS Foundation says while some communities have canceled their pyrotechnic shows because of COVID-19, boats on lakes and rivers are not a good platform to launch skyrockets. Door County Sheriff's Department Sgt/Investigator Jason Stenzel, who's a member of the marine patrol, says boaters who shoot off fireworks while afloat are needlessly putting themselves and others at risk of injury.



Stenzel also reminds people that setting off fireworks that leave the ground or explode without a permit is also illegal.

Potential Alpine purchase part of village vision

If the village of Egg Harbor in successful is acquiring a portion of the Alpine Resort, it could check off several boxes for the community.  Last week, Village Administrator Ryan Heise told it had made an offer on about one acre of the waterfront resort that was put up for sale in 2018. The village is counting on acquiring a Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Fund grant to help pay for a large portion of it. While acquiring the land would give the popular beach more parking, Heise says it would also allow the village to be a part of a much bigger project.

The village is still looking to see what happens with the rest of the resort, offering assistance if the proposal fits in with its comprehensive plan. Another popular piece of property went off the market last week after the property housing Fred and Fuzzy’s in Sister Bay was sold pending a zoning change.

Promenade to set tone for west waterfront

The promenade slated for Sturgeon Bay’s west waterfront will help define what the rest of the area will look like for years to come. The city recently finished its discussions with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources about a week and a half ago to set the stage for acquiring a lakebed lease from the state’s Board of Commissioners of Public Land. That would help give the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society the land its needs to continue its planning efforts for the Teweles and Brandeis grain elevator projects. City administrator Josh Van Lieshout says developers want to get a feel for what the parcel will look like before they start investing money into the area.

A developer has submitted a letter of intent to purchase west waterfront property and will be one of the subjects of Tuesday’s Finance/Purchasing and Building Committee meeting during its closed session. The meeting, which will also cover the expansion of Sturgeon Bay Cold Storage in the city’s industrial park, begins at 4 p.m. inside the council chambers.

Haberli staying involved in dairy

His cows and his bulk tank for milk are gone, but the dairy industry is still very much in the blood of Joe Haberli. It has been a year since Haberli auctioned off the animals and the equipment that had been a staple of his family’s farming operation for close to 70 years. Haberli did not exit the agriculture business entirely, helping with custom cropping operations throughout the peninsula and raising over 250 heifers for Casco’s Dairy Dreams. Haberli says he looks back at last year’s decision with no regrets.

Haberli was not alone in his decision to stop milking as Wisconsin lost 700 dairy farms last year and another 300 during the first five months of 2020 according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. He is still happy that his family still gets to do what they love, right down to picking stones.



Picture from Haberli Farms Facebook Page 

Door County boosts marketing for July 4th

Destination Door County is sending a simple message to July 4th vacationers:  “Come on up!  We're open!”  The organization has been ramping up marketing efforts to attract more visitors for the important Independence Day weekend.  Destination Door County usually starts promoting efforts to draw summer visitors in March, though those efforts were put on hold due to COVID-19.  Communications Director Jon Jarosh says the group is now using targeted marketing campaigns to get vacationers in a Door County frame of mind.




In addition to vacationers,  Destination Door County is also working to attract more seasonal workers. Those jobs are normally filled by overseas students who are now being restricted from getting J-1 visas due to COVID-19 risks.

Universal testing not expected before fall classes

Kewaunee County Public Health Director Cindy Kinnard is not expecting a universal testing regime for students before school begins in the fall. Department of Public Instruction guidance last week left the decision of whether kids should return to the classroom up to individual districts. Not having complete information will be a factor in that determination. Kinnard says she does not expect a children’s version of the test anytime soon.


Vaccinations are taken care of before the school year begins. A test for COVID-19 infection could potentially be administered at school. The test involves extending a swab into the upper nasal passage for at least 15 seconds, an uncomfortable experience for most adults.


Local delegate reacts to virtual Democratic convention

The Chairman of the Democratic Party of Door County, David Hayes, is still preparing for the national convention, even if most of it won’t take place in Milwaukee. Hayes, who is a state delegate, says the administrative work that happens behind the scenes will be conducted through teleconference.


Hayes says that the party is sympathetic to Milwaukee businesses, who will be hurt from the convention’s smaller footprint. Still, in his mind, the current public health emergency justifies the decision and can be easily defended if it becomes a political football.


Liberty Grove accepting firework permits

The Town of Liberty Grove has posted a list of all firework permits it has granted so far for summer 2020. As of Friday, only two displays are scheduled for Independence Day weekend. Any show that involves airborne pyrotechnics requires town approval. Administrator Bud Kalms says individuals are not allowed to submit an application on their own.


Kalms says it is too early to tell if private shows will explode this year, as seen in larger cities like Green Bay. 


Lakeshore Community Thrift Shop reopening in July

The Lakeshore Community Thrift Store has been quiet even as its sister pantry continues to serve the City of Kewaunee. That will change beginning on Monday, July 6th. Volunteer Linda Berkovitz says the initial plan is to be open Monday-Friday during varying hours and occasionally on Saturday. That could change depending on the demand for existing supplies.


Additionally, all shoppers will be required to wear a mask. There is a limit of four adults in the store at one time. The thrift store entrance is off of Milwaukee Street in the downtown area.


Quiet Parking and Traffic Committee meeting expected

Only one item is on the agenda for Monday’s Sturgeon Bay Parking and Traffic Committee meeting. Chair Kirsten Reeths says it concerns a landlord without an adequate lot for tenants at his property. The remedy is for the landlord to rent out parking from the city. Reeths says the work of the committee in past months is beginning to show up downtown.


Besides the parklets, Reeths says a proposal to close Third Avenue and allow stores to use the street for additional retail and restaurant space from 4:00 to 10:00 PM Saturday is still waiting to be debated by the Common Council. 


*Photo courtesy of Kirsten Reeths' election website.


Structure lost in Lincoln Township Fire

A large structure on a farm near Rio Creek is a total loss after a fire broke out Saturday evening.

Crews from several area fire departments reported to the scene in Lincoln Township on Hemlock Road between County Route K and Pheasant Road just after 7:00 pm. Luxemburg Fire was the primary responder. Chief Lew Du Chateau said the original call was for a structure fire, but it was quickly updated to a request for assistance once they learned the machine shed was fully engulfed. The roof was already collapsing before water was available for the firefighters. Once it began to flow, things went smoothly, says Du Chateau.


At around 8:30 pm, most of the flames had been extinguished, but firefighters were forced to take down the final standing wall as they continued to put out hot spots. Crews were on the scene for several hours. The cause of the blaze is not yet known. No other buildings, including the main residence, were damaged. Assisting were Carlton Fire, BUG department, Southern Door, Algoma, Kewaunee, and New Franken Fire.






Event cancellations impact charities and communities

Cancellations of some festivals, art shows and other spring and summer events are impacting the bottom lines of charities and communities around Door and Kewaunee counties.  COVID-19 concerns led Door County to cancel fireworks celebrations in Baileys Harbor, Egg Harbor, Sturgeon Bay, Maplewood, Gills Rock, parades in Baileys Harbor and Egg Harbor and the Freedom Fest on July 11th in Sister Bay.  Louise Howson, with the Sister Bay Advancement Association, says such events are primarily fundraisers for local non-profit groups which also impact local businesses.




COVID-19 concerns have also led to the cancellation of Kewaunee County's Memorial Day festivities, July 4th fireworks and the 2020 Shanty Days celebration.

Luxemburg renovation improves police facilities

The Village of Luxemburg is renovating its Municipal Office with some of the extra space earmarked for the police department. The new evidence room will be climate-controlled, which should eliminate the dampness of the current storage area. Police Chief Chris Gulbrand says the project is ahead of schedule.


Gulbrand is thankful for the support shown by the community recently, especially given events in other parts of the state and country.


Door County Library utilizing new technology

Door County Library’s summer reading activities has gone virtual, and one of the benefits is real-time data. Migrating close to two months of programming online has the library learning on the fly as to what works and what doesn’t work. Participants are using the app Beanstack to enter information on their reading habits, and Assistant Librarian Morgan Mann says she is having some fun running reports already.


In previous years, numbers were tallied at the end of the program, so true comparisons won’t be possible until August. Mann says she expects the community to warm to the online format over time. 


Local Republican Party chapter welcomes presidential visit

President Donald Trump held a town hall in Green Bay and gave a speech at Marinette Marine Thursday. While he avoided the Door Peninsula, the President has been a frequent guest in the region, as has Vice President Mike Pence. Door County Republican Chapter Head Stephanie Soucek says that speaks to how vital Wisconsin is to the ticket’s reelection efforts. 


The Door County Republicans will be opening up a Sturgeon Bay headquarters soon for the general election. They plan to have a more traditional campaign while the Democratic Party chapter is still operating virtually.


*Air Force One at Austin Straubel International Airport


Peninsula Pride Farms hosts new take on field days

Farmers in Door and Kewaunee Counties are taking time out of their evening next week to discuss how to continue sustainable practices on their operations. The purpose of Peninsula Pride Farms’ “Conservation Conversations” is to allow farmers to talk about different practices like cover cropping and the positive impact it has on their yields and their land. Lauren Brey from the Dairy Strong Sustainability Alliance says with environmental concerns still prevalent, it is good to have farmers connect.

Peninsula Pride Farms’ first Conservation Conversation is on June 30th at Cornette Dairy in Luxemburg at 6 p.m. The series will continue to take place on the last Tuesday of every month.


Picture was taken prior to the height of the pandemic



Luxemburg-Casco District still receiving input for fall

With Department of Public Instruction guidelines now out, the Luxemburg-Casco School District remains committed to flexibility for fall instruction. Superintendent Glenn Schlender says he is preparing to combine three different types of teaching methods and wants the district to be able to switch from one to the other immediately when conditions dictate.


For now, L-C has reopened facilities to student-athletes and will be surveying parents and staff separately about their concerns regarding the students getting back in the classroom. Schlender says he is especially concerned about the effects on younger pupils if they must learn remotely for another marking period.


*Photo courtesy of the Luxemburg-Casco website.


Sevastopol School additions taking shape

Other than finding a little limestone under the construction site, the Sevastopol School District renovation project is going smoothly. Walls have begun going up in recent weeks while electricians and teachers discuss where outlets need to be placed for the future industrial arts lab. Superintendent Kyle Luedtke says they could have been even farther along if it was not for Mother Nature, but they were able to get a jump start on some of the projects when it was determined kids would not be returning until the fall.

Construction crews have approximately two months before classes are back in session at Sevastopol on August 24th. The school year was moved up to accommodate the demolition of older parts of the building next spring.

Dentists battle through backlog

It may take a while for some patients to get back into the dentist's office. Outside of emergency work, dentist offices like Smile Designs of Door County in Sturgeon Bay were closed for nearly two months due to COVID-19 and have been spending the last six weeks catching up on cleanings that were missed. Dr. Gina Grenfell says they are using extra personal protective equipment, spacing out appointments, and doing health screenings to keep her staff and her patients safe. She hopes people are comfortable seeing their dentist again.

Grenfell appreciates her patients being flexible with their appointments, even if their next visits could be months past when they are usually scheduled to take place.


Photo courtesy of Smile Designs of Door County

Masking helping slow the spread

Door County Medical Center officials are crediting masking with the low number of cases in the area.  Door County Medical Center Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jim Heise says you do not need to have a surgical mask to help protect people around you.

The Centers for Disease Control recommends people wear masks in public places where physical distancing is impossible.  Several local groups across Door and Kewaunee Counties have donated hundreds of masks to local hospitals and community members.


Photo screenshot courtesy of Door County Medical Center



Ways to protect plants from wildlife

Short of building a fence around your garden, there are only a few proven methods to save your plants and flowers from roaming critters, according to Larry Maas of Maas Floral & Greenhouse in Sturgeon Bay.  Maas says a fence is a good option to deter smaller animals.  He notes that products on the market like liquid fence will work, but need to be reapplied after any rainfall.  One trick to avoid deer-damage is to place human hair around a garden to protect plants.



Other ways to protect gardens is to have potted plants or raised beds and to keep any compost piles in contained bins since the smell can attract creatures.  You can find other tips on protecting your garden with the link below. 


Friday COVID-19 update

As of Friday, the number of COVID-19 cases in Door County had jumped to 44, an increase of four from the previous report. Kewaunee County has also seen a small spike this week, mostly in young people according to Public Health Director Cindy Kinnard. The total there is now 53, up by two from Thursday's tally.



Quality childcare good for economy

Having access to high-quality childcare in Door County is about more than making sure your kids get off to the best start possible.  With an economy like Door County where the tourism and service industries are important, young families are needed to help fill jobs. In Sister Bay, Northern Door Children’s Center is the only childcare facility in the area. Community Relations Coordinator Karen Corekin-DeLaMer believes not having more options could cause problems down the road.

The Door County YMCA announced earlier this month that it was considering closing its childcare facility due to budget concerns. A 2019 survey done by the Door County Partnership for Children and Families found child care access to be one of four major challenges the area faces.


Picture taken prior to pandemic

Scouts prepare for summer camps

After months of virtual meetings and “camp-ins,” Cub Scouts and Scouts USA units in Door and Kewaunee Counties are ready to take it outside. All five of the Bay-Lakes Council’s camping properties, including the Jax Camp in Sturgeon Bay, will be open for scouts to use beginning July 5th with the proper precautions in place. For the traditional summer camp experience where scouts take part in various activities and merit badge classes, Voyageur District Executive Bob Pekol says it will look a little different than years' past.

Bay-Lakes Council units have been able to host in-person events with proper social distancing guidelines in place since mid-June.


Photo courtesy of Bay-Lakes Council BSA

Wisconsin still struggling with nitrate contamination

Despite efforts at the state and county level, Wisconsin is still being challenged with nitrate contamination. According to the Environmental Working Group, Wisconsin is one of 10 states with increasing problems with nitrates in their drinking water as it looked at 4,000 community water systems from 2003 to 2017. Leaky septic tanks and farm run-off are often the cause for the increased levels of nitrates in water. While Door and Kewaunee Counties have instituted ordinances restricting where and when liquid manure can be applied to help protect the groundwater, Clean Water Action Council Executive Director Dean Hoegger says more needs to be done to protect the community.

Hoegger says not doing more will only increase the likelihood of major health issues. According to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, approximately 10 percent of private wells statewide exceed standards for nitrate contamination.

Farming becoming more hi-tech

The automation of family farms has led to saving time and better conservation.   The changing technology in farming is impacting operations, from the barn to the fields.  Rich Olson of Olson Family Farms in southern Door County says today’s agriculture is no longer about cows, sows, and plows. 


Olson notes that new technology makes farming much more efficient.  Modern medical technology also allows farmers to mitigate livestock health concerns before the cows suffer from serious diseases.   


Used vehicle demand increases

Local automobile dealers are positioning for a rebound in sales this summer as consumers look for bargains.  New vehicle sales reportedly dropped about 30 percent in May after an even more significant decrease in April.  That, along with a twenty percent increase in used-vehicle prices, has auto dealers competitively pricing vehicles online to speed up the buying process.  Missy Allen, general sales manager of Jim Olson Motors in Door County, says consumers are very savvy when it comes to the value of vehicles.



Allen adds that the car selling business has really changed and evolved recently.  New car and used car pricing must be market-based because that determines who a potential buyer will see before entering a showroom or walking on the lot. 


(photo courtesy of Jim Olson Motors)

"Farmers to Families Food Box" on Friday

A one-time opportunity to get free food thanks to the Door County Food Pantry Coalition is Friday.  The USDA Farmer’s to Families Food Box program will be held in Sturgeon Bay from 4:00 until 6:00 pm at Sawyer Park. Pre-filled boxes of meat, cheese, milk, and produce will be handed out on a first-come, first-served basis.  Dakota Londo of the Door County Food Pantry Coalition explains the procedure.


Londo adds that recipients should remain in their vehicles while picking up the food boxes at Sawyer Park on Friday.  The national program contracted for $1.2 billion in food products to be distributed to families in need while providing support to the agricultural sector during the COVID-19 emergency.  The initial round of Farmer’s to Families Food Box Program will be completed by next Tuesday.     


More states requiring mask-wearing; COVID-19 cases increase in area

As more states are issuing orders to require face coverings or masks while in public, local health officials are emphasizing the proactive measure when social distancing is not possible.  A recent study by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences says mask-wearing is the most effective way to stop the person-to-person spread of the airborne transmission of COVID-19.  Kewaunee County Public Health Director Cindy Kinnard says wearing a mask will provide you with additional protection when in a crowded situation or when you cannot socially distance more than six feet.  She notes that Kewaunee County has seen a slight jump this week with nine more confirmed COVID-19 cases as testing continues to increase.



She adds that there are no hospitalizations of the 51 coronavirus cases in Kewaunee County as of Thursday.  Door County’s number went up by four to 44 confirmed COVID-19 cases with six remaining actives.  Nevada became the 19th state on Wednesday to require people to wear masks when in public. 



Village ponders Kress Pavilion reopening

The Village of Egg Harbor is weighing options in regards to reopening the Kress Pavilion. The building, which also houses a branch of the Door County Library, has been closed since the middle of March along with other public buildings. The village offered full refunds to those wishing to rent the facility for different events during the closure. Village Administrator Ryan Heise says they have been working with the Door County Library system on a plan to keep employees and visitors safe.

If the reopening is approved at its board meeting on Friday at 4:15 p.m., the Kress Pavilion could be open as soon as June 30th. The village board will also make decisions on reopening its offices inside the Bertschinger Center.

Grant helps upgrade Kewaunee 911 system

The Kewaunee County Emergency Dispatch Center is getting a big boost towards a state of the art 911 system.    The Wisconsin Office of Emergency Communications has awarded $125,332.80 toward the purchase of a NextGen 911 system  That would replace current equipment which is twenty-years-old.  Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski says NextGen 911 will allow emergency services personnel to locate where calls are coming from and respond quicker.

The grant will cover 60-percent of the cost of the new system with 40-percent of funding coming from Kewaunee County.

Island businesses encouraged by season's start

Business owner and Door County Supervisor Joel Gunnlaugsson is encouraged by the activity he has seen on Washington Island. Like many lodging owners, he saw thousands of dollars in cancellations earlier this year as people opted to call off or postpone their travel plans because of COVID-19. Traffic to the island has now increased to the point that the ferry has announced more daily roundtrips three times since May 21st and he has seen his rooms fill up again. Gunnlaugsson says it has given him and other Washington Island businesses more optimism.

Washington Island tourism could also get another boost next week if Rock Island State Park is opened to visitors. It is closed until at least July 1st due to COVID-19 travel guidelines and high lake levels.


Picture courtesy of Door County

Parents, kids find alternative ways to connect

Parents in Door and Kewaunee Counties have had to think outside the box when it comes to keeping their kids busy this summer. An American Psychological Association survey shows 60 percent of parents are struggling to keep their kids busy and wondered how they would be able to do it for an entire summer. Door County Partnership for Children and Families Community Impact Coordinator Chad Welch says they have been urging parents to tap into their family’s creativity to help stay connected and engaged this summer without spending a lot of money.

For when kids are connected to their devices, Welch recommends utilizing virtual tours and messaging apps as educational tools. 

Juried Annual competition accepting submissions

The Miller Art Museum‘s signature competition, the Juried Annual Exhibition, is back for its 45th year. Submissions are being accepted through the end of July with judging by a three-member panel taking place in early August. Artists enter their work by scanning it and attaching an electronic version with the application. Curator Helen Del Guidice says the hope is to have the museum open to the public.


Eight artists receive awards ranging from best overall work to most creative. All participants must reside in a six-county radius within Northeast Wisconsin.


Bed and breakfasts thrive during COVID-19

Door County Bed and Breakfast operators say their inns are still busy during the COVID-19 pandemic and they're following procedures to ensure guests have peace of mind during their stay.  Kelly Catarozoli, owner of the Foxglove Inn located in Sturgeon Bay, says her B&B has an advantage with private entrances to guest suites.  Catarozoli also says employee contact with guests is being limited and new procedures are in place to reduce exposure risks after guests check out.




Breakfast is still being served at the Foxglove Inn via room service on trays left outside a guest's room.

High waters dampen Christmas Tree Ship Point project

Climate conditions on Lake Michigan have set back efforts to secure Christmas Tree Ship Point in Algoma.  Last summer, the city used grant monies to restore the historic site off of Lake Street near the Algoma Pier Lighthouse.   A combination of high water levels and high winds last October all but wiped out the project.  Algoma Parks and Recreation Director Sara Robertson says the city is now focused on waiting out nature.




Christmas Tree Ship Point honors the famed schooners that sailed past Algoma laden with trees from northern Wisconsin and Michigan to Milwaukee and Chicago in the 1800s.


(Photo courtesy of Community Improvement of Algoma)

COVID-19 does not add to lifeguard burden

Traffic at the Door County YMCA is slowly increasing at both locations, driven in large part by the reopening of the pool. They’re subject to COVID-19 restrictions, including rules for competitive swimming and recreational use. The guidelines come from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation and specifically shield lifeguards from being responsible for enforcement of mitigation measures, says New North CEO Barb LaMue.


On Wednesday, Door County reported a new recovery, while total cases remain at 40. There are two active infections. Kewaunee County’s total is up to 47, an increase of three since their last announcement.


Virtual lessons start with a bang

Birch Creek Music Performance Center has begun instruction. Typically, classes happen at their Egg Harbor campus. This year, everything is online, and Executive Director Mona Christensen says early lessons with the percussion group have surpassed her expectations. Sessions run three to four hours, lasting only one week rather than the traditional two. Christensen says anything longer isn’t conducive for remote learning, even though Birch Creek is not a typical school atmosphere.


Expect Birch Creek to continue using the online format in the future. Christensen says it could prove useful in anything from student applications to off-season classes.


Highway 42 construction begins Monday

One of Kewaunee County’s busiest thoroughfares will be seeing a facelift this summer. The majority of the work will be focused south of Algoma on Highway 42 towards Alaska. That project involves culvert repairs and a replacement of the bridge over Three Mile Creek. That was supposed to be the initial phase of the work, beginning on July 6th. Project Manager Jeremy Ashauer says the wet weather this spring caused a more immediate concern north of the city, towards County Road X.


The pipe replacement is expected to be completed by the end of next week. Several construction projects have been finished in the area early this year. Ashauer says the most significant contributor to that was good weather, and it is too early to know whether the 42 work will have a similar result. 


Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire celebrates 90 years

Tuesday afternoon, visitors paraded through the parking lot of the Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Department to celebrate the organization’s 90th birthday. Engines, ladder trucks, and other vehicles were displayed outside with signage explaining the purpose of each piece of equipment for children in attendance. Hot dogs and brats were on the grill, given out in exchange for non-perishable food items to help local pantries. Fire Chief Chris Hecht says the food drive results were impressive despite the weather.


The department is turning its focus to the upcoming Fourth of July holiday. Hecht says that with the sponsored shows put on by various municipalities canceled this year, he expects more private shows to take their place, potentially resulting in more calls.


Multivehicle accident on State Highway 57

The Door County Sheriff’s Department responded to an accident in Brussels at 5:39 Wednesday morning near the intersection of Highway 57 and County Road H. The scene involved three vehicles, one of which rolled over during the crash. Deputy Chief Patrick McCarty says that despite the seriousness of the collision, the highway never closed. will provide updates on the story when they become available.


Kewaunee Music in the Park starts Sunday

After a one week delay, the Music in the Park concerts will start the 2020 performances this Sunday.  The free weekly event will run through summer and feature 11 different musical artists.  Kewaunee Area Chamber of Commerce Administrative Assistant Cassie Jelinek shares details about the Music in the Park kickoff.



Music in the Park runs from 5:00 until 7:30 every Sunday evening, and attendees are encouraged to socially distance and are welcome to wear masks.  The rain location is Lakenhaven Hall on Ellis Street.  You can find the complete summer lineup for Music in the Park below from the news release.





June 28th- Rocker! Rocker! Rocker! This band needs no introduction. Come rock out in the park with them again this year. Concessions by Immanuel Lutheran Church

July 5th- Bazooka Joe A local favorite. Clock celebration is canceled for this year. 

July 12th-Howard and the Blue Gills- Classic Blues with a Rock n Roll flavor. 

July 19th-Brass Differential-A Nine piece band that is Green Bay’s premier party band. With a variety of funk, blues, and New Orleans Party music. 

July 26th-Mocking Birds- A local favorite playing a varie

ty of hits. 

August 2nd- Modern Day Drifters- An awesome country band that is sure to make your sweetheart swoon. Treats provided by Nicolet Bank 

August 9th- Jeff and Shed-These two knock it out of the park every time. Playing a variety of acoustic hits. 

August 16th- Paul Hannah-An outspoken misunderstood musician and recording artist. He will keep surprising you with his ginormous amount of music knowledge. 

August 23rd- Dr. Bombay-A rock and roll show for all ages. 

August 30th-Greatest Hits Polka Band-Come see if Rich will let you play his tuba and come two step in the park with your friends. Food by Kewaunee Lions Club 

September 6th- Frank’s Dinner Theatre-A Humorous Variety show with many “guest” appearances. Food by HCE 

Local grocer's supply chain stronger

Grocery shelves are staying stocked as local supermarkets navigate the earlier disruption of the food supply chain caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Jon Calhoun, store manager of Tadych's of Sturgeon Bay, says the store's ability to reach out to additional suppliers helped overcome food shortages due to plant closures.



Calhoun says prices have come back down after a brief spike in ground beef and other meats. He notes that ground beef prices are back to $2.99 a pound in the store.


Marvin breaks wait and ground on home

The ceremony was short, but the wait was long leading up to the Marvin family and Door County Habitat for Humanity breaking ground on the 43rd home build Tuesday afternoon in Baileys Harbor. After being selected as the partner family in December, it had to wait for affordable land to become available so Doug Marvin’s sons could still go to Gibraltar. Thanks to Dave and Carrie Link, Katy Andino, Jerry Lecy, and St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, that was made possible. Uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 delayed volunteers from being able to show up until early July, almost two months later than usual. Now that the ground is broken and the excavator is scheduled, Marvin is happy the wait is over.

It has come full circle for Marvin, who says he was the age of his son Emiliano when he helped build his childhood home. Build days will begin in July on Tuesdays and Thursdays, though construction supervisor Chuck Stone says they may have to recruit enough volunteers to work three days a week to get the home done before Christmas.



County adopts new broadband tower ordinances

Expanded broadband internet around Door County is a step closer under an ordinance revision adopted by the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday morning.  The tower ordinance amendment from the county's Resource Planning Committee will exempt broadband towers under 120-feet tall used from previous height restrictions.  Door County Administrator Ken Pabich believes the adoption of the amended ordinances will help jump-start the growth of reliable internet service.



The new ordinance covering broadband towers now has to be published and will take effect in 40-days.

Seidl hopes to lead Luxemburg into the future

He knows he has big shoes to fill, but Luxemburg Village President Jack Seidl hopes to follow in his predecessor’s’ footsteps. Seidl took over the role after Ken Tebon passed away at the end of May. He worked closely with Tebon on a number of different village projects including improvements for Frontier Street and parcel redevelopment. Seidl says Tebon was a real ”go-getter.”

Thanks to village staff, Seidl says the transition from trustee to president has been smooth.  After sitting on the board for over seven years, Seidl is talking to potential candidates to take over his seat.

Nature Center, Eagle Tower on track

Visitors likely will not get to experience either attraction soon, but work on two projects at Peninsula State Park is on track. The park’s Nature Center is almost completely finished outside of a few minor details. The early signs of the new Eagle Tower are in place as construction crews poured concrete for the structure’s footings. Friends of Peninsula State Park Business Manager Steve Strucely says he is excited for the visitors to check out the projects once they are completed.

For those waiting for the first trek up Eagle Tower’s new ramp through the tree canopy, Strucely says the project will hopefully be finished this fall.


Picture courtesy of Friends of Peninsula State Park Facebook page



Trades getting busier as states open up

There is plenty of work to go around for contractors as the state continues to reopen. A U.S. Census Bureau survey showed the number of residential housing permits jump in May after dropping seven percent between March and April. That is good news for Tom Kinnard from Kinnard Heating and Cooling in Sturgeon Bay, who says the construction of smaller homes in northeast Wisconsin has kept his crews busy despite the virus-induced slowdown.

Kinnard says the size of construction sites have allowed businesses from different trades to be able to work together on the same project while also following the proper safety precautions. 


Picture from Kinnard Heating and Cooling Facebook page

Businesses prepared for J-1 Visa freeze

Monday’s executive order signed by President Donald Trump only confirmed what many Door County businesses feared months ago: some of their employees would not be showing up. Under the executive order, the issuance of certain temporary worker visas like J-1 are frozen through the end of the year. Over 500 students come to Door County every year to work for local businesses while getting a taste of American life. Door County Economic Development Corporation Workforce Specialist Kelsey Fox says they worked with businesses over the last few months to develop alternative options just in case.

Fox hopes the groundwork laid this year to attract high school students to work at area businesses pays off for years to come.

Memorial Drive closed due to standing water

With plenty of rain on the way, the City of Sturgeon Bay wasted no time closing a waterfront street.


Director of Municipal Services Mike Barker announced the closure for most motorists Monday afternoon due to road flooding. According to his release, Memorial Drive is closed between 12th Ave and Utopia Circle.  Near Utopia Circle, the street has been barricaded so no traffic may pass.  Closer to 12th Ave, barricades are positioned so residents living between 12th and 15th can get to their homes.  There was minor flooding on the street Tuesday morning, but it is recommended that other motorists stay away from the area until Memorial Drive is reopened. The rain is expected to subside during the day Tuesday, but more showers are expected Friday night into Saturday morning.

Unemployment claim backlog persists

Thousands of Wisconsinites, including those in Door and Kewaunee Counties, are still waiting for their unemployment claim to be processed. Back in March, the Department of Workforce Development said it was shifting resources to help handle call volumes for those who need help completing an application. That has not proven sufficient yet, and it is beginning to frustrate State Senator Andre Jacque. He says the issue has become priority number one for his staff.


Representative Joel Kitchens is also assisting constituents with the issue. Before contacting them make sure you have the following information on hand.
• Your full name
• Your phone number
• Status of your claim (including the application date)
• Reason for your inquiry (checking status of claim, told to call but can’t get through, etc)

"COVID-19 fatigue" jeopardizes your safety

Three months of dealing with the safety precautions related to the COVID-19 pandemic has created a “coronavirus fatigue” that is testing Americans' patience with prescribed behaviors, says Sturgeon Bay Psychologist Dr. Dennis White.  The implementation of social distancing and personal hygiene behaviors can wane over time.



Dr. White adds that it is difficult to see the short-term benefits because we can't see any particular behavior helping to prevent the spread.  He notes that we must continue to educate and motivate ourselves while taking care of our mental and physical health.  You can listen to Dr. White's entire Mental Health Minute below.




"Click it or Ticket" begins

In efforts to potentially save lives, local law enforcement agencies are patrolling in longer hours and higher numbers to ensure motorists are traveling safely.  The annual “Click it or Ticket” seat belt campaign began Monday and will run through the 4th of July weekend.  Field Lieutenant Bob Lauder of the Door County Sheriff’s Department says the campaign is about education and not about writing a $10 citation for not buckling up.



In 2017, over 10,000 unbuckled passenger vehicle occupants were reportedly killed in the United States while seat belts saved nearly 15,000 lives. 









Annual “Click It or Ticket” seat belt campaign began Monday

Law enforcement agencies ask for voluntary compliance/public cooperation with traffic laws to help prevent crashes, avoid injuries and save lives


Law enforcement agencies and transportation safety officials are delivering a simple, but potentially life-saving message to all motorists: buckle up – every seat – every trip. During the annual Click It or Ticket seat belt campaign that begins Monday (June 22) and runs through Sunday, July 5, law enforcement agencies across the state will patrol in greater numbers for longer hours to help ensure motorists are traveling safely.


“The primary goal of this national public education and enforcement initiative is motorist safety,” Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) Secretary-designee Craig Thompson said. “To move towards our goal of Zero Deaths on Wisconsin roads, we need all motorists to be safe and responsible. That means buckle up, watch your speed, and set the phone aside.”


Wisconsin’s current seat belt use rate is 90.2 percent – the highest ever. Still, of all the car and light truck occupants killed in Wisconsin traffic crashes last year, 44% were not wearing a seat belt.


Wisconsin’s primary seat belt law, in place since 2009, allows law enforcement to stop and cite motorists for failing to wear a seat belt. Drivers can also be cited for every unbuckled passenger in their vehicle. Failure to fasten a seat belt is among the most common traffic violations in Wisconsin and resulted in 41,654 traffic convictions last year.


During Click It or Ticket, WisDOT will use designated federal funds to support enhanced law enforcement efforts, TV, radio and other public education messages. Electronic message signs along major highways will also display buckle up reminders.


“Keeping people and commerce moving safely will always be our top priority,” said State Patrol Superintendent Anthony Burrell. “During Click It or Ticket and throughout the year, we’re asking motorists to voluntarily comply with seat belt and other traffic laws that help keep everyone along our roadways safe.” 

School reopening guidelines set down

On Monday, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction released an 83- page document to help schools throughout the state reopen safely in September amid the COVID-19 pandemic.  The Education Forward guidelines include scheduling for physical distancing that keeps student-teacher ratios to 10/1 or fewer.  Mark Vandenhouten, principal of St. Mary’s School in Luxemburg and Holy Trinity in Casco, says details are still being worked on to make the learning environment as safe as possible.



Each school district will have to come up with a decision over the summer on how to reopen for the 2020-2021 school year.  You can find the complete guidelines by clicking here.

Emergency Response Fund ready for long haul

The Door County Emergency Response Fund is concerned about more than just the immediate needs of the community caused by COVID-19. The joint effort between the United Way and the Door County Community Foundation has raised approximately $800,000 for relief efforts, with the bulk of it likely going towards housing assistance. Door County Community Foundation President and CEO Bret Bicoy says there is certainly pain being felt right now but believes it will still be present well into the future.

Bicoy is happy for the response the community has given to the emergency response fund, estimating it is one of the biggest amounts collected on a per capita basis in the state.

Kewaunee County joins invasive species initative

Do not be surprised if someone is checking out your boat at East Alaska Lake and Shea’s Lake this summer. The Kewaunee County Land and Water Conservation Department is joining forces with the Glacierland Resource Conservation and Development and other invasive species initiatives to bring the Clean Boats, Clean Lakes program to the area. Inspectors like Sloan Wunder will talk to anglers and boaters about what they can do to stop spreading invasive species from lake to lake. County conservationist Kate Nelson says it is all about education.

There is no set schedule for the inspectors, but Nelson says they will be present during the high-traffic times of the day. Clean Waters, Clean Boats has been a program of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources since 2004.

Loosening restrictions sign of improvement

Patients at Door County Medical Center are getting more support now during their hospital stays. Last week, Door County Medical Center announced new visitor restrictions for people under their care, allowing one support person for inpatients and clinic services. In many cases, those people will have to stick to the patient’s room or a designated area while also wearing a mask and practicing social distancing. Door County Medical Center President and CEO Brian Stephens says visitors play a role in the recovery process.

Stephens applauds residents and visitors for doing their part to slow the spread as Door County stands at 40 positive cases and Kewaunee County now at 44 according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.



Show goes on for Rogue Theater

Attending the drive-in services at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Sturgeon Bay left members of Rogue Theater inspired in more ways than one. Beginning July 4th, the Sturgeon Bay performing arts group will put on shows in the church’s parking lot, allowing audiences to drive-in, have a few snacks in their car, and enjoy a skit or two. Rogue Theater’s Lola DeVillers says performances like “Great Americans” and “The Golden Age of Comedy” will let their own actors get back on a stage for the first time since COVID-19 canceled live performances, but also possibly those who had their careers cut short by it.

The drive-in performances will be every Saturday and Sunday beginning July 4th through the end of August. DeVillers says proceeds from the performances will benefit local food pantries and other causes affected by COVID-19.


Picture from previous performance of "Susan and Elizabeth," which Rogue Theater will feature as a part of its Drive-In series.

Hispanic residents applaud Supreme Court DACA decision

Hispanic residents in Door and Kewaunee counties are pleased the United States Supreme Court upheld the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, policy.  The high court ruled 5-4 against repealing the Obama Administration policy that offers a two-year deportation deferral for those who came to the U.S as children and allowed them to receive work permits.  Imelda Delchambre with the Hispanic Research Council of Door and Kewaunee Counties says that decision is welcome by young Hispanic adults throughout the area.  She says some were afraid of being sent to countries they've never lived in.




While several states that challenged the legality of the DACA policy plan to file new paperwork with federal courts, Delchambre believes it will survive another challenge.

Door County fire departments train off the beaten path

Saturated ground is causing some fire trucks to get stuck when out on calls. Northern Door County departments conducted joint training last week to help avoid that scenario. Baileys Harbor, Ephraim, and Gibraltar Fire teamed up for an exercise near Mud Lake. The state wildlife area sits in the heart of the three districts, but Ephraim Fire Chief Justin MacDonald said most of the guys had never been there. Mud Lake is remote and has proven a challenge if a blaze breaks out in the past, according to MacDonald.


June’s exercises were the first joint drills in 90 days. Typically, the departments meet on the third Tuesday of the month.




Cana Island tractor riding the waves

Nothing handles three feet of Lake Michigan water like a Deere. Cana Island has learned to deal with being cut off from the mainland thanks to a permanently submerged causeway. Even when the lake is at its most calm, it covers the land bridge by three feet. Maritime Museum Community Engagement Manager Paige Funkhouser says lightkeeper Hal Wilson spent the offseason creating a wagon that sits higher than the transportation used last year. It’s pulled by a brand new John Deere tractor, which also sits high off the ground.


Island tours are available from Friday to Monday. Visitors can scope out the new interpretive center but are not allowed to climb the lighthouse tower itself.


Area court expects stressful second-half schedule

Door County District Attorney Colleen Nordin isn’t expecting a jury trial until the end of summer, but when things resume, business will pick up in a hurry. Nordin says the court is capable of handling up to two trials running simultaneously, which is a far cry from the ordinary.


Several cases were nearing the trial stage when the court was closed due to COVID-19. They will be the first ones on the docket come fall, barring a request for a speedy trial which would take precedence.


Simulator to help NWTC agriculture students

Northeast Wisconsin Technical College agriculture students from Door and Kewaunee counties will soon get hands-on experience with heavy machinery without going to a farm.  NWTC received a nearly $25,000 grant from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture.  That will add a Tenstar simulator on the Green Bay campus which replicates tractors, combines and other machinery in a lab setting.  Dr. Amy Kox, Dean of Trades and Engineering, says such a simulator would benefit farms and orchards around Door and Kewaunee counties.




Such virtual training is needed to help fill 4,500 anticipated openings for skilled agriculture employees in Wisconsin between now and 2026.


(Photo courtesy of Tenstar Simulation)

Door County Historical Society receives federal support

The Wisconsin Humanities Council is beginning to disperse federal aid from the first COVID-19 stimulus package, including to a local non-profit. Bailey Koepsel says the operational grant will help keep the Door County Historical Society going until business can return to a semblance of normal. According to Koepsel, that won’t be for months still.


The Historical Society has been hit from a loss of programming and a shuttering of the Heritage Village. It caters to field trips from area schools, which stopped in March and will remain halted until the end of summer vacation. Like many others, the Historical Society is trying to improve its virtual offerings to help in the meantime.


Photo courtesy of the Door County Historical Society Facebook page.


State-chartered banks more optimistic than Wall Street

Wisconsin reported first quarter cumulative results for state-chartered financial institutions this week and, by one measure, at least, they are more confident in the economy than big Wall Street firms. The group, which includes the Bank of Luxemburg, raised provisions for losses from unpaid loans by only $5 million for the three months ending March 31st. That represents a roughly one percent increase in reserves. By comparison, JP Morgan Chase increased its loss provision by 36 percent, including a charge of over $4 billion related to consumer credit. Department of Financial Institutions Financial Examiner Supervisor Alan Sisson explains why local banks have been more cautious.


When a bank raises its loan loss reserves, it’s considered an expense and results in a reduction of net income. Sisson says some state-chartered institutions are beginning to hike reserves, which could affect second quarter results. Banks must justify their loan loss reserve figures during DFI examinations, which happen every 12-18 months.


Photo courtesy of Bank of Luxemburg Facebook page.

ADRC helps clients during center closure

Sturgeon Bay's Aging and Disability Resource Center will not be open due to COVID-19, even as the heat and humidity increase.  The center has served as a haven for clients during past summer heatwaves. ADRC Executive Director Jake Erickson, however, says seniors and those with disabilities can still find help as needed from center staff.




Erickson says the ARDC is working with state and county health officials to work out a planned, phased-in reopening of the center.  He says currently there's no timetable to resume operations. 


Photo courtesy of Door County ADRC Facebook page.

Gas leak closes Sturgeon Bay street

A minor mistake digging closed a Sturgeon Bay street Saturday afternoon.


Members of the Sturgeon Bay Police Department, Sturgeon Bay Fire Department, and Door County  Emergency Services headed to the scene located near 12th Avenue and Utah Street due to the report of smelling gas. Officers at the scene said a gas line was clipped while digging, causing the leak. Sergeant Jason Albertson told that emergency personnel were closing off the portion of Utah Street as a precaution until the city's utilities department could turn off the gas for the area.

School tries to ease staff concern over COVID-19

Gibraltar School District is taking steps to help make staff feel more agreeable about the resumption of in-person instruction. A recent survey in Green Bay showed 18% of the district’s employees were “not at all” comfortable with going back. Superintendent Tina VanMeer says the building will be open to all employees on July 1st, and they are encouraged to tour the new safety precautions that have been put in place. VanMeer does not have a hard number but assumes many workers have some concerns about their safety. The Gibraltar School Building finished renovations in January, and the hope is the unique layout will allow the district to be more adaptive when implementing safeguards to mitigate disease spread.


*Photo courtesy of the Gibraltar Area Schools Facebook page.

Local support for absentee ballot application mailings

State Representative Joel Kitchens and the League of Women Voters are in agreement over the Wisconsin Elections Commission decision to mail out absentee ballot applications for the fall contest to every registered voter.  Kitchens initially proposed the plan in legislation that stalled this spring in committee. In a press release this week, Kitchens said he was glad to see the concept resurrected. LWV Door County’s incoming President, Pat Scieszinski, says the group has long fought to make the ballot box accessible to all legal voters.


Scieszinski says she isn’t overly concerned about fraud. She concedes it does exist, but it’s a small percentage of the vote and outweighed by the damage resulting from disenfranchisement.


Ephraim opts to avoid protecting Hardy Gallery

High water levels are forcing the Village of Ephraim to choose what to protect, and the Anderson Dock is losing out in the near-term. That means the Hardy Gallery is also at risk, especially in late winter, when ice shoves are a possibility. Last week, Ephraim’s Board of Trustees decided to table all mitigation options proposed by an ad hoc working group. The Physical Facilities Committee made the same decision on June 2nd. Trustee Cindy Nelson says the worst-case scenario remains low.


Ephraim opted to commit resources to protect its shorefront. The Board of Trustees is consulting with an outside firm on the best course of action there.


Photo courtesy of The Hardy Gallery website.


Seed library leaning on members for next year

Fresh off a successful distribution of victory garden packets, the Door County Seed Library is already asking its members to start thinking of next year. Come the fall, the organization is preparing to be without its largest commercial donors, says Co-Founder Penne Wilson.


While the spring was cold, there has been plenty of rain, and gardens are expected to produce a hefty bounty of blooms and produce. The seed library is made possible through the effort of several organizations, including the Door County Master Gardeners, Wild Ones of Door County, the U-W Extension, and the Door County Libraries.


Photo courtesy of the Door County Seed Library Facebook page.


Sturgeon Bay "emergency declaration" ends 

The three-month emergency declaration in Sturgeon Bay expired on Friday. Approved initially through May 19 for 60 days, the city council extended it for another 30 more days last month. Mayor David Ward formed a task force to deal with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ward, along with City Administrator Josh Van Lieshout and Council President Dan Williams, became the core of the emergency management team that included a handful of staff and public safety officials. Mayor Ward says having the former Door County Emergency Services Director on the emergency management team was a great resource.



The Emergency Management Team met at least 70 times since its inception.  Ward adds that the city took several steps to respond to the public health crisis, including the closing and now reopening of City Hall to walk-up customers, responding to legislative matters, and easing some regulations temporarily to help employees recover from financial impacts during the shutdown. The Common Council could enact a new emergency declaration to respond to the health crisis if the need arises, Mayor Ward noted.


Transporting your kayak -- Kayak Fishing Series III

I’ve talked about this before, but it’s an important consideration worth touching on again.  How do you plan to transport your kayak?


I’ve talked to many at events who are excited about getting a kayak,  however, they haven’t thought about getting it from home to the water.  The challenge is not as big with lighter sit-in touring and recreational kayaks, which are easy to load on a roof-top rack.  


Sit-on-top fishing kayaks, which are usually wider and heavier, are a different animal.  Add in the even heavier and wider self-propelled fishing kayaks and the challenge is magnified.  Two people can handle most of the fishing kayaks for roof-top transport.  Much easier, especially if you are alone, is a pick-up truck or some sort of kayak trailer.  For the past 10 years I’ve been using a kayak trailer, which makes my fishing outings so much easier and fun.  At most launches I can simply back right up to the water with an easy time loading and unloading.  Also, for storage, I  leave the kayak on the trailer.  Do your research and ask the outfitter you buy from for their suggestions for transport.


I’ve been out on the waters of Door County several times in my kayaks over the past couple of months and continue to appreciate using the various boat and kayak launches with my trailer.  Also, being able to use roads that dead-end at the water to launch, being sure to park off the road.  I used one of these on Little Sturgeon Bay the other day and it worked great!


Smallmouth bass fishing is picking-up but continues to be challenging compared to just a few years ago.  To help protect our fishery, please practice catch, photograph and release, along with getting the bass back in the water quickly.  Some smallies in Northern Door County are still guarding beds, please leave them be and don’t bed fish.  As always, if you have any kayak/kayak fishing questions or questions related to transporting your kayak, please email me at






Ephraim Fire responds to four separate incidents

The last few days have kept the Ephraim Fire Department busy, but fortunately, four response calls turned out to be safety reminders more than emergencies. On Wednesday evening, the Ephraim Fire Department responded to assist a possible Washington Island water rescue that was quickly resolved. Ephraim Fire Chief Justin MacDonald says a Thursday afternoon call concerned unattended cooking in a home near Sister Bay, causing an unpleasant smell.



 McDonald adds that a late Thursday evening call from an observer was for a jet ski in possible distress.  A search by the Ephraim and Gibraltar departments turned up nothing.   Finally, on Friday morning Ephraim Fire along with five other agencies, including the United States Coast Guard, responded when an unoccupied dinghy was located afloat in Eagle Harbor. After an extensive search, the owner's contact information was found. He was notified and stated the vessel had been missing a few days. MacDonald says people should always report lost watercraft immediately. 

COVID-19 Weekend Update: Door County up one, Kewaunee County adds three cases

New positive cases of COVID-19 late this week put Door County at 40 and Kewaunee County at 42 after going several days without having any.  Both counties had reported 39 positive cases at the beginning of this week.  Kewaunee County conducted over 200 more tests in the past week while Door County tested another 199 people.  Door County reports only four active cases while Kewaunee County stands at five. You can find the area's situation updates with this story online. No personal information can be released due to privacy laws.  





Senator applauds absentee voting decision

Approximately 2.7 million voters will receive absentee ballot applications in the mail thanks to a decision by the Wisconsin Elections Commission earlier this week. The commission, made up of three Republicans and three Democrats, approved the measure 6-0 in order to help people who may feel unsafe heading to the polls this fall to still vote. Democratic Senator Dave Hansen says he is happy the absentee ballot form application mailing was approved in a bipartisan matter.

Getting the application does not mean you are ready to vote. Senator Hansen encourages everyone to fill out the paperwork to request an absentee ballot from your municipal clerk.

Kitchens, Jensen hear common themes from voters

The environment, education, and the economy are common themes the candidates running for the Assembly District 1 seat have been hearing as they have started to talk to voters.




Sturgeon Bay Republican Rep. Joel Kitchens says those topics have been creeping back into conversations after the COVID-19 pandemic dominated not just the news, but also his phone lines.



His challenger, Egg Harbor Democrat Kim Delorit Jensen says healthcare has been another common conversation topic for voters.

Rep. Kitchens and Jensen are currently running unopposed in their August primary ahead of the November general election.

Northern Sky Theater turns focus to virtual, fall seasons

The curtains have closed on Northern Sky Theater summer stages this year, but the company hopes to recreate the joy of performing for a virtual audience.  The troupe announced Thursday it would not be bringing “Dad’s Season Tickets” to its indoor stage this summer because of uncertainty surrounding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Northern Sky Theater Artistic Director Jeff Herbst says the decision is painful, but it is the correct one in order to protect its audiences and actors.

Audiences will still be able to connect with the company virtually this summer through its free Northern Sky LIVE and Northern Sky at Home shows on its social media channels as well as reprising its successful ticketed showing of Northern SkyLights.  Its fall productions of "And if Elected" and "Naked Radio" are still scheduled, but subject to change.


Picture courtesy of Northern Sky Theater

Full power ahead for Kinnard Farms

Their tractors on area fields are easily seen, but some of the most unique work being done at Kinnard Farms is underneath four new domes. The Casco operation finished work on their renewable natural gas digester earlier this spring and has been at full production for approximately 10 days. The system captures methane from cow manure, refines it, and ships it out to natural gas markets in California. Owner Lee Kinnard says the process has been fascinating from the very beginning.

In partnership with Kewaunee Renewable Energy, the digester will be able to produce enough renewable natural gas to provide for the needs of close to 2,500 households. 

"Cherries" to line Sturgeon Bay streets

Destination Sturgeon Bay announced Thursday that the 2020 Street Art Project is “Cherries Jubilee”.   The 25 artistic displays with a cherry-theme will line the Sturgeon Bay streets at various storefronts and waterfronts until September when they will be auctioned off.  Marketing and Events Director Carly Sarkis says the spectacle of the cherry artwork is incredible, and a contingency plan is in place if the usual city events are not held later this summer.



Previous artwork themes have included sturgeons and sailboats.  You can find a downloadable map of the 25 Cherry Jubilees below.


Map of Cherry Jubilees   


(photo courtesy of Destination Sturgeon Bay)


Tips on avoiding "swimmers itch"

As hot temperatures make area beaches more inviting for swimming, public health officials are warning people of an itchy rash that can occur after getting out of the water. Door County Sanitarian and Health Educator Chelsea Smies explains the importance of drying off entirely after taking a dip to prevent an allergic reaction called “swimmer’s itch”.



Most cases of Swimmer’s itch do not require medical attention, but the rash can remain for several days. Smies advises the voiding of algae bloom and swimming after heavy rains. You can find more information on Swimmer’s itch from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) below.  


Crops "looking good" early on for farmers

Although the warmer weather came later this spring, area farmers are optimistic that this year’s crops will be better than a year ago.  Rich Olson of Olson Family Farm in southern Door County says just about all his crops are planted and are already progressing nicely.



Olson adds that some specialty crops and green beans are usually planted in late June and early July.  He notes the corn crop is well on its way.



Olson says farmers are hoping for another half-inch of rain soon to keep the crops growing since the area has experienced a recent dry spell.  


Vandalism causes Perry Park curfew 

After giving a fair warning, the Algoma Parks Committee has decided to close the late afternoons of Perry Park due to a littering and vandalism problem.  The Parks and Recreation Department warned the public in late May that if the issues persisted, measures would be taken.  Director Sara Robertson explains the decision. 



Robertson adds that the Parks Department is looking into putting up surveillance cameras at Perry Park to identify the perpetrators.  The summer parks program will have a spotlight on the parks and the importance of keeping them clean.  Perry Park will now be temporarily closed from 3:30 PM until 8:00 AM the next morning. 


(photo courtesy of Algoma Parks Department)  


Non-profits adjust to new normal

Non-profit groups like the Washington Island Lions Club are preparing to give back less in the future because of COVID-19. A University of Wisconsin System Survey showed 93 percent of non-profits saw donations decline and 69 percent have been forced to cut key fundraisers. The Washington Island Lions Club was forced to cancel July’s Fly-In Fish Boil and August’s Island Fair in the name of safety. Member Joel Gunnlauggsson says while that means thousands of dollars will not be raised for local projects, they have also noticed their donation requests are down as well. 


Gunnlaugsson says it was not an easy decision to cancel the events, but they are prepared to tighten their belts over the next several months so they continue to support the island for years to come.


(Photo courtesy of Washington Island Lions Club)


Student involvement crucial to success

The silence at its track and on its baseball and softball diamonds was saddening for Gibraltar Athletic Director Peggy Tanck. COVID-19 claimed the end of the basketball seasons in the state before canceling out the entire spring sports schedule. A National Federation of State High School Associations report shows being involved in sports and other activities help produce healthier behaviors and better educational outcomes, enhance school engagement, and promote positive youth development and life skills. Tanck believes her student-athletes missed interacting with each other on a daily basis during the time away from the building.

As for the fall season, Tanck says it is business as usual until the WIAA rules otherwise.  The WIAA Board of Control will meet next week to discuss details about what a fall season could look like if it is safe to hold events.


Photo submitted by Deanna Reinhardt

Hunter safety more than a course

A lawsuit in northern Wisconsin may pave the way for over 60 kids in Door County to continue their hunter safety education.  Hunting advocacy group Hunter Nation recently sued the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources for canceling a safety course in Oneida County this month.  Door County was forced to call off its hunter safety course earlier this spring because of Governor Tony Evers’ Safer at Home Order. Jay Chaudoir has been involved in Door County’s hunter safety course for over 25 years and says even though it is required, it is the parents that are the best teachers.

You can take the hunter safety course online, but a day of fieldwork is still required. Chaudoir says they will wait until they are given the all-clear to host a course for up to 50 students before scheduling a new date.


Photo submitted previously by the family of Lance Torp

Scholarship hopeful to spur aviation careers

With a handful of airports in Door and Kewaunee Counties, there are options to get involved in the aviation industry.  The Federal Aviation Administration reported back in 2017 that there were 609,000 pilots, which were down from approximately 827,000 in the 1980s. Bill Roethle from the Rio Creek Aviation Foundation says there are job opportunities available, but you have to put the time and money into it.

Roethle says the financial and time commitment required to get involved in the aviation industry are some of the reasons why many young people are staying away. The Rio Creek Aviation Foundation, which hosts educational programs throughout the year, is offering $1,000 scholarships to students looking at an aviation-related career. 


Click here to learn more about the scholarship opportunity


Picture courtesy of the Rio Creek Aviation Foundation Facebook page

Life jackets and cellphones are boating necessities

Door County Sheriff's Department Marine Patrol officers hope boaters relearn a lesson about emergency preparedness.  Three boaters were rescued from their sinking boat on Lake Michigan near Two Rivers.  The U.S. Coast Guard located the boaters with help from their cellphone calls. All were found wearing life vests.  Door County Sheriff's Department Sergeant/Investigator Jason Stenzel, who's part of the marine patrol, says life vests, cellphones, two-way marine radios and flares should be standard emergency equipment for any boater.




Stenzel recommends boaters have a safety equipment checklist they can look at before taking to the water.  While the gear may not ever be used, he says it's best to know it's ready for unexpected situations.

Extra funding for police gear tabled for now

Door County Administrator Ken Pabich says he wouldn’t be surprised if Monday’s resolution providing $10,000 for police protective equipment comes back up in the future. The Door County Finance Committee split on the proposal. Passage requires two-thirds to vote yes, so the measure failed. Pabich was at the meeting, and he termed the lengthy discussion between community groups like Black Lives Matter Door County, elected officials, and law enforcement as positive. Police requested the equipment in case they were asked to provide support to other law enforcement agencies in the state, something that is not unheard of, but rare.


Pabich says that much of the tension on the issue pertains to the emotional reaction that protective helmets and shields evoke.


Summer changing COVID-19 calculus

During a virtual town hall event Wednesday afternoon, Door County Medical Center President and CEO Brian Stephens said some of the metrics developed early on during the COVID-19 pandemic no longer apply. Stephens highlighted the criteria of the Badger Bounce Back plan, noting that only three of the six factors are moving in the right direction. He says that during the warmer summer months, when respiratory illness is relatively rare, it is hard to identify trends.


Additionally, Stephens pointed out the dramatic difference in conditions across the state. Certain counties are being hit much harder than the Door Peninsula. All of these factors mean that local authorities are better equipped than state and national officials to determine what’s best.


State Highway 42 opens early

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation announced the early completion of its construction project in Fish Creek on Wednesday. State Highway 42 was not slated to be finished until next week. The work began last October and included resurfacing, sidewalk, sewer improvements, and adding a turn lane on Shore Road. Businesses are breathing a sigh of relief to see 42 back open before the important Fourth of July holiday.

Boaters returning to the water

Three weeks ago, the Village of Ephraim had just seven boats tied up at its docks. The summer season was off to such a slow start that the Marinas and Moorings Committee had planned to send out a survey to those who had reserved a slip to find out if they intended to use the facility this year. By the time language was agreed upon, conditions had changed so dramatically, the survey was deemed to be unnecessary. Member Bruce Nelson spoke about current conditions at a meeting Tuesday morning.


Other northern Door communities have expressed similar sentiments in recent weeks. It appears foot traffic is returning, from restaurants to the waterfront, at a time when profitability is at its peak.


Asbestos abatement ahead for Sunrise School

As the Sturgeon Bay School District focuses on reopening in the fall, students at Sunrise School will notice new flooring throughout the building when they arrive.  Plans to replace the existing asbestos-based flooring are awaiting final school board approval.  The project is part of the district's continuing renovation efforts and are not connected to work planned under the recently passed referendum.  Superintendent Dan Tjernagel compares it to similar work at other schools during past summer breaks.




Final approval of the Sunrise School asbestos flooring abatement project will be considered when the Sturgeon Bay Board of Education meets on Wednesday, June 17th in the City Hall chambers on Michigan Street at 7:00 PM.

Parish reopens largest churches

Stella Maris services are open to the public again, but not at all six locations within the parish. Secretary Laurie Orthober says that Jacksonport, Washington Island, and Egg Harbor will be slow to restart mass. The reasons are two-pronged. The churches rely on two retired priests to officiate mass in addition to the primary pastor. Both are older, and for health reasons, Stella Maris is reluctant to press them back into duty too soon. Orthober mentioned that even with the reduced schedule, only one service reached the capacity limit of 25 percent set by the Green Bay Diocese.


No timeline has been set for the transition to Phase Three of the reopening plan, which would most likely increase the attendance threshold to 50 percent.


Photo courtesy of the Stella Maris Facebook page.


Algoma Library allowing patrons inside next week

Tuesday morning, during the weekly “Coffee and Conversation” live video on Facebook, Young Adult Services Librarian Braelyn Dempsey announced that the public would be allowed inside the Algoma branch starting Monday. Dempsey says that several policies put in place over the past three months will remain.


There is a capacity limit, set at ten people in addition to the staff on hand. Some form of face covering will be required, as well. Loitering near the entrance and extended visits are also forbidden. Plus, the interlibrary loan system is still frozen, so only selections that are the property of the Algoma Public Library will be available. 


Boys & Girls Club plans July reopening

After several weeks of closure, the Boys & Girls Club of Door County will be reopening its doors to the public on July 8.  Kelsey Dahms, Marketing and Resource Development Director, says the organization has been virtually connecting with their members through the staff posting online videos of classes and projects.



Dahms says the Boys & Girls Club is currently reaching out to parents who registered their children in early spring to make sure they are still interested in the placement this summer.  She adds that the biggest challenge will be handling the limited number of people that will be allowed in the building to comply with safety concerns when the Boys & Girls Club reopens in July. 


(photo courtesy of Boys & Girls Club of Door County)





Panic attacks can be overcome – Mental Health Minute

High levels of anxiety have been reported around the world the past few months.  Sturgeon Bay Psychologist Dr. Dennis White compares the symptoms of a panic attack to those suffering a heart attack.   Panic attacks are extreme forms of anxiety where one’s body and mind reacts like there is immediate danger when there is none.  People staying at home out of fear of contracting the coronavirus can be a form of panic, according to Dr. White.  He says panic, and other forms of anxiety that may be incapacitating, can be overcome.



Dr. White adds that if self-help does not work, many forms of professional treatments have been found effective.  He notes the most common are medication, behavioral therapy, and psychotherapy.  You can listen to Dr. White’s entire Mental Health Minute below.  



KCFP hosts larger Farmers to Families food give away

If you missed out on last week's distribution of fresh fruits and vegetables in Algoma, you'll have another chance on Wednesday.  The Kewaunee County Food Pantry will again give out fresh produce from the U.S.D.A's “Farmers to Families” program.  Pantry President Ken Marquardt says last week's attendance was so well received it was decided to offer another, larger event.



The “Farmers to Families” giveaway is open to anyone in Kewaunee County.  It will be held from 8:30 AM until 10:00 AM at the pantry on Sunset Avenue in Algoma.  The Door County Food Pantry Coalition will hold also hand out “Farm to Families” packages from 5:00 PM-7:00 PM on Friday, June 19th at the First Baptist Church on South Bayshore Drive in Sister Bay.


(photo courtesy of

Algoma Sunday Farmer's Market Closed

There won't be any vendors selling on Sunday mornings this summer at Legion Park near Algoma's lakefront. The Algoma Chamber and Farmer's Market Managers announced Monday the cancellation of the 2020 Algoma Sunday Farmer's Market.   Manager Kristen Knudtson says the decision was based on two factors.  One was the resources needed to comply with safety measures, and the second was that only two vendors had committed this year.



If possible, it will open later this season should vendors show more interest.  The market was to run from this Sunday through October 25.


(Photo courtesy of Algoma Sunday Farmer's Market)




Kewaunee County Jail planning pauses

Planning for the new Kewaunee County public safety building will slow down due to budget concerns. Over the last year, the Kewaunee County Public Safety Facility Study Committee has taken an in-depth look at what it already has in place, visited similar buildings throughout the state, and developed a general layout for the future. The next step is to design the projected $30 million facility. Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski says with the board facing tough budget decisions due to COVID-19 related losses, it would be wise to hit pause on the project for now.

Joski says he looks forward to working with the new board members and other county officials and residents to make a new public safety facility a reality. 



With all of the events unfolding throughout our nation, it is not surprising that some of the issues we had dedicated our time to, took a back seat. As with any organization we must be able to split our attention between those matters which need immediate attention and those which are long term in nature requiring both personnel as well as financial resources. Although our Public Safety Facility Planning Initiative falls into the second of these two categories, it is important to note that the challenge is still there as is the need for continued planning and study.


         This week, the Kewaunee County Board will be given a public presentation by our consultant regarding the work that has already been done, and the path that lies ahead. That path has no doubt been detoured by recent events, however the work that has been done remains relevant.


         The presentation this week will go over our work in Phase One of this project which focused on our current status. This included an evaluation of not just our existing Public Safety Building, but also the many local criminal justice systems which are impacted by the Jail and Public Safety Communications Center. While the study validated what many of us who have worked in this facility already knew, it was an important step to developing an effective plan for moving forward. This phase also resulted in the overall Jail capacity recommendation.


         Based on the outcomes of the Phase One portion of this study, we then embarked upon Phase Two. This phase provided us the opportunity to look at not just our facility and its limitations, but also to view other counties’ approach to overcoming similar challenges and arrive at an effective strategy for not just the housing of inmates, but even more importantly the various programs and services which will ultimately result in lower future incarceration  rates.


         As part of Phase Two we were able to develop a general layout of both the housing areas as well as Administrative and Operational spaces. It was also during this phase that we were given estimates of facility cost and to a certain degree staffing costs. All of these achievements were only possible due to the effective participation of the many dedicated members of the Public Safety Building Planning Committee.


         Typically, the next step would be to embark upon the Phase Three portion of this initiative, however as I stated, we have all been affected by recent events to the point where a pause may be in order. Phase Three would bring us into the building design stage of this project, which by any measure would require a substantial financial commitment from both a capital outlay as well as an ongoing budgetary perspective. However, being the eternal optimist I see this as an opportunity to spend a greater amount of time providing outreach and information to our community so that when the time does arrive, we can all move forward with a firm understanding of not only the need, but the resources that will be required to fill that need.


     I want to again thank those men and women who served on the planning committee. I look forward to working with each and every one of them in the future. I want to thank those members of the County Board who have also invested a great deal of time in the study of this project thus far. I have no doubt that this community understands that there is in fact a dire need to address the shortcomings of our current facility, and I am looking forward to what I hope is a continued dialogue for further understanding and awareness.

Large gatherings, schools complicate COVID picture

Expect more questions than answers when it comes to when large gatherings can take place again and what school will look like in the fall. Recommended social distancing guidelines have forced many attractions like The Hill Raceway to take the summer off in the interest of safety. There is concern that recent protests across the country could result in a spike of COVID-19 cases. Door County Public Health Manager Sue Powers said in her joint Facebook Live appearance with Door County Medical Center Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jim Heise that there are many factors to consider, especially as what we know about the virus changes.

As for school in the fall, Powers said the department is working with the county’s five districts on plans to reopen.

The Wisconsin Public Health Department is expected to release guidelines for schools to reopen on June 22nd.  

Traffic to Washington Island picking up

As the state has slowly opened up over the last month, so has the activity on Washington Island. Last week the Washington Island Ferry increased its daily roundtrips from six to 11 and added a pair of Friday night trips to meet the demand. Monday marked the first day the island’s Mosling Recreation Center pool was open to members on a trial basis, which was almost two weeks after it opened its weight room. Though it is not at the level it has been in the past, Washington Island Chairperson Richard Tobey says he is happy to see people feel comfortable visiting again.

While some events like the Washington Island Scandinavian Festival have been canceled, Tobey says they are working with the Door County Public Health Department to see if events like the Death’s Door BBQ competition can still take place with the proper precautions.

Fair-less Fairest making the best of it

June Dairy Month is providing the community involvement opportunity that Kewaunee County Fairest of the Fair Kiley Pagel has been looking for since she officially received her crown in January. Pagel and her Junior Fairest, Morgan Servaes, are usually a few events into their reign by this time of the year as they ramp up their promotion of the Kewaunee County Fair. COVID-19 has changed that with many of those events canceled or postponed. This month she teamed up with the Kewaunee County Dairy Promotion Committee to distribute ice cream at area schools and supermarkets. A member of a dairy farm family herself, Pagel says it has been nice to finally lend a helping hand in the community.

She is not alone as a county Fairest without a fair, with approximately 40 of them canceled for 2020. Pagel says they are connecting with the other Fairests in the region to see how they could collaborate.


Picture courtesy of the Kewaunee County Fairest of the Fair Program



Sturgeon Bay needs "No Wake" cooperation from boaters

To reduce the potential damage to shoreline caused by marine travel in Sturgeon Bay, the Sturgeon Bay Harbor Commission asks boaters to slow down and be mindful of the impact their vessel's wake can have on shoreline property. Gary Nault, chair of the Sturgeon Bay Harbor Commission and councilmember, says the extremely high water levels are impacting shorelines so much, residents are asking for an extension of the no-wake zones on the bay. He says the no-wake zone has expanded in the past and has been a hot topic the 15 years that he has been on the Harbor Commission.



Nault estimates that some city-owned property along the shoreline will cost over $650,000 to be repaired. He hopes by boaters operating responsibly and with courtesy to shoreline owners, some erosion can be curtailed, and no extension of the present no-wake zone will be needed.



Car dealers going digital to accommodate buyers

As consumers are looking to make their next vehicle purchases, local auto dealerships adapt to more digital storefronts.  A recent COVID-19 Impact Study by Cox Automotive showed that two-thirds of all Americans are not delaying a vehicle purchase this summer.  However, 61 percent of those surveyed are much less likely or somewhat less likely to visit a dealership.   Missy Allen, General Sales Manager of Jim Olson Motors in Door County, says the current times have moved the dealership into a newer internet age in all aspects of the car business.



Allen adds that online interaction by customers helps to speed up the automobile buying and servicing process.  She notes that the three-month shutdown of production of new vehicles by the major automobile manufacturers has been one of the significant challenges facing local dealers looking for inventory.

Virtual Crossroads Trail Run starts Tuesday

Organizers set up the routes for the 2K and 5K routes for the 11th annual Crossroads Trail Run on Monday. The popular trail run for runners and walkers went to a virtual format this year due to the COVID-19 health crisis and can be completed anytime between now and Saturday. The event can happen anywhere in the world and include a 10K route as well.  This year’s race theme is called “Running the Distance….at a Distance”.   Crossroads Trail Run committee member Deb Whitelaw Gorski and Race Director Gretchen Schmelzer share the perks that all racers will receive who participate.



All proceeds from the Crossroads Trail Run benefit the educational programs at Crossroads and the “ski for free” events held during the winter. You can find registration information with the link below.

COVID-19 Update;  Kewaunee County reports two more positive cases

The increased testing throughout the area has not yielded many new cases of COVID-19 in the past week. Kewaunee County reported two more positive cases of COVID-19 over the weekend, while Door County remained the same. Both counties have reported 39 positive cases so far, with only two remaining actives in each county and, collectively, 3500 negative test results. An additional 286 tests were conducted in Door County last week, while Kewaunee County tested 165 more people.  Kewaunee County's only COVID-19-related death was reported over two months ago. Door County has confirmed three COVID-19 related deaths with the last one back on May 1st. You can find the area's situation updates with this story online. No personal information can be released due to privacy laws.   




Door County prepared for tax shortfall

Door County officials are taking the necessary steps to be able to absorb a nearly $1 million hit to its tax revenues. The state’s Legislative Fiscal Bureau announced last week that tax revenues in May were $66 million below what was collected at the same time the previous year. The state’s Safer at Home order is to blame for the drop. Door County Administrator Ken Pabich projects the county’s own tax collections will be off by about $1 million. He says the county considers possible downturns in the economy when making the budget.

Pabich adds they are also holding off on some expenditures and taking a closer look at all of its operations to see if they have to dip into their reserves or make additional cuts. 

Schleis elected to dairy board

The District 10 seat on the Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin Board of Directors will remain in Kewaunee County for the next three years. Tasha Schleis of Kewaunee was elected to the board earlier this month, replacing fellow Kewaunee County dairy farmer Randy Ebert. Schleis’ goal on the board is simple: help the state’s dairy farmers continue to farm after several challenging years.

Schleis says she is encouraged by the number of women on the Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin Board of Directors, which will stand at 13 when Schleis begins her term July 1st.


Picture from Kewaunee County Farm Technology Days, where she served as the Youth Committee Liason

Sturgeon Bay smoking ordinance adds vaping

The City of Sturgeon Bay could add vaping to its current smoking ordinance when the common council meets on Tuesday.  The current smoking ordinance does not mention electronic cigarettes in it, but it does restrict where people can  and cannot light up in the city. Last year, the United States raised the legal age for buying any kind of tobacco products to 21, which was months before the city put a similar restriction on electronic cigarettes. The penalties for smoking inside public buildings and many private businesses are $50 for the first offense and $75 for every infraction after that. In other business, the Sturgeon Bay Common Council will discuss its lease with Sarter Marine Towing Company in closed session when it meets on Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Graham Park project breaks ground

Before the ground was broken for improvements at Graham Park, Sturgeon Bay Mayor David Ward highlight the other changes in store for the city’s working waterfront. Representatives from Destination Sturgeon Bay, Sterling Landscape Design, and the city helped commemorate the occasion that officially kicked off the project, which will include gardens, amphitheater seating, and free community games when it is finished next May. City administrator Josh Van Lieshout says it is great when the public and private sectors can join together for a project like this.

The city is also working to improve the west waterfront with a public promenade near the Door County Maritime Museum, which is working on its own tower project. Destination Sturgeon Bay Executive Director Pam Seiler told that 75 percent of the project’s funding has already been raised with the rest coming from the sale of brick pavers, trees, and other park amenities. Sterling Landscape Design is donating its services for the project, including five years of maintenance as a part of the city’s Adopt a Park program.

Visitors' most prominent question: What's open?

Louise Howson from the Sister Bay Advancement Association presented to the Village Board Tuesday night about the state of summer business. She noted that a couple of hotels in the area were fully occupied on Saturday night, with overall bookings down roughly 20 percent compared to this time last year. Howson said retail was also showing positive signs, especially on the weekend. Traffic during the week remains sluggish, though. Things could be looking up for late summer, and early fall as Howson says she is fielding phone calls in recent weeks from people planning on making the trip to Door County looking for normalcy.


Dining in at a restaurant is generally considered one of the riskier activities to engage in regarding COVID-19. If there is demand for that, the hope is that patrons will be happy to stay at area lodgings and shop the offerings at retail stores. Only four Sister Bay restaurants do not offer a dine-in option currently.


Storm and high waters challenge Crescent Beach

High water levels on Lake Michigan and severe storms continue to pose erosion threats to Crescent Beach in Algoma.  Heavy rains and high winds have combined to create wave action that limits the use of the popular beach while accumulating debris.  Algoma Parks and Recreation Director Sara Robertson says municipal employees have been quick to clean up the beach after weather events, which are unlike any in recent memory.




Robertson says the city will continue to clean up Crescent Beach as needed following weather events.  However, she says there is little the city can do to stop erosion damage other than wait for water levels to subside naturally.

Midsummer's Music plans virtual season

The Midsummer's Music  30th Anniversary summer season will go on with fewer performances and on a virtual venue.  The Sister Bay-based organization currently plans to offer four or five performances rather than the usual nine events.  This summer's programs, however, will be performed online or through social media due to COVID-19 concerns.  Midsummer's Music Assistant Artistic Director Allison Fleck says virtual performances by the Griffon String Quartet convinced the group to proceed with a virtual 2020 season.




Fleck says Midsummer's Music may yet hold live concerts this summer if conditions allow.  She says a decision on live performances will hopefully be made by August 1st.

Residential customers more likely to struggle paying electric bill

Sturgeon Bay Utilities is seeing its residential customers fall behind on their bills more so than commercial ones. Given the fact that many businesses saw steep declines in sales, or were shuttered entirely, that result may seem surprising. General Manager Jim Stawicki says it was easier to be proactive with their smaller commercial client base compared with the thousands of residential customers.


The moratorium on shutoffs is still in effect even as foreclosures and evictions become permissible again. Stawicki advises customers to avoid getting too far behind before seeking help through deferred payments or other means. Sturgeon Bay Utilities is helping local businesses by rewarding consumers too. Through the Community Recharge Program, anyone who purchases a $50 gift card from Destination Sturgeon Bay gets an additional $25 free.


Find fantastic beasts at the Door County Library

Monday marks the start of the virtual summer reading program at the Door County Library, and imaginations are sure to run wild as this year’s theme is fantasy. At 9:00 AM, the Lavender Library Lady will be telling the true story of The Three Little Pigs. Assistant Librarian Morgan Mann says you can expect several Brothers Grimm tales to get a similar treatment.


To log your reading virtually, kids must download the Beanstack app, available for free through computer or phone. Hitting different goals allows readers to win raffle tickets that can net them a free book. Gift certificates to area businesses will also be available as a reward.


Vehicle accidents remain low in southern Door County

COVID-19 reduced traffic across the Door Peninsula in the spring, which had some positive effects, namely fewer serious vehicle crashes needing the response of the Southern Door Fire Department. Member Kim Starr says that collisions are still down, even after the state’s reopening and the start of the summer season. Starr points out that trends in the department’s district are a good barometer for the county as a whole.


Other calls, such as traditional fire responses, have remained steady through the spring. Starr says saturated ground makes it difficult to get ladder trucks to isolated structures located away from roads and driveways.


Fountain, games, gardens in Graham Park's future

Supporters of Graham Park in Sturgeon Bay call it one of the city's jewels and plan to help it sparkle a bit more.  Destination Sturgeon Bay will mark the beginning of the Graham Park Project with a groundbreaking ceremony on Monday, June 15th at 10:00 A.M.  Improvements will create quadrants that will offer game areas, amphitheater seating for relaxation, gardens and a fountain by local artist Rob Soukup. Destination Sturgeon Bay Executive Director Pam Seiler says nearly 75-percent of the funding for the Graham Park Project has been raised.  The remaining funds will come through sales of park fixtures.




Sterling Landscape Design is donating all of its work on the Graham Park Project including five-years of maintenance. Volunteers will be recruited to maintain park gardens. The project is scheduled for completion by May 2021. 


(Photo courtesy of Destination Sturgeon Bay)

Emergency food assistance eligibility expanded

More people in Kewaunee and Door Counties may now qualify for the federal Emergency Food Assistance Program.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture changed income guidelines beginning this month.  Kewaunee County Food Pantry President Ken Marquardt says residents who were once unable to get help through the program should check out the new guidelines.




Marquardt says the new income guidelines are currently in place.  You can learn whether you meet the new Federal Emergency Food Assistance Program income requirements by clicking here  and look under the heading “New Clients”.

Big Brothers Big Sisters in need of mentors

COVID-19 stressed everyone in some capacity, and children are no exception. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Door County says that is expected to drive up the need for new mentors. If you are interested in volunteering with the group, enrollment can be completed online. Director Patty O’Rourke says the organization is doing video conferencing to create matches, but true chemistry can’t be known until two people physically meet.


Big Brothers Big Sisters also does site-based matching through various school districts. O’Rourke hopes that can return in the fall.


Ephraim consulting on best solution for high water

During Tuesday’s Ephraim Board of Trustees meeting, local officials winnowed down five options to help protect from high water levels to two. One idea being considered is to increase the elevation of the already existing stone wall with a concrete apron in support. The dimension stone is more economical, but there was concern about whether it is waterproof. The other is a sheet pile wall whose main drawback is the expected cost. Estimates run in excess of a half-million dollars. Trustee Ken Nelson suggested seeking outside help.


There is consensus among the group to begin work in the fall after a final plan of action is selected.


Door County 4-H starting pen pal program

Under regular circumstances, foreign exchange students would be arriving in the region around this time. Several area organizations help facilitate that rite of passage, including the Door County 4-H. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the group is fostering connections abroad in a different way. For the first time, local students are welcome to participate in the Summer Pen Pal Program organized at the national level. Extension Door County 4-H Youth Development Educator Dawn Vandevoort says after months of quarantine, students are ready to be social again.


Students must be between 12 and 18 years old. They are required to communicate at least once a month with their partner and complete a one-page summary at the end of the summer. 



Algoma Utilities offering grant opportunities

Various individuals and groups are eligible to apply for two grants being offered by WPPI Energy through Algoma Utilities. The first has been provided before and is specifically for nonprofits and other charitable organizations. The Community Contribution Grant can be used for economic development projects, youth literacy endeavors, and more. This year, the partners have rolled out the COVID-19 Community Recharge Program, which is based on need, according to Office Manager Nancy Johnson.


Applications for both grants are due by July 6th. More information is available here

Door County dealing with elder abuse

With Door County having an older demographic that is increasingly aging, local agencies are looking to help curb concerns of elder abuse.   Help of Door County Executive Director Milly Gonzales says that although older people in Door County are more active and independent, the statistics show that Door County is experiencing an increase in elder abuse.  She shares a few of the signs of potential elder abuse.



Gonzales adds that it is even more important than ever to check on the wellbeing of the elderly.  Elder abuse can come in many forms, including emotional, neglect, and financial abuse.  Monday, June 15, is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.  


Celebrating the significance of Flag Day 

This Sunday is Flag Day and many area homes and businesses will be displaying the stars and stripes on buildings and flagpoles. Kewaunee County Veterans Officer Robert Stearns says the American flag and Flag Day both carry a special meaning for veterans.  He says despite the restrictions still in place for large gatherings, the flag still represents coming together as a nation. 



Flag Day commemorates the adoption of the United States flag on June 14, 1777.  President Woodrow Wilson officially proclaimed June 14 as Flag Day back in 1916.    


Liberty Grove Historical Society celebrating 20th year virtually

The Liberty Grove Historical Society will celebrate the 20-year history of the organization when they hold their annual meeting next Monday.  Due to COVID-19 safety precautions, the conference will be done online while it commemorates the anniversary with a video called "20 years in 20 Minutes".  Liberty Grove Historical Society volunteer Jan Newport says the celebration this year started late last year with a unique acquisition.



Another addition to the historical society will be the Neptune II fishing boat that currently resides at Gills Rock.  Newport says the buildings will not be open this summer due to safety precautions, but weekly virtual highlights of the buildings' contents will be showcased on social media.  You can find May's online tour video below.  


(photo courtesy of Liberty Grove Historical Society)




Safer outdoor burning requires constant attention

As outdoor fires become more prevalent in June, area fire departments are warning residents to use extreme caution when conducting any brush burning.  Safety recommendations before you start backyard debris burning include keeping all fires a minimum of 75 feet from all buildings, never using a flammable liquid to start a fire and to check for local burning bans or restrictions.  Brussels-Union- Gardner Assistant Fire Chief Jim Wautier adds another important safety tip for any outdoor burning.



No burning bans are currently in place in Door or Kewaunee Counties but you should obtain a burning permit from your local municipal official.  You can find a complete list of safety tips for the open burning season with the link below.

Town chair happy to see people coming back

Liberty Grove Town Board Chairperson John Lowry is happy to see activity at local businesses as people warm up to the idea of traveling. Lowry made headlines in the New York Times at the beginning of pandemic, asking non-residents to stay away to help the community as a whole keep healthy and to not tax local medical services. The town was one of the first to issue an emergency declaration so it could receive emergency aid to recuperate some of its coronavirus-related expenses. Although he would like to see more masks, Lowry says the feedback they have received has been positive.

Lowry hopes things continue to go a little bit closer to normal even if it still looks different than in the past. The town of Liberty Grove extended their emergency declaration earlier this month to June 30th to match the Village of Sister Bay.

FFA clubs in limbo

School may be out of session, but summer is usually when the area’s FFA clubs begin to ramp up their activities. This year will not be like other years for certain for the Sevastopol FFA Club, which has not met since schools closed across the state in March. Many of their annual summer events like the dairy breakfast, trips like the state FFA convention, and the Door County Fair have been cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns. Sevastopol FFA Advisor Dale Carlson says he knows the kids have been antsy, but they understand the situation as well.

The Sevastopol FFA Club has been able to do some positive things in the community despite the restrictions, including placing flags at gravesites for deceased veterans on Memorial Day and cleaning up ditches as a part of the Adopt-A-Highway program.

Friends groups excited for parks' reopening

Groups like the Friends of Peninsula State Park are happy to see people being able to hike, bike and camp in Wisconsin’s state parks again. Although Door County’s state parks remained open during Governor Tony Evers’ Safer at Home Order, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources reopened them to camping just last week. Health concerns prevented Friends groups from doing their usual clean-up days in the spring to help the parks get ready for an influx of visitors. Volunteer Steve Strucely says park staff did a great job keeping up with the projects they usually help support.

To make up for time lost, Strucely says the organization will likely hold a fall clean-up day to take care of some of the extra work Mother Nature provided over the winter and spring months.

Headstart crucial for Gibraltar's remote learning success

Gibraltar Secondary School Principal Gereon Methner says the community support made the transition from in-person to remote classes easier this spring. For the last few years, Gibraltar Area School District has been able to provide devices to every student and invest in learning platforms like Seesaw before rolling out their remote learning options earlier in the school year. Methner hopes they can address challenges with student mental health when they tweak their remote learning curriculum over the summer.

Methner is hopeful parents and students give guidance through a survey performed by the school district on what went well and what needs to improve before next school year begins.



Sturgeon Bay seeing spike in compost site use

The compost site on Shiloh Road in Sturgeon Bay has seen increased use this spring. Municipal Services Director Mike Barker says with people spending more time working in their yards, the brush piles at the compost site are mounting. The accumulated piles of brush will be ground up into wood chips next week, along with the composting of leaves and lawn waste.  That, according to Barker, is not usually done until much later in summer.  He asks users of the compost site to follow the rules.



To discourage improper dumping, the City of Sturgeon Bay had approved a change of hours, fees, and operational supervision earlier this year. Barker notes that those changes have not yet been implemented.  The compost site is open from daylight to dusk and free to Sturgeon Bay residents. Non-residents can get permits at the Municipal building to utilize the compost site for drop-off and the purchase of wood chips.   


Luxemburg-Casco High School ranks top five in Green Bay area

The school year is over, but one area high school recently garnered special recognition by a national publication.  The Luxemburg-Casco High School ranked as a top-five high school within the Green Bay metro area. According to the annual U.S. News & World Report Best High School Rankings, L-C also finished in the top 20 percent of schools nationally for the second consecutive year.  Superintendent Glenn Schlender says the teamwork between the educators, staff, and parents makes for a great partnership in assisting student success.


Luxemburg-Casco High School is placed 113th out of 453 schools ranked within Wisconsin.  The school rankings are based on their performances on state-required tests, graduation, and how well they prepare students for college. 
You can find the rankings for all area schools in the Green Bay Metro with the link below.

Summer fun vehicles need proper insurance

With motorcycles, recreational vehicles, and watercraft being used extensively during the upcoming months, people are reminded to check with their local insurance agents to make sure they are covered.  Special vehicles may be treasured toys for adults, but the responsibility of finding insurance coverage may not be as fun.  Nicole Kirsten of Robertson Ryan & Associates in Kewaunee says it is always a good idea to review your policies.



Kirsten says riders on existing policies work well and are a good way to bundle more than one type of insurance together. She notes though that owners of fishing charter businesses should make sure their boats are under a commercial policy and not on their insurance.


The Haunted Mansion season canceled

One of Southern Door School District's biggest annual fundraisers will not be happening this fall.  The Haunted Mansion, which is held at Door County KOA during October, has been canceled for this year.  According to a social media post by the Southern Door School District on Thursday, the decision was made out of concern for the safety and health of the community, mansion volunteers and visitors throughout the state.  Preparations are made with planning and construction in June, and the core team determined that the cancellation was necessary.  This year would have been the 15th anniversary of the Haunted Mansion, which earned over $60,000 in donations for the Southern Door School District in 2019.




DCMC takes next steps for medical services

Door County Medical Center is continuing to ease up on some of the restrictions it put in place due to COVID-19 concerns. Elective surgeries started back up over a month ago and hospital staff did what it could to eliminate people from spending long periods of time in their hospital and clinic’s waiting rooms.  Once they are inside their facilities, Door County Medical Center is requiring visitors to wear a mask unless medically impossible and practice safe social distancing. Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jim Heise says although they are encouraging people without urgent or emergency needs to use telemedicine options, they also want patients to not be afraid to come to the hospital.

For people visiting loved ones at the hospital, those restrictions remain in place with each patient care area having their own guidelines. 



4-H takes steps towards normal

4-H club members in Door and Kewaunee Counties are eager to tackle a slimmed-down summer schedule. Fairs, the state 4-H Horse Expo and overnight camping trips have all been recently canceled, last weekend’s Wisconsin Livestock Breeders Association shows brought a sense of normalcy for some members. With small group meetings being able to start up again at the beginning of July, Kewaunee County 4-H Educator Jill Jorgensen says she knows the area’s clubs are anxious.

Until then, 4-H clubs will rely on virtual programming to connect with each other and their special interest areas . That includes this weekend’s Kewaunee County 4-H Time and Talent fundraiser, which features a number of items donated by the organization’s youth.  

Home build to begin in July

The Martin family is getting closer to seeing their dream home become a reality. Door County Habitat for Humanity will begin excavating the site located on Logerquist Road in Baileys Harbor at the end of June before the first home build volunteers start working on July 2nd. With a late start to the build and working in a part of the county they have not been in for several years, Door County Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Lori Allen is playing with some ideas to boost volunteer participation.

The organization is working on a groundbreaking ceremony date for later this month. Door County Habitat for Humanity is looking for volunteers to help work on the project and drop off treats for their build days on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Decision on absentee voting efforts delayed

Approximately 2.7 million absentee voting applications aimed at Wisconsin residents are not heading to the post office quite yet. The Wisconsin Elections Commission delayed Wednesday’s vote one week while it works on the final wording of the mailing. States like Michigan, New York, and Wisconsin are pushing for more people to vote absentee just in case another health emergency is declared this fall. Common Cause Wisconsin Executive Director Jay Heck says by pushing absentee voting now, he hopes municipal clerks will not have to suffer through the same crunch they had in April when over 1.2 million ballots were requested for the spring election.

Proponents of mail-in voting say it would encourage more people to participate in the election while critics believe it could open the door for fraud. The Wisconsin Elections Commission approved a grant to municipalities to help cover some of the costs of the application mailing.

Tips on having a better "green thumb"

The planting of local flower gardens may be a few weeks into the season, but the task of protecting and maintaining horticulture in the area has only begun.  Larry Maas of Maas Floral & Greenhouse in Sturgeon Bay says homeowners that wish to keep their plants looking great this summer should continually water and include a regular dose of fertilizer.



Maas recommends removing spent flowers from ornamental plants. That maintenance is called “deadheading” and helps to trick the plant into forming new flower buds. You can find more tips on summer flower and plant care with the link below.

Algoma hosts Farms to Families program

Farms to Families food aid is coming to Algoma this week.  This marks the second time the USDA fresh vegetable program has been offered in Kewaunee County.  Boxed produce will be available  Thursday, June 11th at the Kewaunee County Food Pantry.  Ken Marquardt, the pantry's president, says everyone is eligible to take part in the food giveaway.




The Farms to Families food distribution runs from 11:00 AM and 1:00 PM Thursday, June 11th at the Kewaunee County Food Pantry on Sunset Avenue in Algoma.

COVID Community testing yields no positives in Door County

Last week, the National Guard, along with volunteers and other medical professionals, administered community testing for COVID-19 at the Door County Justice Center in Sturgeon Bay. Public Health Director Sue Powers says that roughly 400 tests yielded no positive results in Door County with less than a handful of confirmed cases identified in residents of Brown and Kewaunee Counties.


One reason for the low positive percentage is that Tuesday’s testing was set aside for large employers in the area and specific occupations. No symptoms had to be exhibited to be examined on that day. Door County has two active COVID-19 cases (39 overall); just three exist in Kewaunee (37 total).


In search of Cove Resort remnants

Research is underway to guide a future archaeological dig to find evidence of a once-grand Door County resort.  The Cove Resort near Ida Bay was opened in 1901 by Myron Lawrence and is believed to have covered part of what's now the Crossroads at Big Creek nature preserve. Emily Rux, the Crossroad's archaeologist in-residence, says the Cove was an extravagant getaway for urban visitors.




The Cove Resort's main building was destroyed by fire in the 1930s leaving only cabins for fewer guests. So Lawrence decided not to rebuild.  Rux hopes to determine whether cellar holes found in the Ida Bay preserve were once part of the resort.




Rux hopes people can help target the location of a future dig by sharing personal historic accounts or photos and drawings they may have of the Cove Resort.

Door County jury trials still months away

It could be September until a case is tried before a jury in Door County Circuit Court. District Attorney Colleen Nordin says nothing on the upcoming docket involves a request for a speedy trial, which allows the court to take its time when scheduling proceedings that require a lot of people to be involved. Wisconsin law does not set a mandatory timeframe as far as completing trials where defendants have waived their right to a quick resolution. Still, Nordin says that fundamental fairness comes into play.


The hope is that when juries are seated again, masks will not be necessary. 


Door County Y considering closure of the Barker Childcare Center

Last week at a meeting of the Door County YMCA’s Board of Directors, serious consideration was given to closing the Barker Childcare Center on Egg Harbor Road this September. The situation remains in flux as community support is being sought to help keep the Sturgeon Bay facility running. Annual Campaign Director Alyssa Dantoin says daycare has not been a boon to the bottom line for the Y historically. Still, strong results from general operations have allowed the Barker Center to continue to function. Due to challenges related to COVID-19, the safety net no longer exists.


Dantoin says the Door County YMCA is seeing roughly 20 percent of regular traffic since reopening and patience will be required until all members feel comfortable returning.  


Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire celebrates 90th anniversary

June 23rd marks a milestone for the Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Department, and they’re celebrating by giving back to others. Chief Chris Hecht says there are plans for a hot dog and brat event to help support area food pantries. The department will be hosting a soft open house where residents can trade a non-perishable food item for a meal. With school lunch programs and the Door County Meals Cooperative wrapping up, a pantry network is stepping up to help meet demand. Hecht says there are four primary churches involved, but some have more restrictive schedules than others.


Stella Maris Catholic Church in Fish Creek and Shepherd of the Bay are also taking part. Hecht noted that the pantries are being hit hard causing a significant drain of supplies.


Deer activity a threat to motorists

Drivers should take some extra precautions when traveling due to increased deer activity. There are two times of the year when deer tend to be on the move, and that includes early June when does are giving birth. In the past three days, there have been two car-deer accidents, according to Deputy Chief Pat McCarty of the Door County Sheriff’s Office. McCarty says there is no simple answer to avoiding a crash.


They tend to be most active around sunrise and sunset as they forage for food. Accidents involving deer are not typically severe for the driver or passengers that are involved. Minor property damage is the most common consequence.


West Waterfront Promenade Plans moving forward

The west side redevelopment in Sturgeon Bay of a promenade is progressing with hopes of starting work in the fall.  At last week’s Sturgeon Bay Common Council meeting, Community Development Director Marty Olejniczak shared details of the upcoming addition to the city’s waterfront.  He notes the status progression of the design plans from 30 percent to 60 percent for the promenade after public input.



Representatives from Cedar Corporation and SRF Consulting group presented updated plans for the new promenade that will be built between the two bridges on the west side waterfront.   Mayor David Ward noted in the meeting that hopes are for the entire project to be completed by early May of 2021. 


(photo courtesy of City of Sturgeon Bay)  


More significant swimming safety concerns arise this summer

Higher Lake Michigan water levels and the closure of public pools due to the coronavirus have many local public safety officials concerned about a potential “perfect storm” with more people flooding the beaches to cool off and swim.  The Peninsula’s shoreline erosion has made for less beach area and more significant challenges for people to swim in the lakes or bays safely.  Door County Public Health’s Registered Sanitarian and Health Educator Chelsea Smies says beachgoers should take general beach safety measures and follow COVID-19 guidelines set down by the CDC this summer.  She advises people never to swim alone and to heed other precautions.



The National Weather Service issues a daily beach hazard map showing risks to swimmers.  This week is Great Lakes Beach Hazard & Water Safety Awareness Week.  You can find the safety tips below.  


Emotional price of anger can be harmful -- Mental Health Minute

The psychological and emotional toll brought about by hostile actions can lead to harmful outcomes for both adults and children, according to Sturgeon Bay Psychologist Dr. Dennis White.  White says there appears to be a rise in rude, uncivil behavior in public and private life.  He says uncivil actions can be very destructive.



Dr. White suggests following the nine steps set forward by the Door County Civility Project in regulating our conduct.



You can listen to Dr. White’s entire Mental Health Minute on civility below.



Fatality and drivers in Sister Bay crash identified

The drivers and deceased victim from the two-vehicle crash in Sister Bay last Sunday have been identified.  According to the Door County Sheriff’s Department news release, 89-year old Rita M. Bloedel of Sturgeon Bay died in the accident.  Five others were injured in Sunday’s crash.  According to the initial investigation by the Door County Sheriff’s Department, 75-year-old Bruce Lamb of Janesville was driving a 2019 Lincoln MKC that crossed the centerline heading southbound on Bay Shore Drive when he struck another vehicle head-on driven by 64-year-old Susan Dart of Maribel.  Bloedel, a passenger in the 2019 Buick Encore driven by Dart, died from her injuries. The two drivers and three other passengers were transported to Door County Medical Center.  The Wisconsin State Patrol Reconstruction Unit is assisting the Door County Sheriff’s Office with analyzing what occurred at the crash scene.  No other information is being released at this time and the crash remains under investigation. The accident closed State Highway 42 for six hours on Sunday afternoon.



News Release from Door County Sheriff's Office


Orchards head into summer in good shape

The weather may have gotten tricky at times, but Hillside Apples owner Bill Roethle believes his crop will be good again this year. The southern part of the state had to deal with near-frost conditions in the middle of May and northeast Wisconsin had some heavy rains to contend with just as apple and cherry trees were reaching full blossom. After surveying his Casco orchard, Roethle believes they will still have an average to slightly above average crop this year.

Roethle says the threat of COVID-19 may change his store operations a little bit when apples start coming off the trees this fall. He believes people will still come to pick their own apples because people will want to get outside and it is easy to socially distance at his orchard.

Cana Island Lighthouse work continues

If the high water levels allow, visitors to Cana Island will see some changes this summer. A partnership between the Door County Parks Department and the Door County Maritime Museum, the welcome and interpretative center is the newest building on Cana Island. The facility is part of phase three of the Cana Island Restoration Project and will feature new exhibits as well as serve as the new space for the museum shop and admissions office. A nature trail was also added to the park to give people some extra space to explore. Entering its second full week of operation, Door County Maritime Museum Deputy Director Sam Perlman says Cana Island is in great shape.

As soon as fundraising is completed, the Door County Maritime Museum will begin phase four of the project which will restore the keeper’s quarters. Although you cannot climb the lighthouse tower now, you can still get some unique views of it this weekend as part of the museum’s Spring Lighthouse Festival.

Flexibility key to 2020 for Sevastopol

Sevastopol School District families will have to remain flexible through the next school year as administrators work on what it may look like this fall. Sevastopol Superintendent Kyle Luedtke lauded parents for adapting to an academic year gone virtual after the state closed school buildings in March. The school’s construction schedule for its referendum project will start the year two weeks earlier than usual with the first day of classes slated for August 24th. COVID-19 concerns will also affect school families this fall as the district weighs out options for food service, busing, and more. Luedtke says they are currently working on three different options.

All plans will have to be approved by the Door County Public Health Department. Luedtke says they are working with Door County’s other superintendents and another committee that meets weekly to best prepare staff members and families for what may occur this fall.

Campaigning during a pandemic

For those running for office locally this fall, campaigning and collecting nomination signatures was more of a challenge than other years. The COVID-19 pandemic required candidates to think of ways to connect to potential voters without violating social distancing rules and Safer at Home orders. First Assembly District Rep. Joel Kitchens says being an incumbent helped, but he relied on phone calls and snail mail to connect with prospective voters.

Running against the Sturgeon Bay Republican is Democratic challenger Kim Delorit Jensen. She says pop-up events throughout the district helped her get the signatures needed and talk to voters she otherwise may have not met.

In addition to the State Assembly and U.S. Congress races, Door County will see a contested race for Door County Treasurer. 


Congressional District 8

Democrat: Amanda Stuck, Appleton

Republican: Rep. Mike Gallagher (i), Green Bay


Assembly District 1

Democrat: Kim Delorit Jensen, Egg Harbor

Republican: Joel Kitchens (i), Green Bay


Kewaunee County District Attorney

Democrat: Andrew Naze (i), Luxemburg


Kewaunee County Clerk

Democrat: Jamie Annoye (i)


Kewaunee County Treasurer

Republican: Michelle Dax (i)


Kewaunee County Register of Deeds

Democrat: Germaine Bertrand (i)


Door County District Attorney

Republican: Colleen C. Nordin (i), Sturgeon Bay


Door County Clerk

Republican: Jill M. Lau (i)


Door County Treasurer

Democrats: Jan Arbter Anderson and Ashley DeGrave

Republicans: Christine A. Moe, Ryan J. Schley and Lisa M. Hart


Door County Register of Deeds

Republican: Carey Petersilka (i)

Kewaunee County extends deferral of small business loan payments

To help in the recovery from the COVID-19 shutdown, Kewaunee County has extended the temporary deferral of the Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) for small businesses another four months.  The Kewaunee County Finance Committee agreed with the postponement of all principal and interest payments through September 30.  The original Emergency Order had allowed deferral for April and May.  Kewaunee County Administrator Scott Feldt explains the type of small businesses that are benefiting from the RLF program.



Kewaunee County has nine businesses with about $425,000 in outstanding loans currently.  Those businesses can always have the option to continue making payments.  Feldt adds that the Revolving Loan Fund's purpose is to provide gap financing for small business development and expansion.  


Hot weather no friend to pets

With summer-like temperatures and humidity rising this week, area veterinarians are warning pet owners to take every precaution to keep their furry friends cooler. Extreme exposure to sun and heat can lead to your dog experiencing dangerous health effects. Dr. Jordan Kobilca from the Door County Veterinary Hospital and Luxemburg Pet Clinic shares the signs your pet may be suffering from heatstroke.



Animals should never be left alone in vehicles, according to Dr. Jordan.  During extremely high temperatures, he recommends keeping any outdoor activity to a minimum and only during the early morning or later evenings. You can find tips to keep your pets safe from the heat this summer with the link below.


Algoma Police release details on Algoma drowning

More details of the drowning of a 26-year-old man last Thursday afternoon in Algoma have been released.  The body of Gustavo Angel Aldama Cuellar, was found in the Ahnapee River near the bridge on County S.   Algoma Police Chief Randy Remiker says officers were dispatched to Perry Street for an apparent hit-and-run.  Later, surveillance video showed that Aldama hit a parked trailer near Perry Street and wandered away from the scene towards his residence before going into the river, according to Remiker.  Aldama had reportedly been drinking earlier in the day at an unknown location.  Police Chief Remiker added that the autopsy found nothing suspicious and a toxicology report is still pending.      

Staff and clients beam as Sunshine House reopens

The mood has brightened up at Sunshine House in Sturgeon Bay which reopened for the first time in nearly three months.  The facility closed March 20th as part of the “Safer at Home” restrictions to control the spread of COVID-19.  Sunshine House provides work opportunities and other services for special needs clients in Door County.  While only about 60-percent of the organization's operations have returned, Sunshine House CEO Randy Morrow says precautions have been taken to ensure client safety and brighten everyone's spirits.



The one Sunshine House operation that remains closed for business is the Sunshine Cottage which provides senior services.  Morrow hopes that will reopen in July.  He's also hopeful full operations will resume in early fall.

Sheriff says tools in place for better relationships

Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski points to the work he participated in as a member of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing as a way for law enforcement agencies to move forward with better relationships in the community. Formed under President Barack Obama in the wake of a police-involved shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, the task force formed six pillars for law enforcement agencies to focus on including building trust and legitimacy, policy and oversight, technology and social media, community policing and crime reduction, officer training and education, and officer safety and wellness. As protesters across the country are calling for police departments to be defunded after the latest tragedy in Minneapolis, Joski says there are things agencies can do to start bridging the gap now.

Joski says by adopting the six pillars of 21st century policing, members of the public can also understand what and why law enforcement agencies do certain things. We will highlight the pillars over the next several weeks.



Community comes out to support Gibraltar grads

The celebration of Gibraltar’s Class of 2020 went all afternoon and evening long on Sunday. Like many schools across the state, the afternoon began with a virtual ceremony released online before students and their families picked up their diplomas in front of the school. In the evening, Gibraltar’s class of 43 students had a fire department escort from Ellison Bay to Fish Creek where they were greeted with a movie and special announcements from the likes of sports announcer Kevin Harlan and Packers legend Brett Favre. Valedictorian Aubrey Peot reflected on that community camaraderie during her virtual ceremony address.

Eight members of Gibraltar’s graduating class earned the President’s Award for Outstanding Academic Excellence and six were named AP Scholars with distinction. 



One dead, five injured in Sister Bay crash

An 89-year old Sturgeon Bay woman died and five others were injured in a two-vehicle crash Sunday afternoon in Sister Bay. According to the initial investigation by the Door County Sheriff’s Department, a 75-year-old Janesville man driving a compact sport-utility vehicle crossed the centerline heading southbound on Bay Shore Drive when he struck another vehicle head-on driven by a 64-year-old Maribel woman.  The Sturgeon Bay woman, who was the passenger in the vehicle driven by the Maribel woman, died from her injuries. The two drivers and three other passengers were transported to Door County Medical Center. The crash remains under investigation and no further information is being released at this time while family members are being notified. Personnel from the Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Department and First Responders, Ephraim Fire Department, Door County Emergency Services, Eagle III helicopter, Wisconsin State Patrol, Door Count Highway Department, and the Brown County Medical Examiner’s office responded and assisted with the incident which closed State Highway 42 for six hours.

Investing in your outdoors

With the temperatures getting nicer and families sticking closer to home for travel this summer, homeowners may put more money into their living space this year. During the quarantine, smaller in-home projects experienced growth as people were looking to fill time and upgrade their workspace for telecommuting. Now people can turn their attention outdoors, with decks being a popular option. Bella Friday from Kaukauna-based Tundraland says there are things you should consider before building a new deck or upgrading an old one.

Friday says decks made out of composite materials offer homeowners something that will look good for a long time with minimal maintenance required. Forbes magazine says improving your outdoor space is a great way to help increase your home’s value in the future.

Kewaunee children falling behind on vaccinations

With doctor’s offices closed to the public for months earlier this year, access to care has been challenging to come by for parents who are trying to get their young children vaccinated. The Kewaunee County Public Health Department is trying to reduce the backlog, but it’s by appointment only Monday through Friday. Director Cindy Kinnard says most children can get all of their shots in one trip. She adds that for those about to enter kindergarten and sixth grade, some vaccines are compulsory.


Daycare facilities also require that a child be up-to-date with immunizations. Inoculations are offered free of charge for those who are not covered by health insurance.


Crash closes Sister Bay highway

 A major crash in the village of Sister Bay closed State Highway 42 Sunday afternoon.


The Door County Sheriff's Department closed State Highway 42 between Country Walk Drive and Fieldcrest Drive to investigate a vehicle crash between 2 and 3 p.m. The scene was reportedly cleared at 7:20 p.m., but no other details have been released by the department. We will have more on this story as it becomes available.





County monitors Millpond drawdown

Door County continues the drawdown of the Forestville Millpond.  The Facilities and Parks Department says six-months into the process it is working as well as expected.  The efforts to dry out the millpond bottom, however, could be impacted by heavy rains over the summer.  Facilities and Parks Director Wayne Spritka says his department regularly inspects the Forestville Dam to ensure the drawdown runs smoothly.




The drawdown at the Forestville Millpond is designed to improve the pond's depth, improve fish stocks and control invasive aquatic plants.  It started in late 2019 and is currently scheduled to continue through September 2021.

Heeringa relishes new role at Crossroads

In May, Crossroads at Big Creek promoted Laurel Hauser to Interim Executive Director, which allows longtime staffer Coggin Heeringa to get back to her passions. She is thrilled about tackling the responsibilities pertaining to the newly created position of Program Director and Naturalist. Heeringa says fieldwork suits her.


Heeringa humbly suggests that her main job now is to play in the woods. Heeringa has been at Crossroads since 2001 and has overseen significant change at the preserve. She says it is a relief to be able to focus again on her field biologist roots rather than managerial tasks that have crowded out other pursuits as Crossroads has expanded.


Simple steps can fight mosquito population boom

Those looking to get outside and away from COVID-19 restrictions as temperatures warm up will likely find conditions a little more buggy.  That's because a combination of warmer, humid weather and recent heavy rains are expected to generate a mosquito population boom.  While there are propane-fueled mosquito traps and insect zappers,  Mike Draney, a U-W Green Bay biology instructor, says some simple steps can help you better contend with the bugs.




Draney says while insect zappers can take out mosquitos they can also attract and kill insects that are beneficial for gardeners.  He also recommends using Deet insect repellants when you go outside.

No pavement buckling reported locally

The sudden temperature swing earlier this week did not cause any road damage within the City of Sturgeon Bay. The mercury soared to near 90 degrees Tuesday, and a rapid increase in temperature is the worst-case scenario for pavement integrity, says City Engineer Chad Shefchik.


Sturgeon Bay road construction projects are continuing. Most of the work remaining involves curb and sidewalk replacement. The city continues to ask commuters to avoid construction zones whenever possible.


Invasive species fight continues despite pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic and “Safer at Home” order have not stopped the effort to control invasive plants and aquatic lifeforms around Door County. While control efforts have been slightly scaled back, the county has received several state and federal grants to aid control efforts.  Samantha Koyen with the Door County Soil and Water Conservation Department says those funds have been used to hire limited-term employees for research and contractors to help with invasives removal, Self-cleaning facilities have also opened at two area boat launches.




Smaller boat cleaning facilities have also been installed at launch sites in Murphy and Chaudoir parks to aid with the invasive control efforts.

Gray areas exist in business response to COVID-19 exposure

Door County Public Health and the Door County Medical Center held a virtual town hall to address various COVID-19 topics earlier this week. One of the discussion threads centered around how businesses should react to virus exposure. Public Health Director Sue Powers said it is not a requirement for a company that has a staff member test positive to shut down operations. Each case is unique, and public health will help craft a plan for each workplace dealing with the situation. Powers also talked about how to handle when a customer tests positive. 


At the beginning of the town hall, DCMC President Brian Stephens noted that there were fewer participants than in past events, which suggests that area businesses are becoming more confident in the steps they’ve taken to mitigate COVID-19 spread.


Sturgeon Bay student awarded social justice scholarship

Arleth Nelson-Cooper, a 2020 graduate of Sturgeon Bay High School, has been recognized for her good works across the continent to earn a social justice scholarship from the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Door County. Nelson-Cooper is a native of Honduras and served as a translator for doctors and other medical professionals from the United States who provided care in the country. She is active with her church, volunteering to help families in North Carolina rebuild from Hurricane Florence and assisting at food pantries in New York City. Nelson-Cooper says lending a hand is a family tradition.


The $1,000 scholarship will help Nelson-Cooper attend the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in the fall, and her goal is to contribute to the Peace Corps before settling into a career with a nonprofit such as UNICEF.


Food pantry restarts distributions

The Holy Name food pantry in Maplewood resumed operations this weekend. For now, all distributions will be handled with care on the first and third Saturday of the month. The needy must schedule their pick-ups by appointment from 8:00-10:00 AM. Volunteer Clarice Brey says special items can be accommodated, but they have to be made in advance. For everyone else, a standard kit will be prepared for curbside service. Brey notes that now is an especially important time for the pantry’s mission.


Contact information for the Holy Name of Mary Catholic Church is listed below.


Phone numbers: (920) 493-5055  or (920) 493-6867


Address: 7491Co Rd H, Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235

Local bank sees signs of economic strength

Door and Kewaunee County businesses are showing surprising resilience as they reopen post-pandemic. Nicolet Bank Senior Vice President Jamie Alberts says that area retailers they work with are happy about the amount of foot traffic and support they’ve received from the community in the early stages of reopening. Alberts thinks many people have been itching for the real Door County to return.


The robust sales numbers come at a crucial time for the area. The county’s unemployment rate jumped to 20 percent in April, and a revitalized service sector during the summer tourism season is needed for jobless numbers to return towards normal levels.


Photo courtesy of Nicolet Bank website.


Donut girls' legacy remembered

The Door County Salvation Army extension celebrated National Donut Day by hearkening back to the holiday’s roots. Observed on June 5th, the original donut girls were organization members who went to the frontlines with the troops during World War I. To raise the morale of American men who were fighting in eastern France, four volunteers began making treats. One sugary confection at a time, the donut girls brought a bite of home to troops, often at considerable risk to themselves. They had gas masks and .45 caliber rifles for protection, using spent shell casings as rolling pins. On Friday morning, volunteer Tom Mulinix made a special delivery to local police departments. He says, given the headlines of recent weeks, this year’s celebration felt closer to the spirit of the early donut days than usual.


Mulinix says that with foreclosure and eviction moratoriums coming to an end, the Door County extension is just beginning to see increased demand for its assistance.


UPDATE: Pagel's Ponderosa Dairy fire

Owner JJ Pagel says 20 minutes made all of the difference after a fire broke out at the Ponderosa Dairy facility Saturday morning. Two employees working in the maternity barn noticed smoke coming from the dryer building around 2:15 AM. The Pagels were able to cut the power, slow the spread of the flames, and save equipment housed in the structure. Fire departments arrived on the scene around 2:40 and were able to put out the blaze before it could reach the far side where the manure digester is located. Pagel says it continues to be operational.


Pagel realizes it was a close call that could have become catastrophic. No employees or animals were injured. He says the farm is currently looking at installing a fill station on the property to make it easier if fire departments have to be called out again in the future. 


Ahnapee River drowning victim identified

An Algoma man who drowned Thursday afternoon in the Ahnapee River has been identified as 26-year-old Gustavo Angel Aldama Cuellar. The notice was provided by the family through an obituary from Schinderle Funeral Home. The Algoma Police Department has declined to confirm the identification of the deceased man as of Saturday morning. Aldama Cuellar is the owner and operator of Dairy Dean’s in the city’s business district. Chief Randy Remiker described Thursday’s events when talking to earlier this week.


More details are expected when the autopsy is complete.

Restricted Sturgeon Bay farm market reopens

Sturgeon Bay's Farm and Craft Market is returning for the summer minus the craft vendors and a few other attractions.  The Department of Public Works announced this week the farm market would operate this summer with COVID-19 restrictions in place.  Unlike in past years, only produce vendors will be allowed to sell food.  Prepared food, coffee or other beverages will not be available.  Public Works Director Mike Barker outlines some of the other farm market restrictions.




Barker says farm market visitors will not be required to wear face masks, though that is still encouraged. 


Barker says farm market visitors will not be required to wear face masks, though that is still encouraged.  The following rules will be in place:


Vendor Rules: 
• No sick vendors at the market. 
• Absolutely no produce will be sold that was not grown by the seller. NO EXCEPTIONS 
• All tables/table cloths must be disinfected immediately before the market. Tables used as counters must be disinfected frequently. 
• No self-help. 
• Persons handling produce or money must use single-use gloves and change them frequently. 
• New, single-use packages/bags, no re-used plastic bags and no reusable fabric bags. 
• No customer may be within 6 feet of a product being sold. A table must be used as a counter to help maintain this distance. 
• Customers may only touch food after it's paid for. 
• No samples. 
• Stands must have two or more people working, People handling money may not handle foods. 


The City will:
• Arrange vendors around the outside perimeter with one space between each vendor. If additional space is needed, place vendors on only one side of the inside aisle. 
• Provide a sign with rules and encouraging social distancing. 
• Provide two hand wash stations. 

Free Fishing and Park Weekend offer easy, healthy access

Potawatomi, Newport, and Peninsula State Parks are open to everyone this weekend free of charge and will offer everyone a chance to fish without a license.  The annual Free Fun Weekend is still on, though people are advised to continue practicing social distancing when fishing from shore. Department of Natural Resources Conservation Warden Chris Kratcha says state and county parks offer easy access to shoreline fishing.




Free Fun Weekend runs June 6-7. Despite the free access, Kratcha says fishing bag limits are still in force.  You can learn more boy logging on to .

Town of Gardner looks to fix Stevenson Pier Road problem

Stevenson Pier Road in the town of Gardner will need repairing or rebuilding after spring storms along the shoreline caused substantial damage to the roadway.  Town of Gardner Chair Mark Stevenson says even with the support of federal grants, the problem of future issues will not be addressed.  He explains the dilemma of solving the issue caused by high water levels.



Stevenson adds that the Town of Gardner already declared a state of emergency to be eligible for disaster damage aid to help repair or rebuild Stevenson Pier Road.  He notes that there is no guarantee because the Town of Union's request was denied recently after improvements to shore up road damage experienced there.  The Town of Gardner's monthly meeting is next Wednesday in the Town Hall at 6:30 PM.

Giving a Self-Propelled Fishing Kayak a Try

Well, I’ve finally spent a few days out with my pedal kayak and I love it.  Yes, I still enjoy my sit-on-top paddle fishing kayaks and will use them often, but there are some very nice advantages to a kayak like the Coosa FD.

I like the ability to slowly move and fish at the same time, which is very similar to the trolling motor on my boat.  And, with the large rudder controls, I can control right or left movement with either hand.  This allows me to hold the fishing rod to fish or troll while fishing a swimbait while controlling kayak direction.  One thing that concerned me about the heavier and wider self-propelled kayaks was maneuverability.  I’ve been pleased with how nimble this kayak is, while still paddling nicely.  With the seat in the high position, I get a great view of the water with my polarized sunglasses. 
Many anglers like to stand while fishing.  Even for a senior like me, I can stand comfortably in this kayak pushing off the seat to stand.  At almost 13 feet, it handles the big waters of Green Bay and Lake Michigan well.  Add plenty of storage, flush mount rod holders and tracks for additional items, you’ve got yourself a great fishing machine.  I will continue to use my paddle fishing kayaks often, but for me, I see a place for the Coosa FD for my fishing.

Speaking of fishing, we are moving into the prime time for smallmouth bass fishing and in my 26 years of fishing smallies in Door County, it has been the slowest I can remember.  My guide friends and the many other friends who come to Door County to fish smallies are scratching their heads as the problem.  In general, smallie fishing has been in a down period for about five years.  So, it’s more important than ever to practice Catch, Photograph, and Release, along with not fishing for smallies while they are on beds.  Let them do their thing and hopefully, our fishery will bounce back.  

If you have any kayak or kayak fishing questions, please email me at




Dairy celebrations going virtual

Door and Kewaunee County celebrations of June Dairy Month are going virtual. Both the Sevastopol FFA and Kewaunee County Dairy Promotion Committee were forced to cancel their annual breakfasts due to concerns about COVID-19. To help fill the void, Alice in Dairyland Abigail Martin is hosting a virtual dairy breakfast from her family’s farm in Rock County while local operations like Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy and Salentine Homestead Dairy have posted video tours. Even though you may not be able to visit a dairy farm this June, Megan Salentine says in her virtual tour that you can still show your support beyond filling your grocery cart with milk, cheese, and yogurt.

The Sevastopol FFA and the Kewaunee County Dairy Promotion are still celebrating June Dairy Month with various giveaways and promotions. You can watch other tours of dairy farms or submit your own at our Virtual Field Trips page by clicking the banner below.


Screenshot featuring Isabella Haen from Pagel's Ponderosa Dairy is from their virtual field trip





Kewaunee's 4th of July celebration canceled 

Another community summer event in the area has been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Kewaunee Area Chamber of Commerce announced on Friday that the annual Independence Day Celebration on July 3rd would not happen this year. The scheduled event was to have live music, food, kid's activities, a veterans parade, and salute, and fireworks show at dusk. According to the news release, the event's size would prevent the ability to comply with social distancing restrictions. Plans are to have the annual Independence Day celebration return in 2021. Kewaunee Area Chamber of Commerce and the Grandfather Clock Committee organize the event every year.  



Kewaunee Area Chamber of Commerce News Release


State parks open for camping next week

You will be able to put up a tent or pull in your RV next week as Door County’s five state parks on the mainland will allow camping for the first time this year. Campers will notice some changes when they come this year including automatic touchless check-in and new signs encouraging visitors to recreate responsibly. While restrooms will be open, state park towers, shelters, offices, and other facilities will remain closed. Newport State Park Manager Michelle Hefty says she is excited for when campers can officially return June 10th.

Hefty says the number of people visiting the remote park north of Ellison Bay has been about average even with campers having to wait an extra few weeks to go camping there. Located near Washington Island, Rock Island State Park will remain closed until the end of the month.

Community COVID-19 testing site a success, no new cases reported Friday

Approximately 400 tests were administered at the community COVID-19 testing site over the last three days in Sturgeon Bay. A joint effort between the Wisconsin National Guard and Door and Kewaunee Counties, the operation took place in the parking lot of the Door County Justice Center for approximately eight hours a day with volunteers helping direct traffic to testers. Door County Emergency Management Director Daniel Kane says they had the capacity to handle 400 tests per day, but he was still happy with the response.

Kane says this will help the public health departments in Door and Kewaunee Counties get a gauge on who may have COVID-19 and aid them in their contact tracing efforts. He also thanked volunteers for their time and their willingness to work despite the heat. 


Neither Door nor Kewaunee County reported any new confirmed cases on Friday.  The updated numbers are posted below.


Picture courtesy of Door County Emergency Management





Wiepz named Peninsular Agricultural Center Superintendent

June 1st was the starting date for new Peninsular Agricultural Center Superintendent Rebecca Wiepz, but it also could have been a homecoming celebration. A UW-Madison graduate, Wiepz was a research gardener at the Sturgeon Bay facility before moving on to earn her Master’s degree in Plant Science at Penn State and serve as an extension support specialist for viticulture at Cornell AgriTech. Wiepz will oversee its orchard fruit program as well as the station’s other endeavors as the home of the U.S. Potato GeneBank and The Garden Door. In a release from the UW-Madison Horticulture Department, she says she is looking forward to collaborating with researchers and growers alike to help improve the Wisconsin tree fruit industry. 


Photo submitted by UW-Madison



Rebecca Wiepz has been named superintendent of Peninsular Agricultural Research Station (PARS), the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s 120-acre research farm located near Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, on the Door Peninsula.


Wiepz, who starts as superintendent on June 1, has specialized experience in fruit crop research and familiarity with PARS where she was once a research gardener. She returns to the station to oversee a robust orchard fruit program that serves the state’s fruit crop industry and UW–Madison researchers. Her work will also consider the distinct soil structure at PARS to address the unique nutrient management challenges on the Door Peninsula.

“I’m really excited to be back in Door County,” says Wiepz. “And I’m looking forward to collaborating with university researchers and local growers to help advance and improve the Wisconsin tree fruit industry.”


Wiepz earned a BS in Horticulture at UW–Madison in 2015, and a MS in Plant Science at Penn State in 2019. Most recently, she served as an extension support specialist for viticulture at Cornell AgriTech. At Penn State, her master’s thesis investigated “artificial spur extinction” for apples — a non-chemical crop management technique to reduce the total number of fruit on a tree in order to increase fruit size and quality, and minimize biennial fluctuation in yields.

“I’m excited to welcome Becky home to Wisconsin to serve as the next superintendent of the Peninsular Agricultural Research Station. Her horticultural training, coupled with her research and extension experience, make her a perfect leader for PARS as the station prepares for its second century of research leadership,” says Michael Peters, director of the UW–Madison’s Agricultural Research Station network. “I know she’ll look soundly to the future while remembering our history when we celebrate the centennial anniversary of the station in 2022.”


Established in 1922, Peninsular Agricultural Research Station is located just north of Sturgeon Bay and part of the UW–Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences’ (CALS) 11-farm Agricultural Research Station network. PARS is a field laboratory for fruit specialists, where they develop pest control programs and conduct other research to support Wisconsin’s fruit industries by improving yields and quality of apples, cherries, grapes and raspberries. The station is currently involved in a multi-site wine grape variety trial study to identify grape varieties that are well suited to wine production in the state’s various agricultural regions. Small grains and vegetable research, including peas, soybeans and potatoes, is also conducted at the facility.


The station is also home to the U.S. Potato Genebank, a collaborative effort with the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service to safeguard the genetic diversity of agriculturally important plants. It maintains the world’s largest collection of wild and cultivated potato species — more than 4,500 samples of more than 150 potato species — in an effort to support breeding research that improves potatoes in Wisconsin and around the world.


A display garden at PARS, The Garden Door, is managed in cooperation with the Door County Master Gardeners Association and the UW–Madison Division of Extension.

Wiepz is the station’s fifth superintendent, replacing Matt Stasiak, who retired in 2019.

For more information about PARS, visit:
For more information about UW–Madison’s Agricultural Research Stations, visit:

Water levels causing issues on Sturgeon Bay streets

Higher water levels around the Sturgeon Bay canal have impacted shoreline and street access this spring.  Areas like Memorial Drive and Alabama Street near Sunset Park has caused the City of Sturgeon Bay to put up barriers and caution signs.  Public Works Director Mike Barker says drivers should slow down and avoid streets with any standing water. He notes that any engineering changes to the roadway would be quite significant.  One option the City of Sturgeon Bay is exploring is raising the elevation of Alabama Street by 12 to 15 inches with a gravel road base.  Currently, affected residents on the street are not getting mail or package delivery.  Barker explains the fluid situation that is happening along Memorial Drive.



Barker says two street areas regularly impacted on Memorial Drive by standing water are also causing flooding of a few residential lawns.  

More people shopping groceries online

The trend to shop for groceries online has surged locally since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Polling of Americans found that nearly 80 percent had shopped online for groceries since March compared to 39 percent before the pandemic, according to Supermarket Local supermarkets, like Stodola's IGA in Luxemburg, have jumped on the digital bandwagon this year. Store Manager Alex Stodola says implementing the new service has been running smoothly. He anticipates customers to continue to utilize electronic shopping well into the future. 


Stodola says the rollout of the store's online shopping service took over a year to implement but started at an opportune time for consumers and the store. Over half of the respondents to the Supermarket News poll said they shop for groceries online more often now than before the pandemic. 

Sturgeon Bay protest draws hundreds of demonstrators

Hundreds of protesters calling for racial justice lined Third Avenue in Sturgeon Bay to demonstrate Thursday evening.  The peaceful protest was held from 5 until 8 PM and was organized by Eva Webber and Michelle LeCloux.  The protest, like many throughout the country, was in response to the death of George Floyd, who died while in the custody of four Minneapolis police officers back on May 25.  All four officers have been fired and face charges for 2nd-degree murder and aiding and abetting.  Webber says the event was planned with the cooperation of the City of Sturgeon Bay and Sturgeon Bay Police Department.  She says the Racial Justice Peaceful Protest is about standing in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and making a difference by listening to people of color.


Weber says over 400 people expressed support and interest in attending the event that included a march across the Michigan Street Bridge later Thursday evening.  Similar demonstrations were held in Sister Bay with dozens of protesters earlier this week.   






Algoma Police reports apparent drowning in Ahnapee River

A 26-year-old man’s body was recovered from the Ahnapee River in Algoma Thursday afternoon.  Algoma Police Chief Randy Remiker says that it appears to be an accidental drowning and the family members of the man have been contacted. 



No other details are being released and more information is expected next week after an autopsy is performed. 


DeFere Family Farm rolling with the changes

The reasons may be different, but enduring change is nothing new for Sturgeon Bay’s DeFere Family Farm. The organic operation was slated to host this year’s Sevastopol FFA Dairy Breakfast before COVID-19 concerns led to the cancellation of the event that routinely draws thousands of people. Bought by her parents in the 1970s, Tina and her husband Mark Wagner joined the family business and helped transition the 80 acre, 42 cow operation to organic in 2002. She credits their attention to detail for why DeFere Family Farm won the Cream of the Crop Award for milk quality from Organic Valley.

Since organic operators rely more on grassy pastures for their animals than other dairy farmers, Wagner says it has more flexibility when it comes to hosting the event for the first time since 1986. On Friday you can learn how the dairy industry is taking its June celebration virtual.

Kewaunee County getting up to speed

Operations in Kewaunee County is getting closer to normal after COVID-19 concerns forced buildings to close and meetings to go online. Kewaunee County will begin opening its government buildings on June 8th to the general public with new guidelines in place to keep employees safe such as calling ahead and temperature checks. Committee meetings also have a different feel to them thanks to a commitment to social distancing and eight new members joining the Kewaunee County Board in April. Kewaunee County Board member Chuck Wagner has two new members on his Land and Water Conservation Committee and says they are getting them up to speed on topics like the Total Daily Maximum Load Study and the Forestville Millpond.

While Wagner’s Land and Water Conservation Committee meeting is taking place on Tuesday, other committees are gathering over the next week ahead of the full Kewaunee County Board session on June 16th at the fairgrounds.

Birch Creek heads online for 45th season

While the barn doors in Egg Harbor will be closed this summer, Executive Director Mona Christensen hopes a window to the future will be opened for Birch Creek Music Performance Center. The organization announced last week its 45th season will be online for its students that usually live in Door County for a week or two to learn from some of the best in the music industry. By moving online, the days will be shorter for students but will still allow them to participate in faculty-led group sectionals, small ensemble rehearsals, and master classes. Christensen says even though the online program will not replace the experience of staying on its campus, she believes it could help Birch Creek Music Performance Center grow in the future.

The five day sessions begin on June 22nd with percussion and steel band students and continue through the end of July with symphony and jazz classes. 



Developing summer programming a challenge for libraries

Summer reading programs at area public libraries will have a different feel this year. Users of libraries in Door County, Algoma, and Kewaunee are limited to curbside pick-up for their materials while relying on virtual programming to stay connected. Those restrictions only make it harder for libraries to connect with teens in particular that are busy with summer jobs, college preparation, and volunteer opportunities. Braelyn Dempsey from the Algoma Public Library says they have been embracing those challenges and using technology to their advantage.

Dempsey hopes that programs like its anonymous playlist swap, online game parties, and activity pack pick-ups can keep families connected with the library this summer.



COVID-19 precautions working at wastewater facilities

COVID-19 precautions put in place before the “Safer at Home” order are working well at the Village of Ephraim water treatment facilities.  Those were put in place to ensure that the village would have adequate staffing to keep water treatment operations running without interruption due to illness.  Russ Salfi, with the Ephraim Department of Public Works, says social distancing and sanitation protocols are paying off.



Salfi also says some computer keyboards and mouses used by more than one employee are also being covered with plastic wrap and replaced each day.  He says employees showing any symptoms of COVID-19 are required to be tested in Sturgeon Bay and observe a 14-day at-home quarantine.

Library book clubs connect with authors

Several branches in the Door County Library system run book clubs, with all of them meeting virtually in recent months. Assistant Librarian Morgan Mann says each one has a unique flavor, maybe trending towards nonfiction selections or World War II-era material. Mann says that even though the clubs can’t meet in the same room, they are closer than ever to the authors they’re reading.


Wednesday evening, the Baileys Harbor book club heard from Michael Perry, author of Population: 485. Writer Pam Jenoff conducted a Zoom meeting with the Egg Harbor club last week to discuss their latest selection, The Lost Girls of Paris.


Local teacher blends hogs and history

Sturgeon Bay High School history teacher Barry Mellen has tapped into a unique way to connect with students while they finish out the year at home. Mellen is a known motorcycle enthusiast and rides through the Door Peninsula whenever he gets the chance. Lately, he has been taking a video camera along with him as he stops at spots of historical significance. Mellen is up to five videos that are posted to Youtube and says interest has been high, including from adults.


Mellen says he expects to keep making the videos when school returns to normal, describing it as something he should have been doing for a long time. One of Mellen’s videos can be found n the Virtual Field Trip section.


COVID-19 testing open to the public

Wednesday marked the first day of COVID-19 community testing available to the general public for Door and Kewaunee Counties. The program is set up as a drive-through in the Door County Justice Center parking lot off South Duluth Avenue in Sturgeon Bay. Recent CDC estimates suggest up to 35 percent of COVID-19 infections are asymptomatic, meaning little to no symptoms ever present. More testing is scheduled for Thursday from 11 AM to 7 PM.

Door County registered one new COVID-19 case bringing its cumulative total to 39. It also announced an additional recovery, meaning that there are still three active cases at this time. Kewaunee County reported its 36th case Wednesday afternoon against over 1,000 negative results. The county’s only death was recorded in mid-April.  HIPAA regulations prevent any more information from being made available.



YMCA members cautiously come back

The Door County YMCA was busy the past two months adjusting its Sturgeon Bay and Fish Creek campuses to maximize member safety. The pool isn’t yet open, weight room equipment has been spaced out, and traffic flow is carefully mapped to reduce close interactions among visitors and staff. Cleaning has also ramped up on a “grand scale,” says Executive Director Tom Beerntsen. Still, members have been cautious about coming back, a trend other Y’s are seeing across the country.


This year’s annual campaign netted a record amount, which gives the Y a safety net financially. It can afford to be patient while members, a large percentage of which are in the high-risk category regarding COVID-19, ease back into normal.


Retrospective scheduled instead of canceled Home and Garden Show

The Door County Medical Center Auxiliary has pushed back its 60th Home and Garden Show to 2021, replacing it with a special virtual presentation. Committee Member Wendy Walker says the Auxiliary is proud of the venues lined up for this year’s show and plans to use the same locations next summer to ensure that the milestone edition is a memorable, if delayed, one. Walker shared that a retrospective on the event will be available online instead.


Over the decades, the activity has grown in popularity, regularly attracting over 1,000 patrons. Proceeds in recent years have benefitted the DCMC’s skilled nursing facility.


"We're All In" aids small businesses

Small businesses, both seasonal and full time, in Door and Kewaunee Counties, can get financial help through the “We're All In” grant program. It's run through the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation to help businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Qualifying businesses can receive $2,500 grants. Phil Berndt with Destination Door County says while there are conditions to be met the program is a perfect fit with area businesses.



Applications for the “We're All In” grants are being accepted for one week only starting June 15th.  Details can be found here

Parks reopen at a varied pace

Last week the Kewaunee County Promotion and Recreation Department reopened county parks, including the Bruemmer Zoo and the Riverview ATV Park, but that doesn’t mean every municipality is following suit. Director Dave Myers is stressing that point to hopefully avoid confusion.


Playground equipment is still off-limits in the Village of Luxemburg as an example. The City of Algoma is gradually granting access to facilities. No decision on the youth center will be made until at least June 17th.


Farm to Families program aids pantry

Clients with the Kewaunee Lakeshore Community Pantry are getting some produce fresh from the farm to put on their tables.  The organization learned this week it would be getting products through the USDA's “Farm to Families” program.  Treasurer Dan Dalch says clients will find a lot of high-quality food when they stop by the pantry on Kilbourn Street in Kewaunee.




Dalch says the Kewaunee Lakeshore Community Pantry could get more produce next week, depending on how well this week's distribution goes.

Luxemburg-Casco Middle School building nears completion

The significant portion of the $26 million Luxemburg-Casco School District’s referendum project is coming to a finish.  The new Middle School is expected to be finished by the end of the week while work on the new fitness center with installed equipment was completed last Thursday.    Superintendent Glenn Schlender is excited to see the finishing touches on the school’s new campus.



Professional movers will start transporting packed items from the former Middle School in Casco later next week.  Outside work like finishing asphalt pavement and landscaping will follow this summer.  The Luxemburg-Casco School Board announced recently that a contractor was named to build the new Agri-Science building.  That facility will be erected later this year.   It will include an arena with boxed stalls for farm animals to visit. 





Dangers of grass clippings on streets

Public works officials in Door and Kewanee County remind property owners to be mindful of maintaining their yards this summer. Lawns should be cut regularly, and grass clippings should not be blown or left on roadways. Severe injuries to bicyclists or motorcycle drivers can result from grass clippings on streets. Algoma Public Works Director Matt Murphy explains the maximum length of grass allowed and the other issues associated with blowing grass clippings on the road.



Murphy adds that grass clippings can make street surfaces dangerously slick, causing bikes to fishtail.    Individuals can be charged with a misdemeanor if they fail to comply with yard waste and maintenance laws.


County Deer Advisory Council looking for members

The Department of Natural Resources is inviting people to apply for a seat on local County Deer Advisory Councils (CDACs).  Established six years ago, the local councils help bring the voices of area hunters and other stakeholders to Madison and the DNR.  The Door County Deer Advisory Council will have an opening for seats this coming year.  Former member Dick Baudhuin, who served on the Conservation Congress for 44 years before resigning as Chairman this past spring, says the Door County Advisory Council has had a considerable involvement.



Council members meet annually to review deer population numbers and associated data, gather public input, and provide recommendations to the Department of Natural Resources and the Natural Resources Board regarding deer management decisions in their county.  Councils include representatives from agriculture, forestry, tourism, transportation, hunting, Wisconsin’s Deer Management Assistance Program, and local government.  You can find application information for becoming a delegate below.

Sturgeon Bay recognizes "Open Door Pride" month

Despite the cancellation of the 4th annual Open Door Pride Festival scheduled later this month, the LGBTQ community in Door County is still proudly celebrating National Pride Month.  On Tuesday evening, Sturgeon Bay Mayor David Ward presented organizer Cathy Grier with the proclamation declaration for Open Door Pride Month at the Sturgeon Bay Common Council meeting.  Grier then thanked the entire council during public comments and shared a memory from last year’s event. 



Grier added that Open Door Pride is a grassroots organization working within the city of Sturgeon Bay and throughout Door County, to ensure that the community is a safe and welcoming place to visit and live. 

Sheriff disappointed in police action, protests

The past week’s events surrounding an officer-involved death of an African-American in Minneapolis has left Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski struggling to make sense of it all. The aftermath of the tragedy has sparked nationwide protests across the country, even invoking curfew orders in Green Bay to help stem the violence. Joski says the policeman’s actions were a violation of the oath he and others in law enforcement swore to uphold.

However, he added the looting and violence occurring as a part of the otherwise peaceful protests are uncalled for as well.

Joski says he is proud of the culture he has been able to help establish at the Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department thanks to proper training and updated policies.



Like all of you, I find myself struggling to find sense in the past week’s events. Having spent 27 years in service of my community, I was stunned and sickened by the actions of an individual who at some point in their lives swore to protect their community and everyone within that community. The oaths we take as law enforcement officers contain no limitations, exceptions or conditions, they are all encompassing and not up for compromise. The oath we take is a non-negotiable contract between ourselves as public servants and those with whom we come into contact with. From the moment we pin that badge to our chest, our every effort and concern is that of care for our fellow human being.
What I saw during that tragic footage was in every sense of the word a violation of that oath. This tragedy was a culmination of failures on many levels. I didn’t just see the brutal mistreatment of a man at the hands of another, but I saw a failure of leadership to provide effective training. I saw a law enforcement administration that failed to establish a culture of compassion and empathy. I saw a department which suffered from the inability of fellow officers to question the actions of another during what was obviously not only a gross violation of proper arrest tactics, but even more importantly the blatant mistreatment of a community member they themselves swore to protect.
As I struggle to process all of this, I am also overcome with a great sense of gratitude and appreciation for the men and women I have had the honor of serving our community alongside of here in Kewaunee County. Our constant vigilance to proper training, updated and prudent policies, and the cultivation of a culture which promotes professionalism and integrity is the benchmark by which we hold ourselves to. We understand that any ounce of authority is derived from those whom we serve. The relationships we have with our community is one of our greatest treasures and a source of our greatest pride.
Alongside the feelings of disgust in the actions which perpetuated the subsequent calls for justice, is the shock in the wholesale high jacking of legitimate civil protests, which are a protected right under our constitution. These subsequent criminal actions leave me filled with anger and disbelief that a society so blessed to have these privileges would so violently and egregiously abuse them.
While there is justification for anger in response to that officers’ actions in Minnesota , what is not justified is the damage of public and private property, the injury of innocent people or the devastation of livelihoods in the destruction of businesses and homes. There is not now nor will there ever be a time when this type of terrorist behavior will be acceptable. We are better than this as ., and I have no doubt that in the end good will prevail. It is my hope that we will look back at this dark chapter in our history and learn from it, a greater capacity for compassion, a renewed pursuit of justice, and an appreciation for the freedoms so many have fought and died for in this great country.
For better or for worse with all that is transpiring before us, we still live in the greatest country on the face of the planet. While not perfect, we each have the opportunity and ability to engage in the many legal and civil processes which are the mechanisms of progress in the pursuit of perfection.
Our future is what we make it, Together. Let’s make it a bright future for our children, Together!

Plenty of COVID-19 testing opportunities available

Whether you think you might have it now or already had it, Door County Medical Center has a COVID-19 test for you. During Monday’s Facebook Live session, Door County Public Health Manager Sue Powers and Door County Medical Center Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jim Heise outlined the testing available in the area. Tuesday morning marked the first day for the county’s joint effort with Kewaunee County and the Wisconsin National Guard for mass COVID-19 testing for residents and visitors. Dr. Heise said the hospital is also offering antibody testing for those who think they have already contracted the virus. He warns people should still be mindful even if they test positive.

Fifty-seven antibody tests have been administered at Door County Medical Center, yielding one positive result. No additional positive COVID-19 cases were reported for either Door or Kewaunee Counties on Monday.

Northern Door Children's Center celebrates first "Loopers"

As graduates at three Door County mainland schools walk up to receive their diplomas in recent weeks, staff members at Northern Door Children’s Center remember a time when they could not even stand.  The Sister Bay-based center is celebrating the over 20 students at Gibraltar, Sevastopol, and Sturgeon Bay High Schools that were part of their first looping class, which kept the kids together with the same teacher from six weeks old to the age of three. Research shows this kind of consistency is beneficial to brain growth and overall development during a critical time in life. Karen Corekin-DeLaMer from Northern Door Children’s Center says this year’s graduates confirm its positive effects close to 18 years later.

Corekin says they have done looping ever since the first class and even when the kids move on to 3K, the teacher helps out so they become adjusted to the change. You can find a list of the first graduating class of Loopers below.



























Work on former motel land ready to proceed

The town of Liberty Grove received good news regarding its plans to build affordable housing on the site of a former motel. Land that was contaminated near the former Val-A Motel has been removed from the county at a cost of about $10,000 to the town. With the contamination gone and the land getting a clean bill of health, Town chairperson John Lowry says now its focus can turn towards redeveloping it so it can address one of the area’s biggest needs.

The town will also discuss potentially extending its public health emergency declaration to match the Village of Sister Bay when it meets Wednesday via Zoom Conference at 7 p.m. Lowry says the declaration puts the town in line for much-needed funds because of the response to COVID-19.  

COVID-19 testing site opens today

You can get tested for COVID-19 for free at the Door County Justice Center over the next three days.


The joint effort between Door and Kewaunee Counties and the Wisconsin National Guard is taking place from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. June 2nd-4th at the Door County Justice Center, 1201 S. Duluth Avenue, Sturgeon Bay. No registration is needed to participate but it is recommended you get tested only if you have one or more symptoms.


June 2, 2020: Testing for Healthcare Workers, Public Safety Workers & Select Pre-Assigned Businesses ONLY
June 3, 2020: Testing for General Public (Ages 5 & Up)
June 4, 2020: Testing for General Public (Ages 5 & Up)

New Kewaunee County food program for senior citizens 

The Aging & Disability Resource Center of the Lakeshore announced Monday that a new food program for senior citizens will be coming to Kewaunee County.  Starting on June 22, anyone over 60 years old can pick up bagged lunches from three different locations.  The pre-ordered lunches will be available Monday through Friday for pick up between 11 AM and noon.  Outreach Coordinator for ADRC of the Lakeshore, Olivia Delikowski, explains why the program has expanded into Kewaunee County.



Delikowski adds that the lunches will include a sandwich, fruit, chips or crackers along with a beverage.  A two-day advanced notice is needed and a $3 donation is recommended.  All Pick-ups will be alphabetized with social-distancing being followed and masked personnel bringing the bagged lunches to your vehicle.  Locations will be at parking areas at the Kewaunee Human Services Building, St. John’s Lutheran Church in Luxemburg, and the Algoma United Methodist Church.  You can find more information about the new Senior Citizen Food Program online with this story. 


Senior Citizen Lunch Program

Difference between fear and phobia – Mental Health Minute series

Sturgeon Bay Psychologist Dr. Dennis White warns that being obsessed with the COVID-19 pandemic can have it take over your life.  Knowing the difference between fears and phobias is important in dealing with one’s mental health.  Dr. White explains further.



One example is the fear of germs.  Although many people may fear contracting a disease, only a small subsection of the population would meet the criteria of a germophobia, according to Dr. White.  He says finding the distinction between fear and phobia is more difficult than it was just three months ago.  You can find the entire Mental Health Minute by Dr. White on fears versus phobias below. 




Crossroads Trail Run goes virtual

The 11th annual Crossroads Trail Run will happen this year as a virtual event. The popular trail run for runners and walkers will still cover a 2k, 5k, or 10k distance in a “Safer at Home” location. The event can happen anytime between June 16 and June 20. Crossroads Trail Run committee member Deb Whitelaw Gorski says it was necessary to offer the trail run this year. 



Race Director Gretchen Schmelzer explains that runners can now develop their route and distance to run.



Trails will also be marked at Crossroads if runners prefer a route there. All participants will receive a “Going the Distance….at a Distance” cotton bandana mask by registering online a week before the race. Local runners can pick up their masks at Crossroads at Big Creek on June 20 from 8 AM until 8 PM. All proceeds from the Crossroads Trail Run benefit the educational programs at Crossroads and the “ski for free” events held during the winter. You can find the registration information below.


(photo courtesy of


Kewaunee County Jail Museum closed for 2020

The Historic Jail Museum, located in Kewaunee, will not reopen this year. The Kewaunee County Jail Museum posted on social media Monday that due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the difficult decision was made not to open the Kewaunee County Jail Museum for the 2020 season. Citing safety concerns for staff and visitors, the organization decided not to open. According to the Kewaunee County website, the 144-year-old building houses donated collections of the Kewaunee County Historical Society while featuring a jail section with one cell in its original configuration. The museum would have been celebrating its 50th anniversary.  Plans are to open next year for the 51st year.


(Photo courtesy of 


RV sales and rentals climb

With some vacations being canceled due to COVID-19 concerns, many families are turning to recreational vehicles to spend time with each other while social distancing. A recent US Travel Association survey shows 47 percent of people were likely to travel by car after pandemic worries lessen and 42 percent would stick close to home with those plans. Quietwoods RV sales manager Dylan Welch says those canceled plans have made getting an RV an attractive option.

In-store traffic for people buying RVs is slowly picking up, but Welch says they have been able to stay close to its average pace thanks to people calling and looking at units online.

Virus testing site volunteers needed

The Door County Emergency Support Coalition is recruiting volunteers for three days of COVID-19 testing this week. Door County, Kewaunee County, and the Wisconsin National Guard are joining forces to offer a free community testing site for people exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms at the Door County Justice Center. Volunteers will be primarily helping with traffic control and direction. Sister Bay-Liberty Grove Fire Chief Chris Hecht says the roles are non-contact and precautions are being taken to keep everyone safe.

Volunteers can choose one of two shifts: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. The Wisconsin National Guard has been assisting communities set up mobile testing sites across the state since approximately mid-May. 



Graduations offer same joy with different look

The walk across the stage may have been replaced with a decorated vehicle driving up, but the joy of graduating high school was still easily seen in Door and Kewaunee Counties this weekend. Sturgeon Bay and Sevastopol High Schools hosted drive-up ceremonies Saturday and Sunday while Algoma let their students take a stroll on the Crescent Beach Boardwalk before accepting their diplomas. Algoma valedictorian Arissa Kirchman relied on her classmates to address what they missed about not being in school for the last two months.

Sturgeon Bay and Sevastopol both released their virtual ceremonies over the weekend. In his virtual commencement address, Sturgeon Bay High School Valedictorian Nicholas Herbst focused on the perseverance the class of 2020 has shown.

Sevastopol co-valedictorian Madisen Duginski quoted Starlord from Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy and referenced other comic book heroes to speak about what they gained during the time they lost.

Southern Door held its virtual ceremony and their diploma presentation event last week which allowed the class of 2020 to walk through its halls one last time. Gibraltar will host its graduation ceremony this Sunday. You can see additional graduation coverage at

Museums open under uncertainty

Museums in Door and Kewaunee Counties are taking it a little bit slower when it comes to reopening to the public. Some museums like the Kewaunee County Jail Museum in Kewaunee and the Door County Historical Museum in Sturgeon Bay have not reopened yet due to COVID-19 concerns. The Door County Maritime Museum opened its Sturgeon Bay museum and the Cana Island Lighthouse to visitors for the first time over the weekend with visitor limits and extra sanitation procedures. Deputy Director Sam Perlman is not sure what kind of response museums will receive post-Safer at Home Order, but believes they are taking the necessary precautions to welcome them back safely.

This past weekend also marked the opening of its new interpretative center on Cana Island, which will give visitors a deeper look at the history of the lighthouse that sits on its land.


Picture Courtesy of the Door County Maritime Museum

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