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News Archives for 2020-07

Luxemburg Fire train with new airbags

The Luxemburg Fire Department had the opportunity to train on some new equipment earlier this week that can mean the difference between life or death in the future.  On Monday, the firefighters were trained on using new lift airbags. The two high-pressure stackable lift bags makes the Luxemburg Fire Department ready to respond quickly and effectively.  Fire Chief Lew DuChateau explains how the new equipment is more efficient and powerful than the old airbags.



The Luxemburg Fire Department also purchased new regulators, controllers, safely couplers, and hoses. The purchase totaling over $15,000 was made possible by donations made to the department for the past two years.


(photo courtesy of Luxemburg Community Fire Department)




COVID-19 Update: Door and Kewaunee counties see slight uptick in cases

The number of positive COVID-19 cases in  Door and Kewaunee counties bumped up on Friday as the State of Wisconsin reported 15 more deaths with the percentage of recoveries climbing to over 80 percent of all coronavirus cases.   After no new cases reported Thursday, Door County Public Health disclosed one additional positive test to bring the total to 85 with one more recovery and still nine active cases.  A backlog of pending cases increased to 351.  Kewaunee County reported two more positive tests for a total of 109.   The active cases were down one to 14 after three recoveries. You can find the updated COVID-19 report from Door and Kewaunee Counties below.  On Thursday Wisconsin became the 34th state in the nation to issue a mask mandate. 




Mask mandate enforcement uncertain

The issue of locally enforcing the indoor mask mandate set down by Governor Tony Evers has been clarified in statements by Door and Kewaunee County law enforcement officials.  Sheriff Tammy Sternard,  Sturgeon Bay Police Chief Arleigh Porter, and District Attorney Colleen Nordin along with Attorney Jon Pinkert released a joint statement Friday stating that Door County Law Enforcement does not have the personnel available to respond to complaints of individuals specifically violating the Governor's mandate.  Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski also noted limited resources that prevent the ability to respond to each and every complaint of an individual not wearing a mask.  The Governor's mandate does not specifically designate who is responsible for the primary enforcement of the face-covering mandate.  Those details are expected to be released in the next few days.  Wisconsin Senate Republicans have stated that they are standing ready to reconvene the Senate to end the Governor's new order.   You can read the informational releases by both Door and Kewaunee County sheriff's departments below.




Risk a balancing act for schools, parents

It will be more important than ever this year to keep kids at home if they are sick when schools reopen according to two Door County Medical Center doctors. Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jim Heise and Pediatrician Dr. Amy Forgarty answered questions for over an hour Thursday night outlining how schools, parents, teachers, and students can ensure a safe return to school this fall. Dr. Fogarty says it is important for parents to pay attention to the symptoms to make the decision between allergies or something worse.

There are also other concerns about the mental health of students when it comes to the look and feel the school year could bring. She says the risk might be greater if they do not try at all.

Fogarty advises parents to get their kids used to wearing masks now so they are prepared to wear them during the school day this fall.



Waiting game continues for potential RV park site

A resolution to the fight over the former Leatham Smith quarry site in Sturgeon Bay will have to wait a little longer. On Tuesday the Door County Zoning Board of Adjustment granted Quarry Bluff Development LLC a postponement of their upcoming appeal hearing regarding their proposed recreational vehicle resort near George K. Pinney County Park. In a letter signed by developers Mike Parent and Tom Goelz, they are negotiating possible alternative uses for the site which could eliminate the need for the hearing. The Quarry Neighborhood Action Group has opposed the project because of a number of environmental and safety concerns. Brenda Lange says the six-month delay and future uncertainty with the site is taking its toll.

The developers filed the appeal back in April after the Door County Resource Planning Committee and the Town of Sevastopol’s board and plan commission denied their Conditional Use Permit.

QMAS helps Wilke adjust to change

After a family friend asked Country View 4-H member Rachel Wilke to give exhibiting sheep a try, the Door County Quality Market Animal Sale Program gave her the tools to succeed. The non-profit organization gives participating youth a taste of agribusiness by helping them raise and support a livestock project. Wilke had previously only shown cows at the Door County Fair before trying sheep two years ago. She says her parents, and the members of the QMAS program helped her a lot.

Wilke was looking forward to showing Thunder the sheep and her other animals at this year’s fair as a culmination of the hard work she has put in with them over the last few months. 


Click here to listen to the full interview



Sheriff's Department updates fiery Fish Creek crash

The Door County Sheriff’s Department has offered a few more details from Wednesday’s accident in Fish Creek that required one person to be airlifted. According to its initial investigation released on Friday morning, a 50-year-old Green Bay man driving a car was traveling north on Highway 42 near Cottage Row when it crossed the centerline and struck an SUV driven by a 48-year old Green Bay woman heading south just before 9 p.m. One of the vehicles caught on fire and was put out by the Gibraltar Fire Department and other responding crews before Sheriff's Deputies arrived.  The man was transported to Door County Medical Center before being airlifted to a Green Bay hospital with life-threatening injuries. The woman and two of her passengers were taken by ambulance to Door County Medical Center for treatment. The crash remains under investigation and no other information is being released at this time. 



Car dealers benefiting from pent-up demand

After shoppers delayed car purchases in the spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic, local car dealers are experiencing a busier than usual summer.  Two factors may be in play.   According to a CarGurus survey, 72 percent of respondents who plan to travel this year intend to drive, rather than fly.  Over half of shoppers are less likely to ride-share or take public transportation moving forward.  Jesse Yahnke, sales manager from Jorns Chevrolet in Kewaunee, says people are leasing and financing more vehicles as the demand surges and interest rates remain low.



Yahnke notes that most dealerships are trying to manage the shortage of new vehicles brought about by the temporary shutdown of car manufacturers in the spring.  

Political sign defacings starting early in Door County

Local law enforcement is already dealing with numerous defacings and thefts of political signs on private property.  Door County Deputy Sheriff Pat McCarty reminds people that those actions are against the law.   He says he can appreciate people being passionate about politics, but one must be respectful in the process.



A President Donald Trump sign was reportedly vandalized early Wednesday morning on Gordon Road in Sturgeon Bay when someone spray-painted 'no' with a heart in red paint.  McCarty adds that all signage must be placed on private property.  He notes that missing signs may be the result of placing them on right-of-ways of highways which is not permitted and can be removed by county personnel. 


Confronting domestic violence

The signs of domestic violence are a key signal for people to speak out, according to Help of Door County Executive Director Milly Gonzales.  Reportedly one in four women and one in seven men have been the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.  Gonzales says if you see something, say something.



Non-physical signs of abuse can include isolation and a change of behavior by a loved one.   Help of Door County provides a 24-hour, confidential helpline for anyone with concerns or questions.  You can find the contact information below. 





Realized dream for Door County Children of Hope

Two years after forming to address the area’s child care challenges, Door County Children of Hope will see one of their goals take shape this fall. The non-profit organization is looking to open a child-care facility in an unused wing of Sturgeon Bay Health Services.  Nicole Allen from Door County Children of Hope says once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, she hopes the kids and the older residents see a benefit of interacting with each other as a part of their daily routine.

Allen says they are hoping with a little help from Sturgeon Bay Health Services and other community partners, Door County Children of Hope will be able to open the facility in October. Pre-enrollment and hiring for the facility are going right now on their website.



Governor Evers issues indoor mask mandate

Beginning on August 1st, you will have to make sure you pack a mask. Governor Tony Evers declared a public health emergency and issued the emergency order Thursday afternoon requiring people five years and older to wear face masks indoors and not in a private residence. You would not have to wear a face mask if you have certain disabilities or are eating, drinking or swimming. The order is effective until September 28th or until a superseding order is issued. Violators could be fined as much as $200. Governor Evers cited the rising cases of COVID-19 for the reason for issuing the order.  


On Tuesday, Door County Board passed a resolution supporting the mask advisory issued by Door County Public Health Director Sue Powers last week. Several communities and private businesses have already placed mask mandates on indoor spaces.


Thursday showed Door County's COVID-19 numbers stay steady at 84 total positive cases, one new recovery, and 306 tests pending. Kewaunee County saw their positive case number stay flat at 107 with no new recoveries and 75 tests pending.



The full public health emergency can be found here

The full order can be found here

Board of Supervisors approves donation

The vote to approve a donation from Adopt-A-Soldier Door County to the Sheriff’s Department for protective equipment was robust at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting. Many participants were concerned that the endowment was an end-run around the government after the Public Safety Committee said funding should be provided through standard budgetary procedures rather than a special apportionment. There was also concern that it sent the wrong message with police brutality in the headlines across the state and nation. Some supervisors were worried that other counties in Wisconsin could ask for support, demanding local deputies to act in a manner contrary to the wishes of area residents. Sheriff Tammy Sternard gave a stern rebuke to what she saw as a questioning of her authority over her department.

The final vote margin was 16-4.

Reconnecting with church in different ways

In-person church attendance is down across the country due to COVID-19 restrictions, but local congregations are still finding positives in the situation. According to the faith-based Barna group, about a third of practicing Christians have dropped church from their weekend routine during the pandemic. Of those still attending, 54 percent are tuning in online or in other ways to their own church while approximately 34 percent are taking advantage of the technology to hop between a variety of different churches. That has been good news for Pastor Joel McKenney of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Algoma. Through their Facebook Live streams and radio broadcasts, they have been able to reconnect with old members and hear from people new to the area in search of a church home.

Churches like St. Paul’s Lutheran Church and Sturgeon Bay’s Friends Community Church have seen the attendance of their in-person services slowly climb since they have been allowed to reopen in addition to broadcasting their Sunday services on 96.7 WBDK. St. Francis and St. Mary's Catholic Parish in Brussels live streams their services as well as broadcasts them on 104.1 WRLU.


Picture courtesy of St. Paul's Lutheran Church

Norton follows sister's lead to show ring

For as long as Shining Stars 4-H member Nicole Norton has shown pigs, her sister Reagan has been with her the whole way. Norton was prepared to show Daisy and two other pigs at the Door County Fair before it was called off earlier this year. Gone with the fair was one last opportunity to show her pigs with Reagan, who has also participated in the event for the last 10 years and in her final year as an exhibitor.  She credits her with helping her grow in her showing career.

Norton says while she is missing the fair this week, she cannot wait until next year to inspire other possible future exhibitors. 


Click here to listen to our full interview with Nicole Norton



One person airlifted after Fish Creek accident

At least one motorist had to be airlifted by the Eagle III helicopter Wednesday night after a two-vehicle accident in Fish Creek.


According to a release from Gibraltar Fire and Rescue, crews responded to the accident on Highway 42 between Peninsula Players Road and Cottage Row just before 9 p.m. What was just a two-vehicle accident with injuries became a fire call when one of the vehicles became engulfed in flames. The injured people had already been removed from the vehicle and started to receive treatment from Door County Emergency Services when firefighters from Gibraltar, Baileys Harbor, and Egg Harbor started to work on the fire. The motorists were transported to Door County Medical Center to receive further treatment, one of which was airlifted by the Eagle III helicopter. Highway 42 was closed for at least two hours while work was being done by the fire department, Door County Emergency Services, and the Door County Sheriff's Department. We will have more on this story as it becomes available. 


Photo from Door County Sheriff's Department



Lifeguards needed as pool activity increases at YMCA

People looking for aquatic exercise have taken advantage of the swimming pools at the Door County YMCA which is in need of part-time lifeguards to make sure it is done safely. Both the Sturgeon Bay and Fish Creek YMCA locations have openings for shifts.  Member Services Director for the Northern Door YMCA Megan Schneider says some staff members are certified lifeguard instructors that can train anyone interested in becoming a potential lifesaver.  She notes that guidelines are set to keep everyone safely enjoying the pools.



You can find out more about becoming a lifeguard by contacting either Lee McConkey or Krista Moyer at the Door County YMCA.




Egg Harbor optimistic project grants will come through--UPDATED DOT will fund projects

Village of Egg Harbor Administrator Ryan Heise is encouraged that the village will receive the $1 million awarded grant from the Multimodal Local Supplement program.  The competitive grant was put into question when Governor Tony Evers' authority was challenged in a lawsuit stating his partial veto changed funds designed for local road-improvement to a local transit grant, making it unconstitutional.  Heise says he was told by sources in Madison that the village should be receiving a letter from the State of Wisconsin in the next few days stating that the money is there for the projects to proceed.  The Village of Egg Harbor had agreed to match the $1 million grant with $1.6 million to develop a bike and pedestrian project on Church Street.  Heise noted that the $1 million coming from the grant is equivalent to the entire annual operating cost for the general funds of the village.  Other area projects impacted include Door County's grant for bridgework on County Trunk J, Cemetery Road improvements in Brussels, and South Neenah Avenue in Sturgeon Bay. 


UPDATE: Letter from WisDOT received on Friday


Good afternoon,


As a successful applicant to the Multimodal Local Supplement (MLS) grant program, you may be aware of recent action by the Wisconsin Supreme Court that impacted the MLS program. The MLS program was created through a partial veto of 2019 Wisconsin Act 9. On July 10, 2020 the Wisconsin Supreme Court overturned this veto and voided the MLS grant program.


To the greatest extent possible, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) is dedicated to fulfilling the commitments made to local communities under the MLS program. Since the court action, the department has analyzed the ruling and developed a contingency plan to fund projects that were awarded MLS grants. We have determined that your project meets the eligibility requirements of the Local Roads Improvement Program- Discretionary Supplement (LRIP-D).


The Municipal LRIP committee met on July 27, 2020 and voted to fund all former MLS projects that met the eligibility requirements of the LRIP program at the same funding level as previously awarded. In total, 29 city/village former MLS projects were qualified under the LRIP-D criteria.


The department will amend any signed State-Municipal Agreements (SMA) issued through the MLS program to conform to LRIP requirements. Governments who have not yet signed an MLS SMA will be receiving a new LRIP SMA.


Sturgeon Bay Harvest Fest canceled

One of Sturgeon Bay's biggest festivals has been canceled this fall.  Destination Sturgeon Bay informed members on Wednesday by email that the Harvest Fest will not happen this year.  The popular event was scheduled for Saturday, September 19.  The Cherries Jubilee Street Art Auction will still be held on that Saturday but will be done only live online.  The Old Bolts Car Club will host a car parade through Sturgeon Bay on Friday, September 18 instead of the usual car show during Harvest Fest.  Other area fall events that have been canceled recently include Baileys Harbor Autumn Fest and Egg Harbor's Pumpkin Patch. 


 Click here for a listing of all Cancellations


(photo courtesy of Destination Sturgeon Bay) 


COVID-19 Update: More recoveries shown in Door and Kewaunee counties 

The area appears to be following the state's trend of a flattening out of the elevated rate of COVID-19 positive tests.  Wisconsin reported a 5.9 percent positive testing on Wednesday with five more statewide coronavirus-related deaths.  Door County reported just one new positive case (84 total) and eight new recoveries with only ten active cases.  Kewaunee County added two more cases (107) while having three new recoveries and one less active case.  Both Door and Kewaunee counties are classified as moderately high on the state's COVID-19 activity level.   Find the updated COVID-19 report from Door and Kewaunee counties below.





Schools look to provide "authentic" remote learning

If schools do need to switch back and forth between in-person and remote classes, local districts are taking the steps now to be ready. Luxemburg-Casco and Gibraltar are two school districts outfitting their classrooms with the necessary equipment so students inside and outside of the building can learn at the same time.  This would mean students could participate in class via video conferencing and teachers could provide feedback in real-time. Gibraltar superintendent Tina Van Meer says their remote learning plans prior to the pandemic were not set up for long-term closures like what was experienced this spring. She feels they can provide a more authentic learning experience now.

Van Meer stressed that even though school districts are putting in a lot of effort to be better prepared for remote learning possibilities this fall, they are also getting all the pieces in place to open their buildings safely.


Picture courtesy of Gibraltar Area Schools

Wilke an exhibitor of all trades

Country View 4-H member Ruth Wilke is already hoping to add another animal to her exhibition portfolio when the Door County Fair returns next summer. Wilke, an eighth grader at Sevastopol Middle School, started her fair career showing cows before adding chickens and turkeys in recent years. She says her turkeys Timmy and Tommy would have been easy to exhibit this year, but it took a lot of training to get to that point.

Wilke says she was looking forward to this year’s fair because she had another friend who was going to exhibit chickens for the first time. With her sister’s permission, she would like to show sheep in the future in addition to her three other disciplines.


You can hear and see more about Wilke’s turkeys for this year’s Virtual Animal Sale below.


Click here for the full interview on our Podcasts page



Representative hopes for changes in stimulus bill

Rep. Mike Gallagher says it could be a challenge for Democrats and Republicans to come together on a phase four stimulus package before their scheduled recess on August 7th. The HEALS Act proposed by the Republican-controlled Senate on Monday would send out additional $1,200 checks to qualified individuals, reduce unemployment benefits, and provide a liability shield for businesses protecting themselves from COVID-19 related lawsuits.  Rep. Gallagher says there is talk about redirecting some of the $1 trillion set aside from past stimulus packages and apply it to the needs in this bill.

Developing plans to improve social contract programs like social security and providing funds for the milk donation reimbursement programs are two items Rep. Gallagher would like to see added to the HEALS Act.


Official Congressional Photo

Childcare center an investment in the community

Affordable childcare in Sturgeon Bay is not going anywhere after receiving the support of Door County Medical Center and other community partners. The Door County YMCA and Door County Medical Center joined forces earlier this month to help create the Door Community Child Development Center. Center director Alexis Fuller will operate the facility as a separate non-profit. The hospital will directly benefit from reopening the building for services, which had approximately 20 children of employees enrolled at the Barker Child Development Center before the YMCA originally decided to close the facility. Door County Medical Center President and CEO Brian Stephens says the partnership goes beyond their own needs.

In addition to keeping tuition rates affordable, Fuller hopes to have the Door Community Child Development Center pay teachers at a higher rate and rated by the state.



Little Sister Resort to remain commercial property

The Plan Commission for the Village of Sister Bay met Tuesday night to discuss the potential rezoning of waterfront property near Pebble Beach from commercial to residential. The proposal before the committee was whether Fred and Fuzzy’s, as well as other parcels that make up Little Sister Resort, should be sold to Lance Crane for a private, luxury residence. Public comment against the rezoning focused on worries over the loss of waterfront access for the general public, those who could not afford that amenity in any other situation. Chairwoman Denise Bhirdo says the village has opted not to rezone commercial property in the past due to those exact concerns.

Bhirdo was joined by Marge Grutzmacher, and Nate Bell in voting against the rezoning. The final vote was 3-2. It came after Commission Member Scott Baker made a motion to allow the property to be deemed residential, which failed.


Picture of Pebble Beach provided by the Door County Land Trust

LaSalle Park flooding issue resolved

A perennial flooding issue along Lower LaSalle Road near the park entrance in southern Door County has been solved. The Town of Clay Banks along with the Door County Facilities & Parks Department began to remedy the standing water issue last week. Facilities and Parks Director Wayne Spritka says the issue had more to do with past development than high water levels.



Town Chair Mike Johnson asked for assistance to get the stormwater to flow back to nearby Lake Michigan, like in the past. Door County agreed to pay for the labor costs while Clay Banks paid for a culvert. Ditch work was completed Monday to allow the free flow of water. 


(photo courtesy of Door County Parks Department)


Belgian Heritage Center reopens tours 

People looking to find out more about the Belgian history of Door County can now take the long-awaited tour of the Belgian Heritage Center. The cultural landmark located near Brussels reopened last week and is allowing for pre-arranged, guided tours of the buildings and exhibits. Board President Joe Alexander shares the safety protocols in place to reassure visitors with groups of less than ten people.



Recent planned upgrades to the facility included air conditioning as well as new front entrance doors.  A $10 donation is asked per person for tours.  The Belgian Heritage Center will be hosting a Drive-Thru Kermiss on Sunday, August 16 featuring favorites like booyah, trippe, jutt, and Belgian Pies.  



email or call Barb at 920-493-5969 to schedule.



(photo courtesy of the Belgian Heritage Center)

COVID-19 Update: Baileys Harbor bar closes due to positive test

Cornerstone Pub in Baileys Harbor has closed temporarily due to a case of COVID-19.  An employee from the Cornerstone Pub, who lasted worked on July 20, tested positive for the coronavirus. The business posted on Facebook Tuesday, announcing the immediate closure pending results of full staff testing. Cornerstone Pub joins a growing list of businesses in Door County that have voluntarily chosen to close their doors temporarily for safety concerns. Husby's Food and Spirits in Sister Bay closed on July 16 and reopened the following week after a complete cleaning and negative tests of all other employees. Door County reported two new positive cases (83 total) and one new recovery on Tuesday while Kewaunee County added one more case for a total of 105 with no hospitalizations.






Virus activity impacts Gibraltar's plans

As long as Door County’s COVID-19 activity level stays high, students at Gibraltar Area Schools will stay home. Superintendent Tina Van Meer sent the letter out to parents detailing the threshold plan adopted by the Gibraltar School Board Monday night. Every COVID-19 activity level has a corresponding amount of access students and staff are allowed at their buildings. Currently, Door County’s activity level is high, which means the district’s buildings would be closed for in-person instruction if school started this week. The activity level has to drop by August 19th in order for the district’s buildings to open for in-person instruction in time for the start of classes on September 8th. Parents uncomfortable with sending their kids to school could still choose virtual learning opportunities. Van Meer and Gibraltar Secondary School Principal Gereon Methner could not be reached for this story.

Door County Board does not strengthen mask advisory

The Door County Board of Supervisors met Tuesday with several items on the agenda, including last week’s emergency public health advisory. Dr. Jim Heise from the Door County Medical Center gave a general update on the COVID-19 situation locally and his experiences treating the disease. He spoke in favor of a masking policy at the county level. Public Health Director Sue Powers also talked, including announcing plans for more staff so that the county could properly conduct contact tracing given this month’s increase in caseload. The board did not have the option to pass an ordinance giving the advisory the force of law. Counsel Grant Thomas said he’s not sure that it would have held up in court even if it was approved.


Other items on the agenda at Tuesday’s meeting included the acceptance of a gift for $10,000 from Adopt-A-Soldier Door County to the Sheriff’s Department. The measure passed by a 16-4 vote.



Below is the complete audio from Grant Thomas' remarks to the Door County Board of Supervisors.



Door County waits for impact of travel advisory

The impact of a possible travel order to and from the Chicagoland area is not yet known by Door County businesses. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Monday Wisconsin would join 21 other states from which travelers are being told to self-quarantine for 14 days if they spend more than 24 hours away. Cook County, which includes Chicago, has a similar list of states that includes Arizona, Florida, and Iowa but has not yet included Wisconsin. The travel order has been lightly enforced according to several Chicago media outlets. Destination Door County’s Jon Jarosh is not sure what kind of impact it will have on area tourism, but they will be preaching the same message about safety.

Jarosh says it is too early to see what impact the pandemic has had on tourism based on sales tax collections, but numbers from the Door County Tourism Zone showroom tax collections since March in some communities are down between 40 and 60 percent from 2019.

Wiese remembered for contributions to Algoma

Former Algoma Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Carol Wiese left a long-lasting legacy in the city before her passing this week from COVID-19 complications. According to her obituary, the Algoma High School alumna returned home after graduating from UW-Green Bay to work at 96.7 WOMA, a precursor to WBDK. Wiese later moved on from her career in radio to take over the Algoma Chamber of Commerce, helping spearhead projects that lead to its new center and improvements to Crescent Beach. She had recently returned to the Algoma area after retiring in 2019.


You can read Wiese’s full obituary from Schinderle Funeral Home here.

Door County author garners international acclaim

An amateur photographer, local author Tom Jordan says he just wants to be in the team picture when it comes to international competitions. Two of his books, “Barns of Door County” and “Door County: The Places and Faces. All Four Seasons” were named finalists for best photography in the 2020 International Book Awards. Jordan was the only amateur among the five other finalists that were picked from the photography category.  Over 2,000 entries from around the world were included in the contest. Jordan gives all the credit to Door County.

He is still taking pictures when possible, but Jordan says the pandemic has slowed down the progress of other projects, including future installments of Secret Treasures of Door County.

Schools wrestling with reopening

Schools in Door and Kewaunee Counties continue to weigh out their options as the academic year sits for many just over a month away. On Monday night, the Gibraltar School Board took another look at its reopening protocol and even entertained suspending the fall athletic season if the district had to resort to all-virtual learning when classes restart. Superintendents from all eight local school districts have been meeting with First District Representative Joel Kitchens in recent weeks to discuss how to balance concerns around COVID-19 and addressing the educational and emotional needs of their students. He says administrators are going to be criticized no matter which direction they go.

Luxemburg-Casco, Algoma, Kewaunee, Gibraltar, Sevastopol, Sturgeon Bay and Southern Door School Districts have all shared their plans with the community and placed an emphasis on kids returning to in-person classes at least a few days a week. The plans also give the districts the flexibility to go to all-virtual instruction if needed. 

It's okay to not feel okay -- Mental Health Minute

The problem of coping with a prolonged pandemic is experiencing a chronic stress event daily, says Sturgeon Bay Psychologist Dr. Dennis White.  It's okay to not feel okay.  Dr. White compares the pandemic impact to that of experiencing a close-call accident.



Dr. White recommends seeking out professional help if your normal or new coping methods are not working.  You can listen to Dr. White's entire Mental Health Minute below.



COVID-19 Update:  Kewaunee County reports second death, No new positive tests in Door County

Kewaunee County reported their second COVID-19 related death on Monday, as Door County Public Health showed no additional cases and remains at 81 positive tests with 16 active cases. The other COVID-19-related death in Kewaunee County was on April 13.  Public Health Director Cindy Kinnard told that the recently hospitalized individual who passed away was between the age of 50 and 65 years old.   Kewaunee County also reported six more positive tests for a total of 104.   Active cases remained at 17 while recoveries increased five to 85. You can find the updated COVID-19 report from Door and Kewaunee Counties online with this story. The Door County Public Health Department issued an Emergency Advisory last week that stipulates everyone that is five years of age or older wears a mask in public.






Kunkel's Korner closing in Kewaunee 

After 16 years of operating Kunkel's Korner, Mark and Stacey Kunkel have decided to close the Kewaunee restaurant.  Located on the main intersection in downtown Kewaunee, Kunkel's Korner will close its doors on August 9.  Owner Mark Kunkel says the difficult decision was due to the staffing shortages and the effects of COVID-19.



Kunkel's Korner will remain open regular hours until the closure next month.  The restaurant has been a popular meeting spot for diners over the years going back to when it was Larry & Mona's Restaurant in the 1980s and 90s.


(photo of Mark and Stacey Kunkel contributed) 



"Swine" song for Norton

Rosie the pig was supposed to be Shining Stars 4-H member Reagan Norton’s final time in the show ring, but COVID-19 had other ideas. After the Door County Fair and subsequent animal sales were forced to be canceled, Norton still made the trip to her aunt and uncle’s farm to take care of her pig just as she has since March. Norton admits none of her pigs during her 11-year show career were champions, but she always learned a lot from the experience.

Whether you live on a farm or not, Norton recommends all kids try to get involved with showing animals because many do not have the opportunity to participate. Norton will continue her political science studies this fall at UW-Madison.


Listen to the full interview here




We will profile the participants of our virtual animal sale online at throughout the week. NEW Radio will be purchasing the animals and donating the meat to the Door County Food Coalition after a positive COVID-19 test on the staff forced us to cancel the in-studio portions of the event. We thank our sponsors for allowing us to be able to honor the hard work these kids put into their animals despite the circumstances.

Door County Land Trust acquisition a water quality indicator

The Door County Land Trust has acquired a 40-acre  easement that will protect a threatened dragonfly that's known as a natural water quality indicator.  The trust closed on the purchase from Tom and Cynthia Wolfe last week. The property is located off of County Highway F between Baileys Harbor and the Town of Gibraltar.  The new property is home to some endangered species, including the Hine's Emerald Dragonfly.  Land Trust Executive Director Tom Clay says that insects can help researchers determine the current state of area waterway and Lake Michigan.



The new land trust acquisition will add another wetland to the existing wetland corridor between Ephraim and Baileys Harbor in the area.



Contact tracing target of latest phone scam

Contact tracing is the latest theme phone scammers are using in Kewaunee County to get people’s personal information. In some recent cases reported to the Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department’s dispatch center, scammers are calling homes saying they were in contact with someone positive with COVID-19 and if they provide a credit card number they can get a test sent to their house. After confirming the actual contact tracing protocol with the public health department, Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski reminds residents to be vigilant when protecting themselves from scams.


Joski recommends people call the Sheriff’s Department when they are targeted for a scam as it can help spread awareness in the community and provide banks with a basic report if an account was compromised. 



Over the years, I have written numerous articles on the topic of scams. Although the premise of any scam is basically the same the subject matter can and will change based on seasonal events, new technology or services which legitimately exist, or with the advent of a local / national emergency. The first scam I will share has its roots in this last category which in this case is our current challenge with the management of COVID-19.


The scam goes like this:  You receive a call that you were likely in close contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19. They will not share any further information stating it is HIPPA restricted. They then tell you that you must also get tested in the next 72 hours, and that they can send you a test kit to your home. They will then ask for your credit card information to send out the test kit to you.


This is of course a scam. If in reality you did happen to come into contact with someone who subsequently tested positive for COVID-19, you would be contacted, however the message would be to request a test from your local healthcare provider which would be done for you at no cost.


The second scam which was attempted on one of local community members involves the past due notice of an AT&T bill which resulted from that person’s debit card being in a “Locked Status”

The caller in this case was very polite and requested the 16 digit card number so that they could “Unlock” their card and facilitate that payment. Again this is a scam. In this case the caller was smart enough to hang up immediately and did then contact AT&T which stated they had neither a record of any overdue bills from that person.


I want to commend both individuals for sharing their stories with law enforcement so that we can help spread awareness to prevent anyone from falling victim to such scams. I also want to provide information regarding local law enforcement’s role when such scams are attempted. Due to the fact that most if not all of the calls from these perpetrators are not traceable our ability to follow up is limited. In many cases local banks do require a report from local law enforcement to assist them in their investigations, and we are very glad to provide a basic report of what was called in to our office, but as far as criminal investigations our role is very limited. Also, if the targets in these scams are not actually victimized by either the sharing of their information or the sending of money, a crime was not perpetrated. Unfortunately the attempt of such scams is not on the books.


What I would like to share as I have in the past is the very simple yet consistent formula for the basis of such scams. In all scams the tactic of the perpetrator is to raise your emotional level. That can be both positive emotions (Lottery Scam) of negative emotions (COVID-19 Scam). It is a basic fact that when our emotions are elevated, our logic is minimized. We must be able to step back from the situation in order to more logically and reasonably assess the information provided to us before acting on it. In some cases this may mean asking another person to review the information, or asking the person calling to provide a call back number that they can be reached  so that you can gain some background on what was put before you. This is why most if not all of these scams demand immediate action as they know time is not on their side. With every minute, their potential victim’s emotion will begin to subside as logic sets in. In the end the best solution has been and will always be to just hang up!

Fate of Marina Fest and Fall Fest to be decided this week

Committees are set to meet soon to decide whether Marina Fest and Fall Fest will occur in Sister Bay in 2020. Chris Hecht, the President of the Door County Fire Chiefs’ Association, is a non-profit representative on the Marina Fest Committee. He says that the structure of the group, which includes a village resident representative, two trustees, and others with a non-profit background, helps to make sure the entire picture is taken into account when events are canceled.

Hecht says it is not decided yet, but he would be surprised if either event is given the go-ahead. Marina Fest happens during Labor Day Weekend traditionally. Hecht says if it is called off, his organization will lose between $10,000 and $15,000 per day.

Testing on the frontlines

As many things have changed during the pandemic, so has COVID-19 testing at Door County Medical Center. Since it was first set up in March, the COVID-19 testing site has switched sides of the street from the dental clinic parking lot to its education center where ambulances used to be housed. Even the test has changed from the deep nasal swab that would tickle the back of your throat to a less invasive version. Quality Director Nancy Daoust says the one constant has been the support their testing services have received from the entire Door County Medical Center staff.

Daoust encourages people who are showing symptoms to use the virtual COVID-19 screening or call the hospital’s hotline before coming in to get tested. 



Demand and economics aid new apartments construction

If timing is everything, then one builder says Door County is in the right place to add affordable apartments.  This week the Village of Sister Bay approved a development agreement for three buildings offering 24 new apartments on Ava Hope Court.  Tim Halbrook, a De Pere-based builder, is the project developer.  He says even in what seems like a challenging economic climate the conditions are conducive to providing needed housing.




Work is scheduled to begin within the next two weeks at the Ava Hope Court site.  Halbrook says the first apartment building should be ready for tenants in the spring of 2021.

Weather radar rebuild won't impact emergency management agencies

Emergency management agencies in Kewaunee and Door counties will be able to prepare for severe weather while the National Weather Service radar is being rebuilt.  The NOAA weather dish at Green Bay Austin Straubel International Airport will be offline from August 3rd through around August 15th.  Kewaunee County Emergency Management Director Tracy Nollenberg says back up systems will still allow the weather service to notify the public of impending severe weather.




Nollenberg also says the radar rebuild won't impact NOAA weather radio broadcasts and will continue to alert people of weather advisories, watches and warnings.

Landlords brace for utility bills

The Public Service Commission rolled back its order allowing utilities to be shut off just days before it was set to take effect. Sturgeon Bay Utilities had already sent out shutoff notices to 450 customers, accounts that are now safe through at least August 31st. General Manager Jim Stawicki says the surge in delinquencies could hit landlords hard. They are eventually responsible for the missed payments of their tenants. 


Door County is a relative bright spot as there has not been a surge in evictions in the past two months following a moratorium that went into effect at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Unemployment reached as high as 20% in April, and rent payments seem to have been prioritized over other bills. 


Algoma makes Discover Wisconsin calendar for 2021

Mike Rongo is a self-taught photographer who loves to catch scenes from across the area. Thursday, he was at the Cana Island Lighthouse, but it’s a picture from a couple of years ago that is getting all of the attention right now. Rongo braved temperatures around -10 degrees Fahrenheit to catch a sunrise over the Algoma Pierhead Lighthouse and a wall of sea smoke. Rongo says the competition was stiff even to be in consideration for the calendar.


After Discover Wisconsin whittled the submissions to 24, pictures were paired to square off on Instagram with voters selecting the winner for each month.


Crossroads program off to a slow start

Program Director and Naturalist Coggin Heeringa says the new Crossroads at Big Creek program, Nature by Appointment, is off to a slow start. She isn’t worried, though. Heeringa laughs that the reason few people are taking advantage of personalized tours is that they think it is an imposition on the guide, and that couldn’t be further from the truth.


Groups are limited to two people or less, and each week they can choose from three separate themes. Tours are arranged by email only. Contact information is here.


Neighbor to Neighbor sees shortage of medical equipment

The resumption of some surgical procedures is creating an equipment shortage for a Sturgeon Bay-based charity.  Neighbor to Neighbor lends medical gear used by people who are recovering from surgery or convalescing from an illness.  Executive Director Ann Bennett says demand for walkers, wheelchairs and other items started just after a moratorium was lifted on elective surgeries.  She hopes people will donate any unused equipment as soon as possible.


Anyone with unused wheelchairs, crutches walkers or other medical recovery gear is asked to consider donating them to Neighbor to Neighbor at its website.

National Guard uses experience from overseas deployments at home

While there are still several hundred Wisconsin National Guard troops deployed overseas, most are back home and using the lessons of those tours to aid residents of the state. Captain Joe Torvato says that it is essential to remember that the Guard serves in two primary capacities.


Since the onset of the pandemic in March, Wisconsin National Guard troops have helped out as poll workers and have administered COVID-19 tests across the state, including in Sturgeon Bay, which provided results for Door and Kewaunee Counties. They have been brought in to help stop civil unrest in several of the state’s largest cities. Torvato says that the Guard’s role in Iraq and Afghanistan, including support tasks like logistics and goodwill gestures such as building schools and other infrastructure, have made it more flexible on the homefront.


*Photo courtesy of the Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs website.


Shorefront protection work on track for fall start in Ephraim

The Village of Ephraim’s Board of Trustees approved a proposal last week to work with AECOM, an engineering firm out of Green Bay, to address shorefront protection. AECOM will team with local expert Mike Karr to identify what is necessary to protect the village’s downtown from high water levels on Lake Michigan. Trustee Ken Nelson says the agreement will include a fleshed out design and all necessary documentation to put the project out for bid by September.


AECOM representatives have already met with village officials, with two more expected. The contract between AECOM and Ephraim is for just over $35,500, with five grand already paid out. Construction is still on track for a fall start. 


Crews fight fire at Sister Bay business

It was a late night for Northern Door firefighters Friday night at a Sister Bay business.


The Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Department responded to the fire located at Thyme Catering on State Highway 57 just before 11:30 p.m. with flames and smoke coming from the basement. Over the course of the next two hours, fire departments from Sister Bay/Liberty Grove, Gibraltar, Baileys Harbor, Ephraim, and Jacksonport were able to confine the damage to the lower level. Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Chief Chris Hecht says basement fires can be tricky for firefighters.

Door County Emergency Services also responded to the call. Hecht says while there were plenty of personal effects lost in the blaze, there were no injuries. 


Photos courtesy of Tad Dukehart




Essential workers gain newfound respect from job recruiters

Since March, essential workers have shined while many other occupations, including some that are considered more prestigious, were forced to remain at home. That is earning positions like grocery store stockers or fast-food workers recognition from the general public, and job recruiters. Executive Director for the Bay Area Workforce Development Board, Jim Golembeski, says that work ethic counts right now as much as credentials.


Golembeski says his organization is trying to help transition workers from hard-hit industries, including banquet and convention halls or entertainment venues, to those that are weathering the COVID-19 pandemic better. He says essential workers looking to try out a new vocation are in a great position to find higher-paying opportunities as well.


Midsummer's Music broadcast features composers of color

The Midsummer's Music's 2020 season will be streaming live next month and feature works from men and women of color.  The Sister Bay-based chamber music ensemble was initially looking to feature rarely performed and recorded selections from female composers.  Artistic Director James Berkenstock says the group decided to add composers of color to the program after looking into American Florence Price's mixed-race background.


Another featured 19th-century composer is English-born Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, whose father was a doctor from Sierra Leone and his mother was an English woman.  Berkenstock says his most famous work, based on a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, was a worldwide hit.




The Midsummer's Music virtual concerts begin August 5th.  The schedule of performances and featured artists can be found at here.


Florence Price


Samuel Coleridge-Taylor

Public Service Commission extends moratorium

Area utilities, including Wisconsin Public Services, are reacting to a stay in a June order to begin water and electric shutoffs again next week. The moratorium imposed by the state’s Public Service Commission will instead stretch until at least September 1st. Senior Communications Specialist Matt Cullen says that those falling behind shouldn’t take a breather. He suggests that you use the next month to work out payment options that can fit your current financial situation.


Cullen says that WPS has been able to help thousands of its customers recently, many of those in Door and Kewaunee Counties. Sturgeon Bay Utilities shared similar advice last month. The moratorium does not wipe clean bills that are owed, and if customers wait too long to seek help, the hole will become too deep. Contact information for both WPS and Sturgeon Bay Utilities is available at the links provided.

Heat index values over 90 expected this weekend

The Door Peninsula is set to sweat through the year’s warmest weather so far, especially Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Heat index values will be in the mid to upper-90’s, except by the lakeshore. Provider Elyse Engebose from Bellin Health says that the best course of action is to get outside early in the day or as the sun begins to set to avoid heat exhaustion. Warning signs include the following.


Heat exhaustion can lead to emergency conditions such as heat stroke. Engebose says that by the time you feel thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. She suggests that you drink plenty of fluids while avoiding caffeinated beverages.


City of Kewaunee ready for primary election

City of Kewaunee Clerk Terri Decur says staffing for the primary election on August 11th is in much better shape than the runup to the spring contest. Several of the same procedures will be in place, including proper social distancing, face masks, and protective dividers between those voting and poll workers. Decur says that roughly four times as many people are already registered for absentee ballots compared to normal.


Applications continue to pour in so that ratio will only go higher. Poll workers tend to be older, but there has been a new demographic getting involved since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Decur says the city has made multiple hires in just the past few weeks.

Kewaunee Area Blood Drive planned next month

The need for blood donations locally and around the world has grown greater the past few months.  Immanuel Lutheran Church and the Family Life Center in Kewaunee and the American Red Cross are holding a blood drive next month.  Coordinator Ann Brunner says an earlier event was successful in June.  She hopes for an even greater response the second go-around on August 11.



Donors can register online for times between 11 AM and 5:30 PM.  Type O negative, O positive, and A or B negatives are the most desirable blood types, but all blood donations are appreciated.  You can find contact information to schedule your blood donation below.





Prime cherry picking time

The cherry-picking season is in full swing this summer in Door County.  Steve Wood from Wood Orchards in Egg Harbor says the recent hot weather has given the crop a boost and the tart cherries are at peak.



Wood adds that sweet cherries are at the tail end of the season.  For a list of pick-your-own cherry orchards in the area click on the link from the Wisconsin Cherry Growers Association.





COVID-19 Weekend Update:  Door County stays at 81 total cases, Kewaunee adds one

As the state of Wisconsin continues to record over 1,000 positive tests of COVID-19, Door County reported no additional cases on Friday.  Door County Public Health's report showed 81 total positive tests with 16 active cases, down one from Thursday. Door County has seen an increase of 28 positive cases in the past two weeks. Kewaunee County reported one more positive test for a total of 98. That is an increase of 29 cases in the past two weeks.  Active cases fell three to 17 while recoveries increased by four to 80 with one hospitalization. Door County issued an Emergency Public Health Advisory on Thursday stipulating that anyone five years or older should wear masks in public. You can find the updated COVID-19 report from Door and Kewaunee counties below.



Door County resort closes due to COVID-19

Sunset Shores Resort on Kangaroo Lake near Baileys Harbor has temporarily closed due to previous guests testing positive to COVID-19.  Home Owners Association President Mike Stang says the four guests that stayed last week in two cabins were ultimately diagnosed with COVID-19 after returning to their homes outside of Door County.    He notes that while they have no reason to believe the guests contracted the virus while visiting the resort, the most prudent thing to do is close temporarily.



The two cabins affected have been unoccupied since the four guests left on Sunday.  Sunset Shores Resort on Kangaroo Lake Drive in Baileys Harbor plans on reopening on August 9. It joins the offices in Sturgeon Bay and the Last Stop in Ellison Bay as recent businesses in Door County to temporarily close to the public due to COVID-19. 



(photo courtesy of Sunset Shores Resort)      

Area schools get boost for resiliency program

Students at Algoma School District and two private schools in Kewaunee will get more help for their resiliency-based program. The Algoma Wolf Den received its final $76,000 grant for its programming as part of a larger $5 million distribution by the Basic Needs Giving Partnership. Algoma Wolf Den, which also supports students at St. Paul’s Lutheran School and St Mary’s Catholic School, matches older students with younger ones to help fulfill their mental and emotional needs through mentorship. Teal Van Lanen from Algoma School District says the program has gone beyond mentoring over time.

Algoma Wolf Den has received over $230,000 in grant funding since the organization’s creation, which now boasts close to 40 pairs of “wolves” and “pups.”


Picture courtesy of Algoma School District

Quigley takes over Mobile Bay command

Thursday marked a change of command for the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Mobile Bay. Lt. Commander Steven Kingsley concluded his second tour in Sturgeon Bay by turning over responsibility of the ice cutting vessel to Lt. Commander Eric Quigley. During the ceremony, Kingsley reflected on his last three years on the job and the generosity the community showed his crew, especially during the government shutdown in 2018.

After accepting his orders, Quigley told the audience he was excited to take command.

Kingsley will continue his career in the United States Coast Guard in Virginia. Based in Sturgeon Bay, the Cutter Mobile Bay does most of its work during the winter months on icebreaking missions, but also provides help with maritime law enforcement and search and rescue.

Screenshot from virtual ceremony feed on the U.S. Coast Guard Great Lakes Facebook page. You can watch the ceremony below.



Powers explains mask advisory decision

Door County Public Health Manager Sue Powers hopes a strong message was sent Thursday afternoon when her department issued an emergency advisory regarding masking. It went into effect Friday morning stipulating that anyone five years and older should wear a face covering in public. Even though it cannot be enforced like a mandate would be, Powers hopes by issuing an advisory that it can stem the recent surge.

As of right now, there is no expiration date for the advisory and Powers says she would have to see a real decline in cases before removing it. Ashland, Bayfield, and Iron Counties issued similar mask advisories last week.

Library users enjoying digital options

The Door County Library system is embracing the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Much of its programming has shifted online this summer, with 300 patrons signed up for its reading program through the Beanstack app and dozens attending Facebook Live events every day. Community Relations Library Assistant Morgan Mann says while things have been difficult, great  ideas have come out of the pandemic

One of those things is the virtual teen book club, which will start meeting next month. You can hear more about the last month of the Door County Library’s virtual summer programming on our podcasts page at



Sturgeon Bay moving forward on comprehensive plan

The Sturgeon Bay's planning for the next decade is still scheduled to be completed shortly despite the other pressing issues the city has addressed.  On Tuesday, Community Development Director Marty Olejniczak gave councilmembers an update on the progress of the 10-year comprehensive plan the city needs to complete this year.  He says despite being a couple of months behind schedule, the plan could be approved as early as October if the public response is positive



Vandewalle & Associates conducted focus groups and a comprehensive survey last fall and workshops to get general feedback from the public.  The target plans included Egg Harbor Road, downtown, and the west side waterfront.  You can see the draft of the comprehensive plan with the link below.


Comprehensive Plan for City of Sturgeon Bay



Olejniczak gave a full update at the City Council meeting on Tuesday:




Blood Drive in Sturgeon Bay Monday

With reported shortages of the blood supply due to the COVID-19 pandemic, one Sturgeon Bay organization is stepping up with a blood drive next Monday.  Working with the Community Blood Center, the Sturgeon Bay Rotary Club will hold the life-saving event at the Sturgeon Bay Yacht Club.  Commodore Elaine Carmichael says the blood drive is a positive way to help out neighbors while giving you valuable information.




Those wishing to donate blood can schedule online or call in advance.  The Sturgeon Bay Rotary Club Blood Drive will be from noon until 4:00 pm Monday.  You can find contact information to schedule your blood donation below.


Call:  800-280-4102

The Miller Art Museum is moving up this year's Chalk the Bay event to start Saturday.

The Miller Art Museum is moving up this year’s Chalk the Bay event to start Saturday. It usually is held in conjunction with the Harvest Festival in the City of Sturgeon Bay in September. Executive Director Elizabeth Meissner-Gigstead says the new date will run concurrently with similar projects from the Museum of Wisconsin Art and other premier institutions.



Artists will be able to chalk every third square of pavement around the Miller and canvas squares are available to be displayed Saturday evening during the Under the Stars Night Market on Third Avenue. Meissner-Gigstead says that chalk art fits neatly under COVID-19 restrictions without having to make a lot of adaptations.


Chalk the State, which is what the Wisconsin-wide effort is known as wraps up Sunday at 8 PM. Participants are encouraged to chalk at home if that is easier to organize.



(photo from 2019 Chalk the Bay event last September)

COVID-19 Update:  Door County and Kewaunee County uptick in cases continues

Door and Kewaunee counties reported additional positive COVID-19 cases on Thursday.   Door County Public Health noted an additional case for a total of 81 positive tests with 17 active cases  There are still 294 tests pending in Door County which is considerably down from earlier this week.  Kewaunee County reported four more positive tests for a total of 97.   Active cases fell one to 20 while recoveries increased two to 76. You can find the updated COVID-19 report from Door and Kewaunee counties online with this story.  The Door County Public Health Department also issued an Emergency Advisory that stipulates everyone that is five years of age or older wears a mask in public. 






Emergency Advisory issued for Door County

The Door County Public Health Department issued an Emergency Advisory Thursday afternoon strongly encouraging everyone five years old and older to mask up.  The advisory is in effect starting on Friday at 8 a.m. and is for any public spaces, including businesses, health care settings and public transportation.  Door County Emergency Management Director Dan Kane says the advisory is not about taking a side on the masking debate but protecting each other.



Kane says the advisory is a step below an enforceable mandate like what has already been done in the cities of Green Bay, Whitewater, Racine and Superior. Governor Tony Evers told reporters Thursday he is unlikely to issue a statewide mandate for masking due to political opposition. The advisory is in effect until further notice.


You can read the entire news release from the Door County Public Health Department below


Public Health Advisory



Sturgeon Bay School District to discuss masking, reopening

Sturgeon Bay will be the latest school district to share its thoughts on masking as a part of their reopening plans for the upcoming year. Luxemburg-Casco, Sevastopol, and Kewaunee School Districts are requiring face coverings when social distancing is not possible according to their reopening plans. Southern Door is not making masks or other face coverings a requirement, but highly recommends it. Superintendent Dan Tjernagel expects the school board is conscious of what is happening in different communities not just locally, but across the state.

Tjernagel does not expect action on a potential masking requirement when the school board convenes for a special meeting on Monday at 6 p.m. They are set to approve the hiring of a new director of technology and teacher associates along with submitting an order for more personal protective equipment.

Rental assistance making a difference

The efforts of Lakeshore CAP, the Door County Community Foundation and the United Way of Door County are helping keep residents from losing their homes. According to the Green Bay Press-Gazette, Door County has seen fewer evictions since May 26th to now this year compared to the same time period last year. The news comes while Brown County has seen eviction filings increase by 23 percent and Fond du Lac County by nearly 50 percent. Door County Community Foundation President and CEO Bret Bicoy says they have been working hard to make sure they can address the need in the community with the program.

Bicoy fears the problem could get worse as some social safety net programs end at the close of this month and some jobs disappear with the summer and fall seasons. You can learn more about how you can contribute to the rental assistance program or apply for it here.

New ordinance bans rock removal from Pebble Beach

Those rocks or stones you may want to take home from Pebble Beach near Sister Bay will come at a high price. The Sister Bay Village Board approved an ordinance prohibiting the removal of stones, rocks or other natural material from the beach.  Violators face a $300 fine.  Cinnamon Rossman, with the Door County Land Trust, supports that move.  She says taking just a few rocks can have a big impact on the natural area.


The Village of Sister Bay will be adding larger signs advising visitors to Pebble Beach of the prohibition against rock removal. A similar ordinance is already in place for the protection of Schoolhouse Beach on Washington Island, which is made up of flat, white stones similar to Pebble Beach.


Picture courtesy of the Door County Land Trust

Kewaunee, Algoma join Scenic Highway 42 efforts

A Joint Effort Marketing Grant from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation is helping Kewaunee and Algoma give a major roadway the Route 66 treatment. The two chambers have teamed up with Two Rivers and Manitowoc to promote State Highway 42 as a scenic 138-mile drive along Lake Michigan. Algoma Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Kay Smith hopes the coordinated effort gets more people driving down their communities’ Main Streets. highlights the communities' lighthouses, beaches, and other points of interest. Smith says they get many visitors that stop in because of the Lake Michigan Circle Tour, which takes motorists on a 1,100-mile tour through Michigan, Wisconsin, and Illinois.

Hard seltzer demand skyrocketing this summer

Even though most people don't associate hard seltzer as a flavored beer, the popular summer drink is capturing a sizeable part of the alcoholic beverage market locally as well as nationally.  According to Nielson Research, fewer than 10 percent of hard seltzer buyers identify the drink as a type of beer.  Two-thirds consider hard seltzer as its own category.  Alex Stodola, an owner of  Stodola's IGA in Luxemburg, says the tropical flavors are even more popular this summer, and the product is flying off the shelf.



Stodola adds that the hard seltzers have cut into the hard lemonades, as well as the traditional beer and wine markets.  Hard seltzers sales totaled $1.5 billion in 2019 and are projected to increase dramatically as it becomes a more year-around beverage of choice. 

Walking through the pandemic-- Mental Health Minute series

Taking a stroll outside every day can keep you physically and mentally healthy. Sturgeon Bay Psychologist Dr. Dennis White says walking can be a way to improve your general health, to keep fit, to control your weight, or recovering from a period of ill-health. He shares some of the benefits you can reap by walking.



Dr. White notes that walking, especially in a beautiful setting, has shown to improve self-esteem, relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety, and improve mood. You can listen to Dr. White's entire Mental Health Minute below.



New Sister Bay apartments meet big need

There are 24 new multi-family apartments coming to the Village of Sister Bay.  The village board approved a development agreement with Tim Halbrook Builders, Incorporated of De Pere for three apartment buildings.  Village Administrator Beau Bernhoft says the new buildings are similar to others previously built by Halbrook and will help ease a housing shortage.



The new apartment buildings are tentatively expected to be completed by 2022.

COVID-19 Update:  Door County adds four new cases, Kewaunee County reports three 

 The number of positive COVID-19 cases in  Door and Kewaunee counties took another bump on Wednesday.   Door County Public Health disclosed four more additional cases for a total of 80 positive tests and a decrease of active cases 16, down four from Tuesday.  There are still 365 tests pending in Door County.  Kewaunee County reported three more positive tests for a total of 93.   Active case numbers show 21 with 74 recoveries. You can find the updated COVID-19 report from Door and Kewaunee Counties below.





Door-Tran in need of volunteers

Door Tran is showing it can keep up with the demand for transportation in the area, but its volunteer base is growing thin. Approximately 10 drivers serve people with mobility issues throughout the entire county and more people are using Door Tran’s services as the county has reopened. The struggle is most of their volunteers are above the age of 70 and some dropped out due to safety concerns. Interim executive director Nikki Voight says they are doing what they can to make current and future volunteers feel safe.

Door-Tran has even helped fill the void for a service on Washington Island to get residents to and from the mainland for appointments after it shut down due to the pandemic. Click here to learn how you can volunteer and support Door-Tran.


Picture courtesy of Door-Tran Facebook Page

Rescue serves as an example for boating safety

A rescue in Kewaunee last week is serving as a nice reminder for boaters to stay safe out on the water. The U.S. Coast Guard’s Station Small Two Rivers crew responded to a sinking vessel near the Kewaunee River last Friday. With help from a Good Samaritan, the Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department, and the Kewaunee Fire Department, the crew was able to save the three people on board and tow the vessel back to the harbor. U.S. Coast Guard Senior Chief Justin Irwin says boaters should have a few items on board just in case an emergency arises.


Flares and whistles are also good items to have to catch the attention of rescue boats, especially if your cell phone gets lost or does not have a good signal.


Picture courtesy of the U. S. Coast Guard Station Sheboygan



Historical society invites community for day out

The Liberty Grove Historical Society is taking it down a notch this year for its annual rite of summer. This weekend has traditionally been the organization’s tractor show and art fair, which was canceled out of concern for COVID-19. The Liberty Grove Historical Society is instead inviting people to bring a picnic lunch out for its socially-distanced “Day in The Country” event. Society President Stefanie Burke says even with the buildings on its property closed, it has still been a popular place for people to take a trip back into time.

Additional farm implements will be on the property and the historic buildings will be open for people to take a peek in when ”A Day in the Country” takes place this Saturday from 10 a.m. -3 p.m. Visitors can also take a look at the Military Circle of Honor and Heritage Walkway where a new First Responders Memorial was dedicated earlier this week.


Picture courtesy of Liberty Grove Historical Society

Wheat crop coming off

Farmers are starting to keep members of the Rio Creek Feed Mill team busy with their wheat crop. According to the USDA, about nine percent of the wheat planted for grain in Wisconsin has been harvested. The good summer weather has been welcomed by farmers that were plagued by wet fields and cooler temperatures last year. Rio Creek Feed Mill agronomist Adam Barta says the wheat is coming in, but knows it will be a small crop.

Rio Creek Feed Mill is offering premiums for farmers that reach certain quality levels. Barta says many farmers in the area opted to grow oats this year, which are usually two weeks behind wheat fields.


Picture courtesy of Rio Creek Feed Mill

Milk prices going up for farmers

The trend of milk prices is headed in the right direction for area dairy farmers.  Plagued by a depressed milk market the past few years, local farmers are cautiously optimistic that the upward swing in prices for milk will continue.  Jim Wautier of Church Site Farm in Brussels says June was encouraging for dairy farmers.



The USDA pushed their estimates of milk price forecasts higher for 2020 and 2021 earlier this month.  According to Hoard's Dairyman, The July Base Class 1 Fluid milk price was up to $16.56 bouncing back from under $12 in May. 

Sturgeon Bay addresses Sunset Park and Entertainment District

In a relatively quick meeting, the Sturgeon Bay Common Council moved forward Tuesday evening on two key agenda items.  The hour-long meeting covered the approval of the new entertainment district which will allow the drinking of alcohol on public property along the waterfronts and neighboring streets.  That resolution passed by a 5-1 vote with councilmember David Hayes voting against it.  The common council also unanimously approved a bid from Payne & Dolan from Waukesha for the restoration of the Sunset Park shoreline.  Councilmember Gary Nault questioned how the bid of $200,930 could come in nearly $140,000 less than the second-lowest bid of five others from more local businesses.



City Administrator Josh Van Lieshout pointed out that the company has quarries located throughout Northeastern Wisconsin, including one on Mathey Road in Sturgeon Bay.  The bids were opened on July 8th and included one as high as $452,280.  The Sunset Park shoreline has suffered severe land erosion and flooding this summer due to high water levels. 

Door County Daily News Tests Positive

On Monday, July 20th, 2020 the offices of the NEW Radio, Inc. and the Door County Daily News found out that one of our own had tested positive for COVID-19. While this person’s name will not be released we want to make sure that everyone knows we have been taking every precaution inside the offices to maintain a safe and clean work environment. Social distancing is practiced and masks are required in all common and public areas. Since we received notice of our first positive test we have cleaned and disinfected the entire office. Those who were notified by health officials about contact are currently being quarantined or working from home. As an extra precaution, the entire staff has been tested and is awaiting the results. No one on staff was or is displaying any symptoms nor was the person who tested positive. 
As the owner, I have spoken to both Door and Kewaunee County Health Departments and explained what protocols we have been and currently are following and they have assured me that we are taking the necessary steps to keep people as safe as possible while at work. Even though we have been disinfecting all areas, washing hands, using hand sanitizer, using spray disinfectant, and wearing masks this proved to not be enough. I also spoke to them about what else can be done to protect the staff as it’s my responsibility to do so. We will be furthering our efforts by checking temperatures and doing a health assessment every time an employee comes to work beyond asking if they are experiencing symptoms. We will be limiting the number of outside contacts that our team has both in news and in sales by transitioning to more virtual forms of meetings and interviews. 
At this time, we will continue to bring you all the latest news from Door and Kewaunee Counties. We will continue to bring you the music that you love on our five radio stations. I hope that you take the time to support our local advertisers you hear on our stations and see on our websites. They make what we do possible. Continue to shop the Big Deals as we are offering free mailing of Big Deals certificates while we thoroughly clean the offices. If you would like a certificate right away we are doing curbside pick-up and digital options as well. We want to ensure the safety of the staff and our listeners to the best of our abilities. 
We will also be devoting more air time to COVID-19 education and how to be safer as a society. I honestly felt that I was doing everything that I could do to protect my staff and I was unable to do so. I don’t believe that I am alone in feeling like this as a business owner. I know that many business owners want to know how to keep their staff and guests safe while keeping their business running successfully. These will include pieces from local and national health experts and marketing experts that will help guide everyone through this so we can all come out more resilient and better equipped to handle matters in the future.
We are viewing this as a learning experience and something in which we will grow and cultivate new ways of conducting business. This team at NEW Radio and the Door County Daily News is one of the best and strongest that I have ever had the privilege of working with and I will do what I can to lead them forward. 

COVID-19 Update:  Kewaunee County adds two more cases; Door County reports one more

The daily uptick of COVID-19 cases in  Door and Kewaunee counties continued on Tuesday.  Kewaunee County reported two more positive tests for a total of 93.   Active case numbers show 18 with one additional recovery.  Door County Public Health announced an additional case for a total of 76 positive tests and noting 53 recoveries.  There are still 318 tests pending in Door County.  Wisconsin broke the single-day record for recorded positive cases of COVID-19 tests on Tuesday.





Letter asking to save Potawatomi Tower 

Two state legislators, including District 1 Representative Joel Kitchens, are asking the Department of Natural Resources to consider preserving the Potawatomi State Park Observation Tower.  In a letter to DNR Secretary Preston Cole, Rep. Kitchens and Sen. Robert Cowles of  District 2 conclude that "repairing the tower in situ is the most prudent course of action.  Rep. Kitchens says compliance with the American Disabilities Act would make the project impossible to fund.  He says he believes most people would be understanding of not having it handicap-accessible if it meant saving the structure. 



The Potawatomi State Park Observation Tower was built in 1932 and was declared beyond repair in February by the DNR and was to be deconstructed.  ADA laws require handicap compliance if more than 50 percent of the structure is replaced.  You can read the entire letter sent by Rep. Kitchens and Sen. Cowles with the link below.


Letter to DNR

Construction full steam ahead for Maritime Tower

Putting the red beacon room on top of the Door County Maritime Museum’s future lighthouse tower represented more than just the last several months of construction. A similar structure was proposed in the original plans for the Sturgeon Bay museum but was cut for funding reasons. After close to a decade of a renewed fundraising effort, Door County Maritime Museum Deputy Director Sam Perlman says they will soon start installing the siding on the ten-story structure before turning its focus inside.



Perlman says construction should be done by December, but the first two floors and the tenth floor will likely not be ready for visitors until May 2021.

Tournament making up for lost time

One lucky angler could become $10,000 richer by the time the Kewaunee/Door Salmon Tournament ends on Saturday, but it means a lot more for communities along the lakeshore. Charter fishing tours got off to a slow start this year due to restrictions from Governor Tony Evers’ Safer at Home Order. Events like the Baileys Harbor Brown Trout Tournament were canceled, likely taking thousands of spring tourism dollars with it. Now that anglers have been able to fill up their boats outside and grab necessary supplies inside, Baileys 57 manager Kari Baumann is happy to see the community bustling with the activity.

Baumann says while it has been busy, they are still taking the necessary precautions like mandatory masking inside the store to help keep staff members and other visitors safe. Baileys 57 has seen four of the top 20 salmon caught as of Tuesday morning, trailing only Sturgeon Bay and Washington Island locations on the leaderboard. Other ports weighing in salmon are located in Kewaunee and Algoma. 


Picture courtesy of the Baileys 57 Facebook page

Washington Island School still weighing reopening options

Every school district is unique when it comes to its reopening plans, and Washington Island will be no different when it makes its decision. The district has made no definitive plans for reopening, but the Washington Island School Board welcomed Dr. Amy Fogarty from Door County Medical Center to give her thoughts on safely welcoming kids back to class and to answer questions from parents. Principal Michelle Kanipes says because of the size of its school, there are some extra considerations they need to make before in-person classes can resume.

Kanipes applauded her staff for the work they are putting in this week preparing for whatever plan may come up.  Sevastopol, Kewaunee, and Algoma are just some of the school districts that have released preliminary reopening plans.

Finding a happy medium in resiliency

Throughout his career in law enforcement and his resiliency training with the Wisconsin National Guard, Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski has found the truth in someone’s anxiety is somewhere in the middle. Whether it is positive or a negative situation that is on the rise, resiliency teaches you to weigh out the best and worst-case scenarios. From there, Joski recommends people sort out fact from fiction, apply optimism, and use perspective.

Joski says by developing determination that we can all “paint our own portrait” rather than let anxiety take over. 




As we continue to forge ahead during these challenging times, I wanted to continue sharing article as they relate to resiliency. There seem to be so many events which have unfolded in front of us that we feel we have little to no ability of control over. Although we live in unprecedented times, there is always hope but we do have to be able channel our energies so that we do not allow ourselves to get caught up in that we cannot control. The good news is that regardless of the situation, we can control our response and by doing so improve our ability to persevere.


      The skill that I am going to discuss today is just for that purpose and is meant to be applied in the moment, or in the immediate time leading up to whatever challenge it is you are about to face. These situations are not always negative, but for a variety of reasons are causing you some level of anxiety. A good example is getting ready to teach a class, or take a test. So many times we allow self doubt to invade our thoughts and create even greater anxiety which can affect us mentally and even physiologically. Just like so many other aspects of our lives we can either control or be controlled and stress is no different.


       The first step to apply when insecurity or thoughts of doubt begin to surface is to counter them with facts which prove those negative thoughts as false. A good example is getting ready to run a race. If you start to think that you are not going to be successful, remind yourself that you have trained and prepared and that you will be successful in the run. The next step is to apply optimism. In this example you may have a negative thought about your run, but you counter it with an optimistic thought such as “I may not finish first, but I will finish strong”. The third step is to apply perspective. In this example of doubting your performance in a run, you counter it with a positive thought of perspective such as “Regardless of the outcome there will be other races”.


        The purpose of this skill is to build confidence and lower stress so that you are better prepared for the task at hand. It is not meant as a means to minimize our faults or make excuses for poor performance. This skill also allows us to remain undaunted in the face of what others may see as substantial odds against us.


        What I like about this skill is its ability to form in each of us a sense of determination. When I look at so many of the men and women who are successful in their lives and the vast diversity and backgrounds which they come from, there is one characteristic which they all share; perseverance. If we look back over our history as a nation we can see so many examples of leaders who faced what seemed like insurmountable odds. From the Revolutionary War to the Great Depression we as a nation have overcome so many challenges. If you were to interview those caught up in the events you would likely see some common traits one of them being perseverance.


         As a parent I can think of no other skill I would want to equip my children with than that of resiliency. Whether they use it to prepare for test, or a job interview or facing what they may think at the time is a battle they cannot win, the ability to remain resilient in the moment could make the difference between success and failure. Even more importantly to help them understand that even in failure there is growth and the ability to stay positive will make all the difference in the world. It is important that we take the time to share with our own children the struggles and challenges we have faced in the past both as individuals and as well as a nation and to assure them that “This Too Shall Pass”. As I have said before, long after the headlines have faded and we move forward, what will be remembered is our Virtue and the content of our character. Those character traits define our actions and our actions are the outward portrait of who we are as a person. We each paint our own portrait!


Westside School Apartment complex development on hold

The plans to build a 40-unit apartment complex where the old West Side School and ballfield are located in Sturgeon Bay won't be happening this year. Marty Olenicjzak, community development director, says that Northpointe Development did not receive the affordable tax credits through the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority they had applied for last year.  The development and purchase of the property were contingent on the WHEDA and historical tax credits' approval. Olenicjzak notes that the developer Andy Dumke told the city that the tax credits were not granted due to what he called "a technicality." The Sturgeon Bay Common Council had approved the Planned Unit Development and the purchase of the West Side Field by Northpointe Development last fall. Dumke could reapply for the state grants and look to 2021 to start the project. 


WBA's Dorner working on affordable housing

The leadership of the Wisconsin Builders Association is looking to boost the affordable housing market in the state, including Door and Kewaunee counties. Jeff Dorner from Van’s Lumber and Custom Builders in Dyckesville became the president of the WBA earlier this year. He says besides the challenges brought about by the pandemic, excessive governmental regulations impede growing the building industry and creating affordable housing. The WBA has been reaching out to legislators the past month. 



Dorner, who is also the treasurer of the Door County Home Builders Association, adds that the building industry locally has been steady as a whole this summer, but face significantly higher costs of certain products like treated lumber. Building contractors have been waiting up to seven weeks, in some cases, for windows and interior doors from Canada. 

Second big bass tournament coming to Sturgeon Bay

Sturgeon Bay will reap the benefits of a second national bass fishing tournament rescheduled this summer.  FLW, the world's largest tournament-fishing organization, announced Monday that the final event of 2020 would be moved to Sturgeon Bay for August 24 through August 29. Major League Fishing just held a six-day tournament in Sturgeon Bay featuring 80 professional anglers earlier this month. The FLW field will include 50 anglers and a $235,000 payout for first place.  Sturgeon Bay Sport Fishing Association President Gary Nault says the events are similar and the economic impact to the area is huge.



The Tackle Warehouse TITLE was initially scheduled for the St. Lawrence River at Massena, New York, and was moved to Sturgeon Bay due to updated travel restrictions. The tournament utilizes the same MLF catch, weigh, and immediate release format. Destination Sturgeon Bay assisted in the last-minute change of venue for the bass tournament.



News Release:


BENTON, Ky. (July 20, 2020) – FLW, the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, announced today that the final two Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit events of 2020 have been moved. The final Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament scheduled for Aug. 11-14 has been moved to Lake Erie in Sandusky, Ohio, while the Tackle Warehouse TITLE presented by Toyota, scheduled for Aug. 24-29, has been moved to Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. The move comes in response to updated travel restrictions associated with the coronavirus pandemic.

“While we look forward to future visits to Detroit and the St. Lawrence River at Massena, we are pleased to announce Sandusky and Sturgeon Bay as our new host locations for the final Super Tournament and the Tackle Warehouse TITLE presented by Toyota,” said Kathy Fennel, FLW Executive Vice President and General Manager. “We’ve held numerous successful events out of Sandusky over the years, and Stage Five of the Major League Fishing (MLF) Bass Pro Tour on Sturgeon Bay gave the world a glimpse of what we can expect from that fabled fishery come August.”

Two Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournaments, each featuring 150 FLW pros and 54 MLF pros fishing for a share of $1.3 million, remain before the TITLE field is set. Only FLW pros are eligible to qualify for the TITLE. The next tournament is July 29-Aug. 1 on the Mississippi River in La Crosse, Wisconsin, followed by the final Super Tournament, Aug. 11-14 on Lake Erie in Sandusky, Ohio, hosted by the City of Sandusky and the Lake Erie Shores & Islands Welcome Center.

At the Lake Erie Super Tournament, anglers will take off daily from the Shelby Street Boat Launch, located at 101 Shelby St., in Sandusky. Weigh-ins will be at the nearby Paper District Marina, located at 611 W. Shoreline Drive in Sandusky. Attendance is limited to competing anglers and essential staff only. Fans are encouraged to forgo the daily takeoffs and weigh-ins and follow the event online through expanded four-day “FLW Live” on-the-water and weigh-in broadcasts at

Unlike traditional Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit events, the Tackle Warehouse TITLE presented by Toyota will showcase anglers competing using the MLF catch, weigh and immediately release format. The TITLE field of 50 will be divided into two groups of 25 (Group A and B) for the Qualifying Round with Group A competing on days one and three and Group B competing on days two and four. Based on a cumulative two-day weight total, the top 10 from each Group (a field of 20) advance to day five, the Knockout Round. The top 10 pros after day five advance to the sixth and final day of competition for the opportunity to become the inaugural TITLE champion featuring a $235,000 payout for first place.

“We are beyond excited to welcome FLW and the Tackle Warehouse TITLE presented by Toyota, to Sturgeon Bay, Door County,” said Pam Seiler, Executive Director of Destination Sturgeon Bay. “Being able to jump in to assist with the last-minute location change, we know that anglers and fans alike will love what Sturgeon Bay and Door County has to offer. We’re looking forward to seeing the pros bring in record-setting bass and appreciate the opportunity to host as we know that this tournament will be of great economic value to our local businesses and community.”

FLW continues to monitor Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), federal, state and local guidelines and recommends that everyone follow the guidelines to help minimize the spread of COVID-19.

For complete details and updated tournament information, visit For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit on FLW’s social media outlets at FacebookTwitterInstagram, and YouTube.

About FLW
FLW is the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, providing anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money across five tournament circuits. Headquartered in Benton, Kentucky, FLW and its partners conduct more than 290 bass-fishing tournaments annually around the world, including the United States, Canada, China, Italy, South Korea, Mexico, Namibia, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, and Zimbabwe.

FLW tournament fishing can be seen on the Emmy-nominated “FLW” television show while Bass Fishing magazine delivers cutting-edge tips from top pros. Acquired by Major League Fishing in late 2019, FLW is expanding its programming in 2020 to the Outdoor Channel and the Sportsman Channel as well as on-demand at MyOutdoorTV (MOTV).



Area sees uptick in COVID-19 cases

Door and Kewaunee Counties saw their positive cases for COVID-19 go up over the weekend.  Door County reported two additional positive tests to raise their total to 75. Door County also saw the number of recoveries increase to 50. Kewaunee County’s number of positive cases rose to 91, which is an increase of four since last Friday. Wisconsin as a state added 703 additional positive cases or approximately 10 percent of the almost 7,000 tests processed since Sunday.






Kewaunee County Daily Situation COVID-19 report


Senator expresses concern about upcoming stimulus talks

Wisconsin U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin hopes a number of her proposals get included in upcoming talks about another stimulus package for the country. The Senate returned to Capitol Hill on Monday with hopes of passing new legislation further addressing the challenges brought on by the coronavirus. Baldwin was hopeful a second stimulus bill would be on the other side of the pandemic’s “first wave,” something she says is not the case.

The Democratic Senator says her COVID-19 Every Worker Protection Act and Jobs for Economic Recovery Act could help protect front-line workers from contracting the virus and help the unemployed make ends meet.


You can find our story on this topic with fellow Wisconsin U.S. Senator Ron Johnson by clicking here.

Young farmers trying to buck trend

Young farmers like Denmark’s Jeremy Schlies are trying to reverse a trend that has been going the wrong direction since the 1970s. According to the U.S. Census, the average age of a farmer in 2017 was 59, two years older than it was in 2007 and almost a decade off from where it was in 1978. Schlies recently graduated from UW-Madison’s Farm and Industry Short Course, which runs from the late fall to early spring with an average enrollment of around 130 students. Even with the turbulent nature of commodity prices, it was not enough to steer Schlies away from his passion for the dairy industry.

Schlies feels the dairy industry has a lot of tools available for future young operators like him to be successful with farming as a career. He adds he is blessed to have a thriving family operation to take over someday, something some aspiring young farmers do not have.


Picture courtesy of Kewaunee County Farm Technology Days, which recently awarded him a scholarship for his future studies.

Hunter Education-Internet Field Days slated for Sturgeon Bay

Future hunters in Door County can put a date on their calendar to get a head start on their safety education. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources announced last week two internet field days to take place at the Door County Rod and Gun Club on August 1st. Designed for busy students and adults who may not be able to attend a traditional class, hunters can take the online portion of the course ahead of time and put their fieldwork in. Jon King from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources says the necessary precautions will be taken for all of its hunter safety courses.

Those interested in attending must register ahead of time on DNR’s Go Wild Website. There are no field days planned for Kewaunee County, but King encourages people to be willing to travel just in case a course is not offered or is filled up in your community.


Sturgeon Bay looks to create entertainment district

The Sturgeon Bay Common Council is set to meet Tuesday night, and on the agenda is a discussion on creating an entertainment district downtown. Chairman Dan Williams says the proposal is something the city has been looking at for some time, with COVID-19 acting as a catalyst.


The district could encompass the business corridors and waterfront parks on both sides of the canal. Sturgeon Bay is continuing with the annual sidewalk sale and weekly farmers market while experimenting with a new night market concept Saturday evenings on Third Avenue. Williams says Sturgeon Bay is monitoring the rise in COVID-19 cases in the area and encourages residents and visitors alike to mask up.


Photo courtesy of the City of Sturgeon Bay website.


Healthy chemical-free gardening grows better plants

The Door County Seed Library says farmers and gardeners can have healthy plants without chemical pesticides and fertilizers.  Mikayla Kifer, who's part of the planning team at the seed library, says it takes time to go chemical-free.  However, it pays off in creating plants and insects that can benefit gardens.




Kifer says using a combination of black tarps over cover crops after harvest can help prepare a garden plot for the next growing season.




Kifer says some plants use chemical signaling that attracts predator insects to feed on those bugs that destroy flowers and vegetables more effectively than some pesticides.  Gardeners can find tips on healthier growing through the seed library's Facebook page. 

Kermis planning underway at St. Francis and St. Mary

Tuesday’s Brussels Town Board meeting will feature a discussion on the fate of the St Francis and St. Mary’s Church Kermis. A picnic license is expected to be approved, and Father Edward Looney says that plans are in the works for a second one in Lincoln as well. Other area festivals have been scaled back due to COVID-19, and that remains a possibility for the Kermis . Looney says it will happen, though, as its impact is vitally important to the church.


Some ideas to help modify the event involve extra space for social distancing and moving the silent auction and raffles online. The Brussels Kermis is scheduled for Labor Day weekend, September 6th.


Pandemic not impacting school staffing for fall

School districts in Door and Kewaunee counties are developing fall reopening plans, which could change depending on the COVID-19 pandemic.  However, some local school superintendents say staffing for the upcoming school year is going well.  Kewaunee School Superintendent Karen Treml says there haven't been any open teaching positions for the 2020-2021 school year.  Though she says when there have been past openings the district has faced some challenges.




Gibraltar School Superintendent Tina Van Meer says her district has few concerns about staffing and more on whether classes will be held virtually or in person.




School superintendents say final reopening plans ultimately depend on whether reported COVID-19 cases decline or increase by autumn. 

Another Door County municipality restricts compost facility access

This week, Baileys Harbor joined a growing list of governments in Door County, restricting access to area green sites. The town cited a surge in illegal dumping as the motivating factor in the decision. Baileys Harbor estimates that proper disposal was costing it around $1,000 per load. Sturgeon Bay Municipal Services Director Mike Barker says that last year his city found itself removing roughly a ton of garbage per month from its compost pile. Sturgeon Bay had originally planned sweeping changes to how its site is run for 2020, but that was put on hold due to the economic shutdown this spring.


Barker says dumping has been less extreme this year compared to last, but issues remain.


Astronomical Society keeping an eye on comet, constellations -- UPDATED

The comet NEOWISE, named after the NASA telescope that discovered it in March, is quickly making an impression among local stargazers. For the next week, it will be at its brightest and can be seen with the naked eye in the evening. A telescope or binoculars give the viewer an even better picture. Door Peninsula Astronomical Society President Dave Lenius says they’re planning another get together at the group’s facility on Utah Street in Sturgeon Bay Tuesday ( now rescheduled for on Thursday). The public is invited, and society members will have laser pointers on hand to highlight NEOWISE and several prominent summer constellations.


The event is billed as a “Bring Your Own Binoculars” (BYOB) viewing party, and social distancing guidelines will be in effect. Once NEOWISE disappears from the night sky, it is not expected to return for roughly 6,800 years.



Due to anticipated poor viewing conditions this evening, the Door Peninsula Astronomical Society has rescheduled the Comet and Green Laser Viewing Night to Thursday, July 23, at 9:30 p.m.  This free event is  BYOB (bring your own binoculars)  and participants will practice social distancing. 


Photo courtesy of Crossroads at Big Creek Facebook page.


Power line starts Ephraim fire

A down power line is to blame for a fire Saturday morning at the Peninsula State Park Golf Course.


According to Ephraim Fire Chief Justin MacDonald, firefighters were dispatched at 8:15 a.m. to Holand Road near the golf course's short course where a power line fell and started nearby trees on fire. Crews had to wait for hours for assistance since Wisconsin Public Service was responding to other down power lines due to morning storms. After WPS was able to shut off the power, firefighters were able to cut down the line and the trees to extinguish the blaze with a combination of foam and water. No injuries were reported and crews were able to clear the scene just after 1:30 p.m.





Workforce Development adapts job fair for COVID-19 era

Green Bay hosted a drive-through job fair Wednesday in what could be a preview of future events held in Door and Kewaunee Counties. Employers provided information that was then put into a packet handed out by staffers with the Bay Area region of the Wisconsin Workforce Development Board. Executive Director James Golembeski says the event was a great way to help those laid off from industries like banquet and convention halls, entertainment, or sports venues. They possess skills such as customer service that are needed elsewhere.


Golembeski says that if you have a strong work ethic, even in a recession, there are opportunities for you to shine.


Ephraim continuing with outdoor concert series

The Ephraim Board of Trustees met Thursday to finish a meeting that had to be cut short earlier in the week due to internet connectivity problems, which interrupted teleconferencing. In the wake of Egg Harbor’s cancellations of Ale Fest and the Pumpkin Patch Festival, Cindy Nelson asked the board to end the Evenings in Ephraim outdoor concert program. The trustees rejected the measure on a 3-2 vote and failed to agree to a trigger or set of criteria that would end the performances. Ken Nelson said he wants to see more evidence that outdoor activities contribute to COVID-19 spread.


Cindy Nelson responded that contact tracing is not that precise, and waiting for evidence of transmission is essentially the same as having no trigger at all. Several municipalities in Kewaunee County have outdoor music series ongoing, including Luxemburg and the City of Kewaunee. 


*Photo courtesy of It was taken in a prior year, before COVID-19 hit.


Southern Door Fire Department alters picnic plans

Earlier this week, the Southern Door Fire Department announced mostly good news when it comes to the return of its Parade and Picnic event, a former summer staple in Forestville and Maplewood. Much of what was initially planned will continue, including the parade itself, vendors, and raffles. Captain Kim Starr says the most significant change is the scrapping of live entertainment, but even that provides some opportunities.


If you have not signed up for the parade yet and plan on participating, contact Dennis Weidner or arrive at the staging area on Mill Road at 10:30 AM on Saturday, July 25th.


Severe weather downs trees across northern Door County

A line of severe storms that briefly clipped the Door Peninsula Saturday morning caused problems for much of the day. Straight-line winds produced by the system were strong enough to knock over several area trees. Rocky topography in northern Door County keeps pines and other plants from anchoring into the ground with a sturdy root system. The Sheriff’s Office shared a photo on Facebook of Cottage Row Road in Fish Creek. It was impassable with reports coming in from several other locations of similar conditions. More severe weather is possible until Sunday morning.


Ahnapee River lone bright spot in TMDL data

Correction: The article implies that the readings were taken after the drawdown of the  millpond began. They actually wrapped up just beforehand in 2019. The results are still encouraging compared to those reported for other rivers in the Kewaunee Basin.


Earlier this month, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources gave its second presentation discussing the Northeast Lakeshore TMDL, which includes watersheds in Southern Door and Kewaunee Counties. The news was not good overall, especially as it pertains to phosphorous levels. There is too much of it in every stream and river sampled except for one, says Coordinator Kim Oldenborg.


Levels were tested above and below the Forestville millpond, which has been a contentious issue since the county began its drawdown plan last November. The goal of the drawdown was to help battle agricultural runoff, and the TMDL readings suggest it may be proving successful. Readings were taken after May 1st, considered the start of the growing season. Sediments and solids, along with other pollutants, were also measured. A link to the full data is here. A discussion of the issue by Kewaunee County Supervisor Chuck Wagner is below.



Secret Santa working on concert contingency plan

The annual Blues on the Bay Festival has been canceled in Ellison Bay, and that has one of its biggest beneficiaries, the Door County Secret Santa program, looking to Plan B. Traditionally, visitors make a voluntary donation to the organization in exchange for admission at the Ellison Bay Community Park the Saturday before Labor Day weekend. President Jane Lee talks about the good Secret Santa does in Northern Door communities.


Lee expects the need to be higher than ever come winter and says the Secret Santa group is working on contingency plans. Nothing has been decided at this time.


*Photo courtesy of the Blues on the Bay Facebook page.


Sail Through The Avenues set for July 30th

It may not be clear sailing if you are on the sidewalks of Sturgeon Bay next Thursday, July 30th. Destination Sturgeon Bay announced this week that the annual outdoor sale will be returning this summer. Any business within the city limits is welcome to participate from the industrial park, Maple Street, the East Side business district, or even up the hill on Egg Harbor Road. Marketing Coordinator Carly Sarkis says that Third Avenue will be closed to traffic similar to how the Under the Stars Night Market is being run on Saturdays.


Sarkis says the sidewalk sales are a big draw. Destination Sturgeon Bay has heard from several return shoppers that they plan a vacation around the event. It always takes place on the final Thursday of July.


*Photo courtesy of the Destination Sturgeon Bay website.


Pesticides not the primary driver of bee decline locally

There has been much consternation in recent years over the decline in honeybee populations along with other pollinators that plants rely on for reproduction. Much of the focus has been turned to pesticides used on farms, which is part of the problem but not the main issue, according to beekeeper Mark Lentz of Brussels.


The Varroa Destructor attaches to the body of a bee and feeds on its fat stores, which can kill a colony during the winter hibernation. If the bees don’t freeze to death, they wind up in a coma that they can’t recover from. Lentz also cites a loss of habitat as another concern. 


Field crops thriving in area

Ideal weather conditions have local farmers enjoying a great growing season to this point.  Jim Wautier of Church-Site Farms in Brussels says recent hot temperatures and the occasional rainfall have led to a corn crop already tasseling in some areas.



Wautier notes that hay has already been harvested once or twice and predicts a third crop given the additional moisture in the fields.  Wheat and oats also seem to be thriving with expectations of harvest within the next few weeks.


Let's talk some kayak fishing

We just had a chance to see the best bass anglers in the world spend a week in Sturgeon Bay for the big Major League Fishing Tournament.  Like kayak tournaments this catch and release format puts the well-being of the smallmouth bass as the top priority.  
Now that we are at the halfway point of summer let’s talk some Door County smallie fishing.  I’m on the water often whether in one of my Jackson kayaks or out in my fishing boat.  It continues to surprise me that I don’t see more kayak anglers on our water.  With over 300 miles of shoreline and the growing popularity of kayak fishing, I’m sure we’ll see more and more anglers out in kayaks.  Our smallmouth bass fishery has received a good deal of pressure in recent years and the numbers are somewhat down going back a half dozen years, but we still have an outstanding fishery that can produce some very big smallies and decent numbers to be caught and ideally released.
With water temperatures in the 70’s, most smallies leave their shallow spring and early summer locations and go into their summer patterns, which is heading to deeper water.  I’ve been out several times recently and am finding them in 8 to 15 feet of water.  You will still find some, and especially smaller bass in shallow around docks and piers.  Finesse presentations tend to work best this time of year with three good ones being the Ned Rig, Drop Shotting and swimming a curly tail grub or swimbait.
If you enjoy fishing from a kayak, or have wanted to give it a try, now’s a great time to do it.  If you have any kayak/kayak fishing questions or would like more detail on the three finesse presentations I mentioned, please email me at







Using your mind to stay healthy -- Mental Health Minute series

Relaxing in troubled times can be challenging, but Sturgeon Bay Psychologist Dr. Dennis White says you can learn to use your mind not only to relax but to improve your health. Dr. White says research shows that you can lower your heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen consumption by relaxing and using your mind. You can alleviate symptoms of disorders like arthritis, insomnia, and depression. He shares a technique called a relaxation response that can be a learned skill.



Dr. White says there are many other ways to achieve a positive response, but one must be committed to doing it daily. You can listen to Dr. White’s entire Mental Health Minute on relaxation response below.



Covid-19 Update:  Door County up four cases, Kewaunee County adds three 

After a week where reported COVID-19 cases spiked in the area, local public health officials continue to stress that wearing a mask will help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Door County reported three additional cases on Friday and now has 73 total positive tests, up from 53 a week ago.  Kewaunee County Public Health Department disclosed two new cases on Friday, bringing the total to 87, up from 69 last week. Although total cases in Kewaunee County have risen, the number of active cases is down since Wednesday and there are no hospitalizations.  



County looking ahead for jail future

Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski is well aware of the challenges ahead not just for a proposed public safety building, but for the area as a whole. The jail was a large part of the discussion at the Kewaunee County Executive Committee meeting held earlier this month. With the county’s finances taking a hit due to the pandemic, the $30 million-plus price tag may be more than what it can be afforded at this time. Joski says he would like to see the ad hoc public safety building committee reconvene and allow the community even more time to give their thoughts on the project.

The ad hoc committee meeting was formed over a year ago to devise a plan to replace the county’s current jail facility that was built in the 1960s.

Local Coast Guard honors still coming

Though many of the activities surrounding the annual celebration are canceled, the Sturgeon Bay community still plans on honoring its local Coast Guard members. Sturgeon Bay Maritime Week usually takes place at the beginning of August to coincide with the Coast Guard’s birthday on August 4th. Events like the golf outing, picnic, and parade were canceled because of local and Coast Guard restrictions surrounding COVID-19. Door County Maritime Museum Deputy Director Sam Perlman says despite these cancellations, Sturgeon Bay is still Wisconsin’s Coast Guard City.

The museum has canceled its Classic and Wooden Boat Show and Sikaflex Challenge for 2020, but Perlman says they will still honor their Coast Guard Person of the Year and Mariner’s Award recipients virtually at the beginning of August.


Picture courtesy of Door County Maritime Museum

Sevastopol School District to phase in reopening

Sevastopol School District will have three different models it could incorporate when classes are back in session on August 24th. For the first two weeks of the academic year, the school will be open at 50 percent capacity with two different groups of students alternating days during the week. The groups will be created by the district’s principals based on classroom size while also trying to keep families together. Beginning September 8th, the school could reopen at 100 percent capacity with students attending class on a daily basis. Sevastopol Superintendent Kyle Luedtke says phasing in allows them some flexibility moving forward.

If needed, Sevastopol could resort to a third model which is 100 percent remote learning. Luedtke reminds the community that as the circumstances change with COVID-19, so could their preliminary plans to reopen.

Boy Scouts look to alternate recruitment strategies

The days of visiting schools to recruit new members may be numbered for local youth organizations like Bay-Lakes Council BSA. Outside groups may be limited at schools and churches this fall as those organizations look to keep their own operations and buildings safe. That means thinking outside of the box for recruiting new Cub Scouts and Scouts BSA members by relying on socially distanced events and social media. Voyageur District Executive Bob Pekol says he plans on helping his units in Brown, Door, and Kewaunee Counties connect with boys and girls in the area looking for a fun activity.

Last year, Voyageur District welcomed over 500 new members to Cub Scouts and Scouts USA and started two Girls-only units during its fall recruitment period.

Masks mandates popping up locally

A week after the Door County Board chose not to pursue an ordinance requiring masks to be worn, several area locations of national chains have instituted their own mandates. Target, Wal-Mart, Dollar Tree, Walgreens, CVS, and Starbucks are among the growing list of big companies with local ties requiring face coverings beginning as soon as Monday. Door County Medical Center is working with local government leaders about possibly instituting a mandatory mask ordinance down the road despite last week’s vote. Understanding the issues municipalities have with potential litigation and enforcement of mandatory masking, Door County Medical Center President and CEO Brian Stephens says the practice is proving to be an effective way to control the spread.

Family Dollar, which has a location in Luxemburg, is also among the 20 national retailers with mask mandates according to the USA Today. Several local businesses like Baileys 57, the offices of, and Door County Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore also have rules requiring masks inside their buildings.

Masks required at Luxemburg-Casco schools

The Luxemburg-Casco Schools are moving forward with a plan to open the academic year in-person masked up.  Over 80 percent of parents surveyed recently by the school district felt somewhat or very comfortable sending their children to school.  According to Superintendent Glenn Schlender, an overwhelming majority of the staff also felt comfortable returning to the classrooms.  The administrative team, along with the school board and nursing staff, developed a preliminary return-to-school plan.


Schlender says parents who opt for having their children participate virtually will have to do so in real-time.  The Luxemburg-Casco School District also approved a requirement for all staff and students to wear face coverings when social distancing is not possible.  Schlender also added that over 70 percent of parents said they could bring their child to school, alleviating a busing issue. 


Kewaunee Fire Museum open for tours

A bit of Kewaunee’s past is on display and opens to the public on Sunday evenings during the Music in the Park concerts.  The Kewaunee Fire Museum is holding tours with social distancing at all times between 5:30 and 7:00 pm.  Jim Kleiman, captain of the Kewaunee Fire Department, hosts the tours and says people always have interesting questions on the historic fire equipment.  He shares some of the items preserved in the museum.



The fire museum houses a total of four pieces of historic equipment including the oldest piece, an 1845 hand tub. .  Kleiman adds that all items can be viewed anytime outside with the building being well-lit during evening hours.  He asks that all those taking the tour to please wear a mask.


(photo courtesy of Kewaunee Fire Museum)

Sister Bay restaurant closes due to COVID-19

Husby’s Food & Spirits in Sister Bay has temporarily closed due to a staff member testing positive to COVID-19.  According to the business’ social media post on Thursday afternoon, the restaurant is closed for an indefinite period of time.  The post goes on to say that all other staff members currently are not experiencing symptoms and will be tested for the virus.  Husby’s is the third restaurant in Door County to close due to an employee contracting COVID-19.  Culvers and the east-side McDonalds in Sturgeon Bay closed for one week back in May before reopening.  Husby’s owner Chad Kodanko could not be reached for comment on this story as on Thursday afternoon.  Door County did not report any new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday and remains at 66 with 22 active cases.   

Village of Egg Harbor cancels Pumpkin Patch

One of Door County’s biggest and most popular fall festivals will not happen this year.  The Village of Egg Harbor voted Wednesday night to cancel the Pumpkin Patch Festival, as well as all other scheduled festivals for the year.  Village Administrator Ryan Heise says the difficult decision was made out of health concerns and the rising cases of COVID-19 lately.



The village board’s action passed by a 4-1 vote meaning the 75th annual Pumpkin Patch Festival, as well as Ale Fest which was planned for September will have to wait another year.  Boardmember Joe Smith was the only dissenting vote.   

ADRC ridership going up

After taking a decline during the early parts of the pandemic, the Door County Transportation Department is seeing an uptick in its ADRC ridership. The department partners with Door 2 Door Rides for the service, which provides reliable transportation for people needing to go to their medical appointments, jobs, and grocery stores. Transportation Manager Pam Busch says they have taken a lot of steps to make sure the rides are safe for their clientele.

Busch says money from the CARES Act will go towards recovering the loss of revenue from decreased ridership and other COVID-19 related costs.

Testing lag complicates contact tracing

Increased testing statewide is not helping decrease the number of pending results in the area. There are over 220 pending tests in Door County currently and there has always been at least 100 in the queue since mid-May. Door County Public Health Manager Sue Powers says those that are tested are encouraged to stay quarantined until results arrive, which has been anywhere from three days to over a week. Powers says the lag is because the tests performed locally have to travel to two labs in Madison before results can be found.

Powers reiterated that just because a person tests positive in Door County does not mean it gets added to the local tally. While some contact tracing may be done locally to see where the individual was visiting, the person’s home county takes over the case after the positive test is received. The only exception is if the person who tests positive is a second homeowner in the area and staying local for an extended period of time.

Eagle Bluff Lighthouse open to visitors this Monday

The latest phase in Peninsula State Park’s return to normal takes effect Monday, and that includes the opening of the Eagle Bluff Lighthouse to visitors. The State of Wisconsin owns the property, so DNR permission was required before the museum, and the tower could welcome the public again, something that usually happens in May. Site Manager Linda Faust says the tours will be self-guided for the near future, and there will be strict capacity limits.


There will be three staff on hand to help sanitize the facility while tours are ongoing. Faust says the lighthouse averages around 14,000 visitors a year under normal circumstances. Guests are welcome seven days a week from 10 AM until 3:30 PM. Faust says the lighthouse was able to participate in the Maritime Museum’s spring event to a degree. Staff held an outdoor presentation on the building’s history.


City receives redevelopment grant for former Younkers site

Help for turning the former Younkers department store into the new Bliss Marketplace is on the way. The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation announced Thursday it awarded the City of Sturgeon Bay a $250,000 grant to renovate the building to house additional retail space and public restrooms. The owners of Bliss Marketplace and the city entered a development agreement back in April to help fund the new restrooms and remove an obsolete skywalk. Community Development Director Marty Olejniczak was hopeful for the support back in April.

The grant was part of the WEDC’s Community Development Investment Grant Program, which has distributed over $30 million to approximately 100 communities across the state since 2013. Construction on the project could be completed as soon as October.


Picture courtesy of the City of Sturgeon Bay website

Luxemburg's Music in Park ready to go

The music will go on in Luxemburg Thursday evenings. Music in the Park is scheduled to debut Thursday at the Firemen’s Centennial Park. Organizer and Luxemburg Knights of Columbus Grand Knight Dan Porath says it was important to have a free, social outlet for community members to enjoy in a safe, outdoor setting.



Attendees will have social distancing available and are encouraged to wear masks. You can bring your chairs and refreshments in the park. The live entertainment is from 6:00 until 8:00 pm and will feature the Sugarbush Boys this Thursday. Go to to find the Thursday evening schedule of Luxemburg’s Music in the Park that runs through August 13. 



(photo courtesy of Sugarbush Boys performance from 2019) 



July 16 Sugarbush Boys

July 23 Ken & Shirley Duet

July 30 Subject 2 Change

August 6 Greatest Hits Band

August 13 Blind Ambition also Jeff Stoeger & Shed Dog


Inclement weather cancellations will be announced on WBDK 96.7FM 




Kewaunee and other small towns inspired Washington NFL name change

It's nearly a decade since the Kewaunee School District voluntarily dropped its long-time Native American team name following a complaint filed with the Department of Public Instruction.  Since that time, district athletic teams have competed under the name Kewaunee Storm.  
Rich Plass, a member of the Oneida Nation, has long called for amateur and pro teams to drop tribal nicknames and logos.  He believes that such actions at the local level have finally been noticed by corporate America and prompted the Washington NFL franchise to change its' nickname.




Plass says, however, more Wisconsin school districts need to follow Kewaunee's lead. As of late 2019, 31 school systems still use Native American names and logos for sports teams.

ADRC battles social isolation

COVID-19 has brought about change for many organizations locally, including the Aging and Disability Resource Center of Door County. Many existing trends have been exacerbated like increased social isolation. The ADRC has developed a new program to help combat the problem, says Executive Director Jake Erickson.


In addition to the ADRC at home program, they will be doing a drive-in musical performance Friday at 11 AM, featuring Ben Larsen. Meals must be ordered by 1:00 PM the day before, or you can bring your own. Listening from your vehicle or setting up a lawn chair outside is permitted, but social distancing rules will be enforced.


Door County COVID-19 cases up seven from Monday

The latest report from Door County public health has the total number of positive COVID-19 cases in the area at 66, with 22 still active. It continues a trend of increased cases throughout the Door Peninsula, the State of Wisconsin, and much of the country. Incubation time for the disease can be upwards of two weeks, which means newly reported cases could still potentially be linked to the Fourth of July holiday. Hospitalizations and deaths have remained muted. Total COVID-19 admissions stand at 295, according to the Wisconsin Hospitals Association, up 21 from last week. Only one death was reported statewide on Wednesday, bringing the total for the week to seven.


Kewaunee reported no new cases since yesterday and remains at 85 total with 24 active.


Kewaunee residents encouraged to make a clean sweep

Kewaunee County Emergency Management will be hosting a hazardous waste collection event on August 26th from 8 AM to noon. Agricultural and household items will be accepted, and registration has begun. Director Tracy Nollenberg says that the signup process helps the department space out drop-offs through the event and reduces wait times.


All items should be placed in the back of your vehicle, and protocol is designed so that staff can remove material without having contact with those who are participating. There is no charge for any item, including agricultural waste, opioids, prescription medication, sharps, and more. Mail, phone, or online are all options to register.


Mailing address:

Kewaunee County Emergency Management
625 Third Street, Luxemburg, WI 54217



(920) 845-9700


A link to the website.


Sister Bay hotels still waiting for a return to normal

Business in Sister Bay has picked up since mid-June, bouncing back toward normal levels for the summer tourism season, with one exception. Village President Dave Lienau says that hotels in the area are still lagging the general economy. Visitors are finding ways to spend the night in northern Door County, but hotels remain the last choice for many.


Lienau and Louise Howson from the Sister Bay Advancement Association say it has become common for out-of-towners to give the area a trial run, first testing the waters for an afternoon. Once they find that they feel comfortable, they are turning their day trip into a more extended stay. Hotels are gaining walk-in traffic, especially on the weekend, but it is not offsetting the loss of reservations in full.


National Guard speeding up COVID-19 testing

New technology is allowing testing sites run by the Wisconsin National Guard to increase the number of nasal swabs completed at each location. In conjunction with Microsoft, the Guard helped create COVID Connect, a portal that allows for those being tested to pre-register online. Captain Joe Torvato says having patients fill out the information themselves improves data accuracy, makes the overall process more efficient, and helps get results back quicker.


The National Guard first used COVID Connect in Madison. This week it will be rolled out to Milwaukee and the prison system before being adopted at other sites by the end of the month. Testing has been administered in Door and Brown Counties in the recent past by the Guard, but no requests for assistance are outstanding. Drive-through clinics like the one run by the Door County Medical Center do not utilize COVID Connect.


Grant helps Crossroads Big Dig explore new eras

The Crossroads at Big Creek in Sturgeon Bay is getting financial help for the sixth annual middle school Big Dig.  The nature preserve received a $5,285 grant from the Wisconsin Humanities Council.  That money will be used to hire professional archaeologists to supervise the 2020 dig.  While past excavations have yielded pre-historic Native American artifacts, Coggin Heeringa, the Crossroads Program Director and Naturalist, says this year's dig will focus on a site settled by Europeans.  She hopes it may also give some clues on how Native Americans were impacted by previously unknown diseases.




A date for Big Dig 2020 has not yet been set.  Heeringa says among the details being worked out are practicing social distancing during the dig while giving participants ample opportunity to take part.

Unexplained light seen near Sister Bay

Taif Jany Alnashi was able to capture a unique light over the Bay of Green Bay Tuesday evening. Alnashi says he observed three of them but only got the one on video, which can be seen below. Alnashi resides in New York City and is in the area on vacation. He thinks it could be an example of ball lightning, but is hoping Door County natives can give a definitive answer. 



Please share this post with your friends and comment on what you think it is.

Granary site approval waiting on lakebed lease 

The City of Sturgeon Bay is hopefully closer to getting state approval of the Teweles & Brandeis Grain Elevator site on the west side waterfront.  City Administrator Josh Van Lieshout says the city received approval from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources in June on the submerged lakebed lease.  The city is working on drafting a lease with the Bureau of Commissioners of Public Lands.  Van Lieshout has a phone meeting Wednesday with state officials to move the process forward.   After the terms of the lease are defined, the Sturgeon Bay Common Council and Board of Commissioners of Public Lands must approve it before the City of Sturgeon Bay can enter into a sublease with the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society.  Shawn Fairchild of the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society told that the group is waiting on the completion of the lease before SMET construction proceeds with the project on behalf of the SBHS.


Wave of boat sales hit area

With many families canceling vacation plans this summer due to the pandemic, local boat dealers are seeing more people buying watercraft. According to a Marine Retailers Association of America report, 70 percent of new boat retailers surveyed reported an increase in sales last month. Dean Simonar, a salesperson from Simonar Sports in Luxemburg, says boat interest has been stronger than usual, especially with younger people.



Simonar notes that boat sales are up well over 20 percent this year compared to 2019. The average fishing boat can reportedly range between $25,000 and $100,000. Other factors in attracting more boat buyers this summer are the lower fuel prices and insurance costs.  


Community steps up for Help of Door County 

Like many other area non-profit organizations, Help of Door County has felt the impact of the health crisis on their operations. Executive Director Milly Gonzales says the advocate for abuse victims reopened its doors last week to the public as domestic violence has reportedly seen a spike nationally. Gonzales is amazed at the support given by so many.



Gonzales credits the Door County Emergency Response Fund provided by the Door County Community Foundation and United Way to help her organization navigate the financial challenges brought on by the pandemic. Help of Door County offers free and confidential services to victims of domestic abuse.


COVID-19 Update:  Kewaunee County increases three

After a surge of positive COVID-19 cases over the weekend, The Kewaunee County Public Health Department reported three new cases on Tuesday from 34 additional tests.  Active cases went down one to 24 with a total of 60 recoveries.    Public Health Officer Cindy Kinnard says there was not much of a correlation between the recent positive cases.  She notes that a few were family members, but for the most part, the coronavirus outbreak is a wide community-based spread right now.  The ages of people now testing positive for COVID-19 is across the spectrum in Kewaunee County.



None of the 24 active cases in Kewaunee County are hospitalized at this point.  Kinnard adds that all the full-time public health nurses are doing the contact tracing along with some part-time employees and two new people recently hired from the outside.  She encourages everyone to be vigilant when social distancing, wear masks when in crowded places, and always do proper handwashing and sanitizing.  Door County did not report a COVID-19 update on Tuesday as of 5 pm.

Grants helps local performing arts groups

While its shows are canceled, the Peninsula Players Theatre operations will go on.  The organization received a CARES Act award from the Wisconsin Arts Board, which helps arts groups impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Peninsula Players Theatre canceled its 2020 season due to public health concerns. Managing Director Brian Kelsey says the $8,000 award will help the organization keep minimal operations functioning.



The majority of the Peninsula Players Theatre revenue comes through ticket sales. Birch Creek Music Performance Center, Door County Auditorium, Francis Hardy Gallery, Midsummer's Music, Miller Art Museum, Northern Sky Theater, Peninsula School of Art, and Third Avenue Playhouse also received grants through the program.  While many arts organizations are non-profit, the shows and events they put on generate nearly $660-million for Wisconsin's economy and support the equivalent of nearly 27,000 full-time jobs.

Kewaunee High School seniors await graduation

Seniors at Kewaunee High School have shown this school year the importance of patience. After not being in the classroom since March and out of school since June, the class of 2020 will finally formally accept their diplomas in an outdoor graduation ceremony on Saturday afternoon. An in-person graduation was important to the senior class, so the district worked with the Kewaunee County Public Health Department to put on the socially-distanced event almost a month after others in the peninsula received their diploma in virtual or drive-up ceremonies. With it being his first graduating class during his term as principal, Kewaunee’s Mike Bennett is happy the seniors are finally getting their day.

Kewaunee’s graduating class is led by its five valedictorians: Kelli Barta, James Cullen, Alaina Ledvina, Emma Nuechterlein, and Benjamin Worth.



Stimulus plan debate likely next week

Residents in Door and Kewaunee Counties may soon see the benefits of another stimulus plan in the coming weeks. According to Newsweek, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his fellow Republicans in the chamber will unveil their plans for another coronavirus relief package. House Democrats unveiled a similar HEROES Act bill in May, but it has received little support from the Senate and the Trump Administration. Both proposals could include another stimulus check to qualified individuals who are in lower-income levels. Wisconsin U.S. Senator Ron Johnson says some innovation is needed to make sure funding goes to small businesses struggling to get back on their feet.

Senator Johnson says the first stimulus bill was needed but imperfect. He would like to see the over one trillion dollars not obligated get used before more money is proposed for another economic relief package.

Virtual treasurer forum give peek to election season

The League of Women Voters Door County broke new ground Monday when it hosted its first ever online candidate forum. The over 70-minute Zoom call was moderated by Voter Service Forum Coordinator Dan Powers and included Republican candidates Ryan Schley, Lisa Hart and Christine Moe along with Democratic candidate Ashley DeGrave. Jan Arbter Anderson, a Democratic candidate, was unable to participate. Candidates gave opening and closing statements and were asked nine questions focusing on why they thought they would be a good fit for the role and their goals to improve the treasurer’s office. The three Republican and two Democratic candidates will go against each other in the partisan primary on August 11th with the winners facing each other in the general election on November 3rd. DeGrave, Anderson, Schley, Hart, and Moe are running to replace current Door County Treasurer Jay Zahn. 



Pilot Island Lighthouse a historical novel setting

A look at life at the Pilot Islands lighthouse in the 1800s is the subject of a historical novel written by a veteran Door County author.  Judy DuCharme of Ellison Bay will release her seventh book this month entitled “Lainey of the Door Islands”.  The heroine is a young woman who spends time with her aunt and uncle, the lighthouse tenders.  Lainey is a strong-minded young woman who faces tragedy and triumph in challenging times.  DuCharme blended her own research and visits to Rock and Pilot Islands to develop the characters and the 19th-century lifestyles.



DuCharme hopes readers will take the time to visit Door County and get up close to the lighthouses to experience Lainey's world.  “Lainey of the Door Islands” goes on sale July 24th

Farmers to Families Food Box is Wednesday

An encore to the successful free food event from last month is back this Wednesday in Sturgeon Bay. The Door County Food Pantry Coalition announced that the USDA Farmers to Families Food Box program will be held in Sturgeon Bay from 4:00 until 6:00 pm at the Sunshine House ReSale parking lot on East Walnut Street. The last event helped to feed 192 households.  Dakota Londo of the Door County Food Pantry Coalition notes that each box will feed a family of four or five and that there will be more than double the availability of food.



Londo added that recipients should remain in their vehicles while picking up the food boxes at the Sunshine House Resale location.  Cars can start lining up at 3:45 pm on Wednesday and recipients should wear a mask. 

The Kewaunee County Food Pantry in Algoma is also hosting the Farmers to Families Food Box program from 8:30 -10:00 AM on Wednesday.  

Big K-D Salmon Tournament Starts Friday

The 38th Annual Kewaunee Door Salmon Tournament starts this coming Friday and local businesses can expect an economic boost.  The largest summer fishing tournament on the Great Lakes has attracted up to 3,000 anglers in the past, according to founder and co-organizer Jerry MacMillin.  He says fishing offers a huge boon to the area and the tournament draws people from all around the Midwest.



The nine-day tournament runs until July 25 and includes over $50,000 in prize money including a first-place $10,000 cash prize and mounting of the winning salmon.  You can find more information about the 38th Annual K-D Salmon Tournament with the link below.


(photo courtesy of K/D Salmon Tournament)

COVID-19 Update:  Door County increases by six new cases

Door County Public Health officials reported an increase of six new COVID-19 cases from over the weekend.  That brings the positive confirmed cases to a total of 59 in the county.  Recoveries stand at 41 while active cases increased to 15.  The state of Wisconsin has seen a significant increase in positive cases reported lately including 494 more cases on Monday.  Go to for the complete COVID-19 updated numbers. 




COVID-19 Update;  Kewaunee County jumps 13 new cases

Kewaunee County experienced the biggest jump in positive COVID-19 cases over the weekend.   Public health officials reported an increase of 13 new positives since Friday.  That raises the total of confirmed cases to 82 with 22 actives.  There have been 59 recoveries to date.  Kewaunee County Public Health Director Cindy Kinnard says the big jump in cases is neither localized nor hitting one age group harder.



You can find the complete COVID-19 updated numbers from Kewaunee County below.





Smith resigns as Baileys Harbor town chair

Baileys Harbor will be looking for a new town chair.  Doug Smith sent a letter of resignation to the board effective on Sunday due to “private matters”.  Vice-Chair Barbara Anschutz now will assume the duties of Chairperson and explains how the position will be filled permanently.



Smith had served 14 months of his two-year term as the Baileys Harbor town chair.  Anschutz says she has not decided if she will accept the position as the Baileys Harbor town chair.  She will make a decision in the future after discussing it with other board members. 

Library, LWVDC hosting discussion on "Color of Law"

The Door County Library and the League of Women Voters of Door County will take on racial relations at a virtual book discussion in Sturgeon Bay.  The organizations will look at Richard Rothstein's latest book entitled “The Color of Law”.  It looks at government actions that enforced racial segregation nationwide and were not limited to the southern U.S. States.  Adult Services Librarian Laura Kayacan says she was surprised to learn of the disparities in benefits for returning white veterans and black veterans after World War II.


“The  Color of Law” is currently number 8 on the New York Times non-fiction best sellers list.  The Door County Library and the League of Women Voters Door County book discussion will take place at 11:00 AM, Wednesday, July 15th.  Details on how to join this virtual event are available through the following link:


Picture submitted

TAP continues renovation work as capital campaign begins

The curtains will rise again in June 2021, but until then, Third Avenue Playhouse has a lot of work ahead of it. Last week TAP announced its $3.5 million capital campaign to renovate its performance areas and the space it is leasing inside the former Advocate building. Once renovated, TAP will feature a state of the art 130 seat theatre, a larger lobby space, and update spaces for dressing rooms and a scene shop. The former lobby has already seen its day with the demolition crew with work on the second and third floors coming next. Already at 50 percent of its goal, managing director Amy Frank says she is excited to have the facility match the high-quality productions that come out of TAP.

The capital campaign comes at a time when TAP, like other performance venues, must fill in revenue gaps to keep its organization going. Frank says approximately 40 percent of the organization’s revenue comes from ticket sales, which they will not have many of until next year.


Picture courtesy of Third Avenue Playhouse



Servaes enjoying role despite lack of fair

The Kewaunee County Fair may have been canceled, but  Junior Fairest of the Fair Morgan Servaes was still at the fairgrounds in Luxemburg this past weekend passing out ribbons. Servaes and Fairest of the Fair Kiley Pagel were on hand for the Jim Marck Memorial Hog Show, which had dozens of youth exhibiting their animals. The Algoma middle school student captured the Junior Fairest crown on her second attempt back in November and was only able to attend a couple of events in her role before COVID-19 derailed her reign. She is still excited for what is to come next.

Despite not being able to exhibit any of her projects at the Kewaunee County Fair this year, Servaes hopes to connect with residents and visitors over the rest of her reign, including passing out ice cream treats throughout the community with the Kewaunee County Dairy Promotion Committee.


Picture courtesy of Kewaunee County Fairest of the Fair



Area Republicans look towards November

Door County Republicans received a major boost of enthusiasm this weekend with two events happening in the area. The Republican Party of Wisconsin held their annual convention on Friday and Saturday in Green Bay while its Door County chapter held its postponed Lincoln Day Dinner on Sunday. State Senator Andre Jacque attended the events with a break in between to receive the Legislator of the Year Award from the Wisconsin Veterans of Foreign Wars. He says despite the challenges the state and the country are facing, there was also a sense of optimism moving forward.

Sunday’s Lincoln Day Dinner also welcomed former U.S. Representative Sean Duffy, state Rep. Joel Kitchens, and U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher. During the state convention, former Door County Republican Party Chair and current Eighth Congressional District Vice Chairperson Bill Berglund was honored for his contributions to the Republican Party of Wisconsin over the years.


Picture courtesy of State Senator Andre Jacque Facebook page

Adopt-A-Soldier providing sheriff's office with protective gear

Adopt-A-Soldier Door County is stepping in after last month’s Finance Committee vote denying the request from the Sheriff’s Department for additional protective equipment. The organization will make a $10,000 donation at this week’s meeting earmarked for shields, helmets, and other gear. President Nancy Hutchinson says it makes sense for Adopt-A-Soldier to help law enforcement, given the strong veteran presence on the force. Shaped by her experiences working in public safety in Milwaukee County, Hutchinson says it is amazing how quickly sentiment can turn against officers, even firefighters and EMT personnel.


She believes it never hurts to be prepared, especially if other jurisdictions call on Door County for support. The Public Safety Committee meets Monday afternoon , beginning at 1p.m.


Current events and fantasy are popular summer reading

People around Door and Kewaunee counties are opting to keep up with current events or take a break from them this summer.  That's reflected in the topics and authors that are in-demand at local libraries.  Katie Haasch, Adult Services Librarian with the Algoma Public Library, says book titles that mirror current news headlines and mysteries top the waiting lists with almost no middle ground.




The Algoma Public Library is open to visitors from 10:00 AM until 5:00 PM on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  Curbside service is available Tuesday and Thursday from 12:00 PM until 6:00 PM.

Ephraim Village Board to focus on shorefront protection

The Village of Ephraim has been consulting with AECOM on two potential projects to provide increased shorefront protection from record high Lake Michigan water levels. It is expected that the Board of Trustees will vote to increase the scope of the firm’s work beyond initial due diligence. One of the options is the construction of a sheet pile wall that could cost as much as $500,000. Administrator Brent Bristol says that could force the village to push other projects back, but Ephraim remains in an excellent financial position.


The next Board of Trustees meeting is set for Tuesday.


Back to School Program revamped due to COVID-19

The Kewaunee County Department of Public Health is adopting its annual Back to School Program at Lakehaven Hall next month to help mitigate potential COVID-19 spread. Director Cindy Kinnard says some items may not be available this year.


Monetary donations are encouraged rather than the in-kind variety so that there is no need to quarantine materials. Kinnard also says to expect a longer event than usual, probably 9 AM-5 PM on August 19th. The pick-up time for each child is set by when registrations are received. Normally a dozen kids share an appointment time, but that will be cut to two or three this year.


Great Lakes water projects and economy aided by stimulus funding

A Great Lakes communities advocacy group says federal stimulus funds are needed for clean water projects, including controlling runoff contaminants in Kewaunee and Door counties.  The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative says funding water quality improvement projects should be a priority for future stimulus programs from the U.S. and Canadian governments.  Sheboygan Mayor Michael Vandersteen, who's Chair of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative, says stimulus funding would jump-start current projects upgrading urban and rural water treatment facilities.




The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative says getting such water improvement projects up and running now will also put people in the construction trades back to work, which in turn will create additional support jobs.


(Photograph from

Kress Pavilion in the midst of slow reopening

The Kress Pavilion in Egg Harbor is nearing the midway point of its slow reopening. For the entire month of July, there is a hard capacity limit for the venue set at ten people. It becomes 50 in August. Village Administrator Ryan Heise says keeping the number of patrons allowed at a fixed amount helps bring about certainty, which aids with customer relations.


As COVID-19 cases spike statewide, Door County has decided not to adopt strict mitigation measures such as mandatory masking. The possibility of changing guidance from local health officials is something the Kress must take into account when setting policy, says Heise.


Mandatory masking already in effect at NWTC campuses

All Northeast Wisconsin Technical College campuses, including Sturgeon Bay, require masking for visitors, staff, students and instructors. Such a policy was put in place well before the U-W system requested funds to provide masks and other personal protection and COVID-19 testing on its campuses.   NWTC President Jeff Rafn says masking and other protections are necessary because many programs require students to be in classrooms or labs.




NWTC is using CARES Act funds to purchase masks that can be given to anyone who comes to its campuses without one.

Summer weddings adapt to COVID-19 precautions

The spring and summer wedding season is starting later in Door County and adapting to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Stone Harbor Resort in Sturgeon Bay saw multiple cancellations from March through June.  Resort General Manager Nancy Bertz says early and late July is busy along with more receptions taking place in fall.  Bertz says while buffet dining cannot be offered at the present time Stone Harbor can accommodate larger receptions and take advantage of summer weather.



Bertz says engaged couples are taking the changes well when scheduling.  She adds one couple has a date set for fall and set a deposit down for a 2021 date, just in case the COVID-19 pandemic should increase.

Ridges studies orchid restoration

Orchids are the largest family of flowers, but ironically most people are familiar with the tropical varieties whose bright colors are treasured in home gardens. Terrestrial orchids are losing ground, especially the ram’s head lady slipper. It is classified as endangered across all of its natural habitats. The Ridges Sanctuary has been taking inventory of ram’s head on its property and mapping out locations to help restore the plant’s local population. Land Manager Matt Peter says orchids require particular soil conditions.


The project is not ready to plant seedlings yet. When the time comes, Peter expects to avoid commercial suppliers, using seeds from local specimens instead. The Ridges is currently rolling out a slow reopening, and Peter says they are closely monitoring the rise in COVID-19 cases across the state and region.


Mapping out the effects of the property tax extension

All Door County municipalities have granted an extension for property taxes this summer. Typically, the second payment is due on July 31st, with the deadline set at October 1st for 2020. The additional time now means that payments are condensed next period with only a little over two months between the new date and when 2021 bills begin arriving in December. What effect will that have on potential delinquencies for next year? County treasurer Jay Zahn says it is important to note that not everyone pays on the January/July schedule.


Interest begins accumulating at the rate of 1.5 percent per month if the first installment is late.


Photo courtesy of the Door County webpage.


Diabetes prevention program thrives in Door County

The Door County YMCA’s diabetes prevention class has already proven uniquely successful compared to other locations, and it is set to add a new wrinkle beginning with the September session. Instructor Tonya Felhofer credits the tight-knit small town community along with participation from organizations like the Door County Medical Center for allowing the program to succeed here where it is stagnant elsewhere. Felhofer says the results speak for themselves.


COVID-19 made the group have to learn how to operate remotely, and that will allow new participants to register from across the country, as far away as Colorado. Felhofer says the program is structured so that individuals take more and more responsibility for their lifestyle choices. She says that should translate well to a remote learning setting.


Grab and go grub renewing interest in home cooking

Full prepackaged meals that need to be prepared at home have become popular through online orders.  Some grocers in Door and Kewaunee counties say a similar concept is drawing the attention of their customers.  Tadych's Econofoods in Sturgeon Bay offers a number of grab-and-go items for easy cooking and serving at home.  General Manager Jon Calhoun says some folks have rediscovered the concept of home cooking.



Calhoun says he's seen the grab-and-go concept move from mostly single people prior to the COVID-19 pandemic to include more family-size meals.

Door County Humane Society restarts adoptions

For the first time since March, the Door County Humane Society is pairing up man and man’s best friend. Adoptions take place on Saturdays only, and appointments must be made ahead of time. Marketing Coordinator Shaina Allen says before scheduling an appointment, you will be asked to provide staff with the animals you are interested in adopting. There will also be a teleconference to make sure it’s a good match.


Each appointment lasts one hour, and there will be only one party in the shelter at a time. Adoption is on a first-come-first-serve basis, which means that securing a slot does not guarantee any particular animal will still be available. Contact information can be found below.



DCMC receives grant for dental clinic

The Door County Medical Center was awarded $2,900 by the Wisconsin Dental Association Foundation on Wednesday. Assistant Director for the DCMC Foundation Andy Boettcher says this is not the first time the clinic has received a WDA grant, but it comes at a critical moment. The dental clinic serves only low-income patients, and their need is growing in the wake of the economic shutdown related to the COVID-19 pandemic.


The clinic is located across the street from the main hospital campus just south of the intersection of 18th Avenue and Michigan Street in Sturgeon Bay.


Door County Historical Museum reopens with limits

The Door County Historical Museum in Sturgeon Bay will make its long-delayed opening for the season. However, operating hours will be limited. The museum delayed its scheduled May reopening due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It will reopen Monday, July 13th.  Head Curator Maggie Weir says visitors will have some guidelines to follow for public safety.



Weir says the museum has been taking calls from people anxious to visit the Door County Historical Museum on 4th Avenue and Michigan Street in Sturgeon Bay.  The 2020 season will run from Monday, July 13th through Saturday, October 31st.

Sturgeon Bay looking at Splash Pad

A Sturgeon Bay councilmember is taking the lead to get a new splash pad as part of the Westside Waterfront Development.  District 4 representative Spencer Gustafson floated the idea in a social media post a couple of weeks ago and the initial response has been overwhelmingly positive.  Gustafson says shares how the initiative started and has grown.



Gustafson says the design options are being considered and that the community-supported project has already had many commitments of sponsorship and involvement.  Estimates range from $40,000 to $200,000 depending on how elaborate the splash pad ends up being.  The next step will be a discussion by the Parks & Recreational Committee meeting, possibly later this month according to Gustafson.   


(Rendering of splash pads submitted)

Paddling Another Great Door County Weekend

It’s shaping up to be a great weather weekend to get out in your kayak for some paddling along the scenic shorelines of Green Bay and Lake Michigan.  Speaking of paddling, as I talk with kayakers throughout the year, I see most putting more thought into their kayak than into their paddle.  A good rule of thumb is to buy the most expensive and lightest paddle you can afford.  I suggest kayakers use 30-32 ounces as the high end of how much your paddle should weigh.  Your paddle is going to last for many years, so don’t let an extra $100 keep you from buying one that will make your time on the water more fun.


You can find out the proper paddle length you need by searching Kayak Paddle Size Chart.  There’s a good one on the Bending Branches web site.  The correct length takes into consideration your height and the width of your kayak.  Also, for those using a sit-in recreational or touring kayak a paddle with standard size blade will be fine.  However, for those of you with wider and heavier sit-on-top fishing kayaks, I’d suggest going with an over-sized blade that will push the kayak better.


Whether you’re out touring or fishing this weekend, or on any busy  Door County weekend, be aware of all the powered boats and jet skis sharing the water with you.  Many are having a great time and partying a little, so they may not be watching for you in your kayak.  From a safety standpoint with all the recreational boaters, you will be wise to stay close to shore.  


Have a great weekend and as always, if you have any kayak or kayak fishing questions, please email me at

Door and Kewaunee Counties add one COVID-19 case each

Just hours after the Door County Board of Supervisors decided not to mandate face coverings in public places and inside of businesses, another COVID-19 case was reported. The tally stands at 53 as of Friday afternoon with nine active. 

Kewaunee also announced one more infection lifting its total to 69. That was reported on the Department of Health Services website by the State of Wisconsin. Kewaunee County’s page has not yet been updated to reflect the change. As of Thursday, there were ten active cases.



Baldwin calls for more PPE and testing supply production

Wisconsin U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin is renewing her call for more COVID-19 testing supplies to be produced. According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, health officials are worried that the recent surge of cases nationwide could begin to cause issues with tests being done in a timely fashion. Baldwin is calling on the Trump administration to enact the Defense Production Act to help increase the amount of testing supplies, personal protective equipment, and medical equipment made for communities. She says not doing so has caused people to rely on a chaotic supply chain.

Baldwin says the Defense Production Act has worked well in developing a vaccine for COVID-19, but believes it should also be used to produce more masks, gloves, and testing supplies for employers who want to safely reopen.


Picture taken in 2019

Exhibitors push on without Kewaunee County Fair

While the Kewaunee County Fairgrounds sits quietly this week because of the fair’s cancellation earlier this year, would-be exhibitors are still making sure their projects are moving forward.


Jeremy Schlies of the Bolt Buccaneers is earning ribbons with his dairy cows, capturing a Grand Champion ribbon at last month’s District 7 Wisconsin Junior Holstein Association show. While it is nice to be able to exhibit this summer, he wishes he had one more year at the Kewaunee County Fair.


“Tiana” the dairy heifer will likely be too big for her when Pilsen Skylighters member Molly Salentine gets into the show ring for the first time as a junior exhibitor next year. She was looking forward to competing with the older kids like her big sister Megan.

Champion Sparkplugs member Savannah Jandrin has had success in the exhibit hall in recent years, especially when it comes to her drawing and photography. Though she is not entering any contests this summer, she has been working on perfecting her skills ahead of next year’s fair.

Like over 50 others across the state this summer, the Kewaunee County Fair hopes to return to its full glory next year.

Door County Board says no to masking mandate

The Door County Board will not have the administration draft an ordinance mandating masks be worn. The board reached the consensus after meeting for over two hours Friday morning discussing what following the lead of other Wisconsin municipalities like Dane County and Village of Shorewood in suburban Milwaukee would mean in terms of implementation and enforcement. Corporation Counsel Grant Thomas outlined the legal ramifications such a mandate could bring. Door County Public Health Manager Sue Powers also gave an update on the current positive case surge going on across the state, which was over 750 on Thursday. Supervisor Vinni Chomeau said an ordinance could be a helpful tool for businesses to support the safety of their employees, though more time is needed.

Supervisor Todd Thayse believes it is bad political business to pass an ordinance that you do not plan on enforcing.

County Administrator Ken Pabich and other board members suggested other ways to improve their messaging to encourage masking without necessarily mandating it.

Strong crop of cherries expected

Cherry lovers can start to get excited as the bulk of the harvest is about a week away from beginning in Door County. Some areas are already seeing sweet cherries ripe for picking while tart cherries still have about a week to ten days before they will be ready. Wood Orchard owner Steve Wood says Friday’s rain provided some welcome moisture for the crop.

Wood expects a full crop this year after parts of the county were concerned a spring frost would have a negative effect on their yields this year.

Algoma Schools release reopening plan

Even though the plans will likely change before its scheduled opening date of August 31st, Algoma School District officials have provided parents and students an idea of what things will look like when they are invited back. In the reopening plan released on Thursday, Algoma School District released an in-person option and a virtual option. The in-person learning option will incorporate the “one-room schoolhouse model” in order to limit the number of different people kids interact with on a daily basis. Algoma Superintendent Nick Cochart says they wanted to come up with a solution that could provide the best outcomes for students.

The virtual learning option will include more personalized check-ins with teachers and other details that were brought up at the end of this past school year. Cochart emphasized that things will likely change and a hybrid model may have to be used to get through the school year. 





Power now back after early morning Sturgeon Bay outage

UPDATE: The power has returned for the 125 customers affected by this morning's power outage in Sturgeon Bay.


Recent storms have caused some Wisconsin Public Service customers to go out without power for a brief time.


According to WPS, approximately 125 customers are without power as of 6:25 a.m. Friday with the outage occurring a little after 4 a.m. The power is expected to be restored by 7 a.m. Storms were also the likely cause of two reports of downed trees in Egg Harbor and Ellison Bay early Thursday morning.

Public service space needs studied in Algoma

The City of Algoma is assessing the space needs of city departments to deliver services more efficiently.  The city council this week heard from the consulting firm Robert E. Lee and Associates and the architectural firm Performa Incorporated.  Both companies interviewed city employees, reviewed city buildings and came up with preliminary findings for space needs.  Algoma City Administrator Jared Heyn says changes and upgrades are needed.



The building needs assessments will be considered when Algoma's Finance and Personnel Committee meets July 15th.  The city will then consider whether to proceed further with the consultant's recommendations.

Belgian Days going "Drive-thru"

Locals and visitors alike will still have the opportunity to enjoy some heritage festival food this weekend.  Brussels Lions Club is hosting the 59th Belgian Days with a scaled-down version because of the COVID-19 health crisis.  Drive-thru orders will include the traditional foods of Chicken Booyah, Belgian Trippe, and Belgian Pies.  Vice President of the Brussels Lions Club Jared Spude says about half of the 50 members will be helping out with the drive-thru service.  He says it is important for the event to go on this summer even if it is going to look a little different this year without the parade, ballgames, and crowds.



The Brussels Lions Club’s Belgian Days will offer the drive-thru at the Brussels Town Park from 3:00 until 7:00 pm on Saturday, and 11 am until 3 pm on Sunday.  You can find out more about this event below.


(photo from 58th annual Belgian Days in 2019)


Help of Door County speaks out on social issues

An advocacy group in Door County that helps victims of domestic abuse is speaking out on social issues that are on the forefront nationally and locally. Milly Gonzales, executive director of Help of Door County, says there is a direct intersection between the abuse of an individual and the oppression of a group. She says it is always about power and control.



Gonzales says it is about having respect for each other and how to have healthy relationships, boundaries, and communication within the home and the world.  Help of Door County’s anti-violence work includes dealing with racism, generational trauma, historical trauma, and other social justice issues. You can listen to Gonzales’ entire interview below.






Northern Sky Theater cancels fall season

Another one of Door County’s performing arts organizations has decided to cancel their fall season. Northern Sky Theater in Fish Creek announced Thursday that the 2020 fall indoor season at the new Gould Theater would not go on as planned.  The shows “Naked Radio” in September as well as “And if Elected” in October were the two scheduled performances.  Director of Development & Public Relations Holly Feldman says the difficult decision to cancel the fall season was based on concerns over the pandemic and a limited seating capacity that would have financial ramifications.  She says the Northern Sky Theater is able to take consolation in the fact that the new 250-seat Gould Theater was utilized last fall.



The company was to celebrate their 50th year of performing in the outdoor setting in Peninsula State Park and the 30th year as a professional company. Peninsula Players announced earlier this week that its fall season was also canceled. 





News Release:


Northern Sky Theater Announces Cancellation of 2020 Fall Season

FISH CREEK, WI - Northern Sky Theater, in Door County, Wisconsin, has announced that it will cancel its 2020 fall indoor season in the new Gould Theater. The company hoped to present Naked Radio in September and October, as well as And If Elected in October.


The company cited ongoing concerns regarding the pandemic, limits on gatherings, union restrictions for its professional company of actors, and the welfare of its large volunteer base of support. The decision to cancel comes after the company analyzed numerous scenarios, including the financial ramifications of socially-distanced seating, which would limit attendance to just 25% of Gould Theater's 250-seat house.


"We attempted to hold off as long as possible in making this difficult decision to allow time to gather more information and to give the performing arts industry a chance to work through some of the parameters that would allow for a safe and enjoyable experience for both our company members and our audience," stated Dave Maier, managing director. "It now has become clear that, just as for most public gathering venues, this guidance and go-ahead will not be available until after we would have scheduled the start of rehearsals. Making this decision now also allows us to more fully embrace our virtual season and advance our new works process going on behind the scenes - the lifeblood of Northern Sky."


Northern Sky recently announced a virtual season that includes an upcoming virtual concert on July 17 in honor of outgoing board chair, Mary Seeberg; a performance of music and spoken word called The Healing Session, hosted by actress Lachrisa Grandberry on July 26; and their Northern SkyLights series, a selection of highlights from past performances. The three-tiered virtual season also includes a weekly live presence through Facebook and Instagram with The Jeff and Katie Show as well as their Northern Sky At Home series through email and social media.


"Although this decision weighs heavily on our staff and board, we have been buoyed by the support we've seen from our fans through our virtual series," stated artistic director, Jeff Herbst. "And we'll need that support going forward more than ever, as will our cast and crew. The continued financial support from our patrons will not only ensure we can keep the new works coming but will also help us support the livelihood of our artists."


The company was poised to celebrate several anniversaries in 2020, including 50 years of performing in its outdoor home in Peninsula State Park, 30 years as a professional company, and its first full season in the new Gould Theater.  



Land trust properties seeing more visitors

People looking for something to do in the area have been able to stumble onto Door County Land Trust properties in high numbers this year. Door County Land Trust Executive Director Tom Clay cites its Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal and Bayshore Blufflands Parks as some of its most popular properties this year. Many others are checking out the newly acquired Pebble Beach in Sister Bay despite not having all of its amenities in place yet. With so many other non-profits worthy of donations during this time, he is happy with the support their operations have received over the last few months.

The Door County Land Trust is currently working with some property owners on potential conservation easements as well as lining up more acquisitions in the Ephraim-Gibraltar Swamp and Washington Island areas.


Photo courtesy of Door County Land Trust website

Hunter education courses ready to begin

Those hoping to bag their first trophy buck this fall can start looking forward to hunter safety education courses to begin locally soon. Courses had been postponed or canceled due to COVID-19 concerns, but a lawsuit filed in June forced the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to restart the in-person educational events effective July 13th. DNR Hunter Education Administrator Jon King says the courses will be limited to 50 participants and take the necessary precautions to protect the instructors and the students.

King recommends being flexible with where you are willing to take the course just in case capacity limits are met. While Door and Kewaunee Counties work to schedule their own classes, Manitowoc County has a hunter safety course scheduled to begin on September 2nd.

Sheriff, demonstrator share Black Lives Matters thoughts

For Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski and Kewaunee High School alumna Savannah Gardner, the quest for a better relationship between law enforcement and minorities began with a conversation. Gardner, now a student at UW-Milwaukee, reached out to Joski after organizing Black Lives Matters protests last month. She says it is important to have these types of conversations in areas like Kewaunee that lack a lot in diversity.

Joski appreciates the peaceful dialogue Gardner has started in the community and hopes it is something that continues.

Gardner plans on holding other peaceful Black Lives Matter protests throughout the summer near Kewaunee’s Harbor Park, including this Saturday.




I hope that everyone had an enjoyable and memorable Independence Day weekend! I know I have said it many times, but it is worth repeating. We are so fortunate to live in such a great nation with the many freedoms and opportunities that we so often take for granted. Having said that, I understand fully that we are not a perfect nation, just as we are not perfect human beings, but we should strive each and every day to better ourselves and even more importantly our country so as to bring both a step closer to that perfection we seek.


       Too often we see the events unfolding throughout our country and we lose hope thinking that we here in Kewaunee County cannot make a difference. This could not be further from the truth. We tend to think that mending our communities requires some elevated academic status or financial resources when all it takes is a sense of common decency and humility. Just as in any journey we must begin with the first step, and in the journey to heal our country, the first step needs to be open and respectful dialogue.


        Recently I was contacted by a young lady who has been in our local paper for her efforts in raising awareness regarding the ongoing struggles of minority groups in our nation and the tragedies which have unfolded involving interaction with Law Enforcement. Her name is Savannah Gardner, and below is the first of what I hope will be a series of questions and answers to help bring a better understanding to the work we do in law enforcement and provide a bridge for conversations which need to take place regarding the many aspects of our nation’s current culture and how each of them have lead us to our current reality.

        1. What are the criteria to have different policies or tactics for arrest across police departments? (No-knock entries, chokeholds, etc.)


I cannot speak to the policies or procedures of other agencies , but we very seldom seek no-knock warrants from our Circuit Court Judge. The only time these would be utilized is to prevent the destruction of evidence, or if there was reliable information regarding weapons in the residence which would compromise officer safety. In regards to choke holds, we have never have, nor would we ever utilize such tactics. All aspects of our training is in compliance with the standards set forth by the Wisconsin Department of Justice and their Training and Standards Bureau.

2. Would you consider the Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department a "community" police structure? Do you think this should be implemented more across the US? 

I began my career in the early nineties when Community Policing was embraced by most agencies, unfortunately many have not continued to prioritize Community Policing in their mission as Public Servants, and a return to those principles are exactly what we need more of in our Country. While training and technology play a strong role in maintaining an agency which is supported by their communities, there is no substitute for the trust and confidence that can only be created and maintained through meaningful relationships between law enforcement and the communities they serve.


3. What are you or your coworkers doing to alleviate racial profiling?

The best way to eliminate racial profiling as well as any other behavior which minimizes the value of another human being is to first and foremost recruit the best men and women to serve our communities. We take great strides to conduct thorough background investigations on each and every one of our potential candidates and when necessary, eliminate them from consideration if any areas of concern arise into their ability to be fair and impartial. Each contact that is made by our staff is reviewed and if the level of professionalism we expect is not met, corrective action would be taken.


4. How do you hold your fellow police officers accountable? 

In all aspects of the duties performed by our Officers, any violation of policy, procedure, or state statute would be reviewed. If a potential violation was deemed significant, an investigation would be conducted by and external agency to maintain the upmost in transparency and legitimacy. Just as in any other profession, we apply progressive discipline. This means that we follow a disciplinary process and the outcome of that process could range from an informal counseling up to and including termination.


5. Do you think the police would benefit from a few of the clauses of "defunding"? Meaning, more specially trained professionals for nonviolent response calls, redirecting a portion of the police budget towards education, community development, healthcare, etc.? 

For over a decade, we have collaborated with our counterparts at the Human Services Department in an effort to more effectively serve our community. What this means is that while we may have to respond to an incident which involves violent behavior, once it is determined that the behavior is due to a mental health crisis or a possible addiction issue, we then work together with those respective disciplines to find the best resource for that person at that time. We also have adopted a culture of Trauma Informed Care. This philosophy allows those who serve the common good of our community to take into consideration not just the act which lead to our interaction, but the underlying cause of that act which may involve a mental health condition, PTSD, as well Substance abuse or addiction. These types of calls are a significant challenge and greatly draw on our resources. While the care they receive will ultimately be provided by a skilled health care worker, we will always have a role in the initial call for two primary reasons. The first is scene safety, the second is limited professional mental health resources. This being said, all of the staff at the Kewaunee County Sheriff's Department have undergone "Crisis Intervention Team Training". What this provides our officers is the ability to see past the behavior and look for the cause of the behavior. This training has assisted us in effectively responding, and more importantly de-escalating heightened levels of anxiety at the time of the call.


               I wish to thank Savannah for her work in raising awareness and the opportunity to answer her questions as it relates to the work we do here at the Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department. While I am very proud of each and every Deputy, and the work that we do each and every day, we realize that our success is dependent on the support of the residents which we serve. I look forward to continuing this conversation of awareness and hope that we can broaden the discussion to other aspects of our culture which must also be addressed to bring about positive change. Stay Safe, and be the Change!

Schools planning for in-person instruction

School districts in Door and Kewaunee Counties are hopeful to have most if not all of their instruction in the classroom this fall. Planning for what that may look like is still ongoing as recommendations from the local, state, and federal government become clearer. Sturgeon Bay School District officials reached out to parents, teachers and students last week to outline their goal to have in-person instruction five days a week while also being flexible and implementing as many safety precautions as possible. Superintendent Dan Tjernagel says parents have appreciated the transparency.

Tjernagel says it will be important to communicate with the community as situations surrounding the pandemic and accompanying guidelines change over the next few weeks ahead of their September 1st start date.

Drivers asked to report pavement heat buckling

The heatwave that's slowly moving through Door and Kewaunee counties is causing some road pavement to buckle.  Highway departments have been able to repair the few sections impacted by buckling so drivers can travel without damage to their vehicles.  Door County Highway Commissioner John Kolodziej says concrete roads are at most risk of buckling and drivers need to be aware of changing conditions.




Some pavement damage due to buckling cannot be repaired until extremely hot weather passes through.  Kolodziej says in those cases signs will be put up to detour traffic around the damaged sections.

Sturgeon Bay establishing new star-studded event

Starting on Saturday, the east side of Sturgeon Bay will take on a new look with the debut of the Under the Stars Night Market. Marketing Director Carly Sarkis says the concept is similar to what is done for other events like the Harvest Fest, but it will differ in its execution due to COVID-19.


Parking and traffic will be restricted on Third Avenue from Michigan Street to Jefferson Street, starting at 4:00 PM. The market will be five to nine in the evening every Saturday through August. In addition to Third Avenue businesses, expect to see some stands from establishments located throughout the rest of Sturgeon Bay participating as well. Protocols are in place to ensure that the event is handicap accessible.


The Ridges Sanctuary seeks new executive director

The Ridges Sanctuary in Baileys Harbor is in the market for a new leader.  That comes after Executive Director Steve Leonard announced he'll be stepping down in August to pursue his masters degree in public health.  During his 14-years overseeing the sanctuary, Leonard helped with the addition of 200-acres to the preserve, the construction of the Cook-Albert Fuller Nature Center in Baileys Harbor and a 1/3 mile ADA accessible boardwalk.  As the search for a new leader begins, Board President Tony Fiorato says Leonard set a very high standard for his successor.




Steve Leonard also helped initiate a long-term research project on native orchid populations in and around the Ridges Sanctuary.


*Photo of Tony Fiorato courtesy of the Ridges Sanctuary website

Supervisors to discuss masks as COVID-19 cases tick up

Wednesday afternoon saw another increase in reported COVID-19 cases for both Door and Kewaunee Counties, but at a slower pace than in recent weeks. Door announced two new positive results to bring the total to 52. There were more recoveries, though, which lowers the number of active cases down to eight. Kewaunee’s total is up one to 68, with active cases remaining stable at 10. Incubation times for the disease can range upwards of two weeks, so the full effects of the Independence Day holiday are not yet known.

The Door County Board of Supervisors is having a special meeting on July 10th at 9 a.m. to discuss whether or not a countywide measure requiring masks or other face coverings should be instituted. Dane County was the first in the state to require a mask in all indoor spaces except for restaurants.



Hit-and-run incident in Sturgeon Bay early Wednesday

A car parallel parked on Delaware Street near Sunset Park in Sturgeon Bay was struck Wednesday around 3:00 AM. The driver of the auto who collided with the damaged vehicle then fled the scene. Laura Murray, whose red Toyota Corolla is potentially totaled from the incident, is asking her neighbors in the 300 block to provide any door cam footage that could help identify the offending driver to Sturgeon Bay police. Lieutenant Investigator Clint Henry says that a hit-and-run crime that involves only property damage does not rise to the level of a felony but still has significant financial consequences.


Murray says that the impact was so great that both passenger side tires were pushed up and over the curb from her car’s initial position in the street.



ADRC frozen meals program gaining in popularity

With in-person lunches still prohibited at all Door County ADRC locations, seniors in need of a meal are turning to several alternative methods. Curbside service is available as long as the food is ordered the day before. Director Jake Erickson says that sites outside of Sturgeon Bay have added distribution dates, but there has still been a dropoff from normal levels seen when people were able to convene. Meals on Wheels is picking up some of the slack, but not all. Erickson says the most growth has been seen in the frozen meals program.


ADRC’s Sturgeon Bay campus is open, but capacity is limited. The fitness center and computer terminals are available except when lunches are handed out from 11:30a-12n.


*Photo courtesy of the Door County ADRC website


Friction developing in Sister Bay over protests

Black Lives Matter protests have taken hold most notably in Sister Bay the past seven weeks, and there are signs that discord is beginning to grow between residents, visitors and the activists. A video featuring a man making a gun from his thumb and index finger and pulling the imaginary trigger was investigated by the Door County Sheriff’s Office earlier this week. Village President Dave Lienau says he hopes that kind of behavior ends immediately and reiterates the right of the protestors to assemble peaceably. Lienau does not know how long they will last.


Sister Bay foot traffic is returning towards normal levels. Crowds, heat, and COVID-19 strains could conceivably create an atmosphere ripe for an altercation the longer the protests continue.


Feds find funds to repair Algoma pier entryway

Some much needed and desired repair work on Algoma's south pier entryway will happen in the near future.  That's because the City of Algoma will be receiving $50,000 in federal funds to repair erosion damage caused by high water levels on Lake Michigan.  Algoma Mayor Wayne Schmidt says while repairs are needed on other sections of the south pier, the new funding will allow entryway renovation work to be done this year.




The repair work on the south pier entry will be done by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which owns the pier. No timeline for that work has yet been scheduled.

Guide to watering plants in extreme heat

Green thumbs in Door and Kewaunee County are dealing with the first substantial dry spell of the summer along with scorching hot temperatures.  Todd Maas from Maas Floral and Greenhouse in Sturgeon Bay says the heat and winds can dry out plants quickly.  He says plants and young shrubs should be watered at least twice a day during the heatwave.  Flowering plants can lose their blooms quickly if not properly watered.



Maas recommends early morning and early evening watering to maximize the amount of moisture the plant will retain along with mulching.  Fertilizing on a regular basis is a good idea but not necessarily during a hot spell. 


Sturgeon Bay Police Chief retiring

After just celebrating his 40th anniversary as a law enforcement officer in Sturgeon Bay, Police Chief Arleigh Porter announced his plan to retire at the Sturgeon Bay Common Council meeting Tuesday evening.  Porter spoke during public comments and expressed his appreciation to the city he has served over many years.



Porter will officially retire on October 2nd.  He became the Sturgeon Bay police chief in 2010, taking over from Dan Trelka.  You can listen to Police Chief Arleigh Porter's entire comments addressing the Sturgeon Bay Common Council below. 




Ahnapee State Trail detoured

A flooded trail along County E in Kewaunee has caused a slight detour for hikers and bikers on the Ahnapee State Trail.  Kewaunee County Parks Director Dave Myers says flooding across the road has affected the trailhead route.  He says the detour is not a major one.



Myers says he has noticed a lot more people utilizing the trails this year than in the past.  The trail is typically accessed in the City of Kewaunee by the World’s Tallest Grandfather Clock.  Hopes are to have the trail fully reopened when the water recedes.    


Peninsula Players cancels Autumn Shows

America’s oldest professional resident summer theater and a Door County landmark will not have an autumn season this year. Peninsula Players Theatre announced Tuesday that the fall performance of Richard Dresser’s "Rounding Third” is canceled. Managing Director Brian Kelsey says economic factors and safety concerns for artists, volunteers, patrons, employees, and the community, led to the difficult decision. He notes that other factors played a role.



The 85th summer season was canceled back in April. The last time any Peninsula Player Theatre productions were canceled dates back to World War II. The 2021 season will deliver the shows that were planned for this year. 

COVID-19 Update:  Door County up one case, Kewaunee County up three 

The trend of newly reported cases of COVID-19 in Door and Kewaunee Counties continued Tuesday.  One additional confirmed case in Door County brings the total to 50, while Kewaunee County reflected three more positive tests to reach 67 cases.   Active cases in Door County stands at six, and Kewaunee County dropped to nine.  Local public health officials are strongly urging people to wear masks, social distance, and avoid any large gatherings in public.  You can find the complete COVID-19 updated numbers with this story below.





Bass Pro Tour to boost local economy

Eighty professional anglers will be taking to the waters of Sturgeon Bay this week as part of the Major League Fishing Bass Pro Tour Series.   Major League Fishing scheduled the final event for the year in Sturgeon Bay last month when a location in Vermont could not host the tournament.  Senior Director of Events and Partnerships Michael Mulone says the six-day tournament starts Friday with two pre-fish days scheduled on Wednesday and Thursday.  He says the economic impact in the area will be huge.



The tournament has a different format than most with a catch,  a real-time weigh, and immediate release that judges on the total weight of all fish caught.  Mulone adds that the winner will net $100,000 and the top 40 anglers of the season will move on to the Redcrest Championships next February in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  


(above photo of Kevin VanDam courtesy of Major League Fishing)  




At 29, Jordan Lee is the second youngest angler on the Bass Pro Tour and currently sits in first place going into the final Stage hosted by Sturgeon Bay.  

Photo credit: Garrett Dixon (above)




MLF Pro Dustin Connell currently sits in 7th place coming into Stage Five of the 2020 Bass Pro Tour.


Photo credit: Josh Gassman/Major League Fishing (above)



Door Shakespeare planning for virtual fall show

It will not be like sitting outside at Bjorklunden, but Door Shakespeare is still planning on doing a full show this fall. In two weeks, the actors will begin working out of their homes for rehearsals for a yet-to-be-announced presentation. The production will be filmed by the actors themselves and then edited together. Door Shakespeare Managing Director Amy Ensign says it will be a new endeavor for them.

The lack of summer shows does not mean Door Shakespeare is sitting idle before working on the virtual fall production. The theater company is hosting its annual Camp Will virtually for young Shakespeare fans for three different sessions beginning July 13th. Registration for Camp Will is still available.

Intersections site of two Highway 57 crashes

Vehicles trying to cross Highway 57 caused two different accidents in Door and Kewaunee Counties Monday evening. At around 4:45 p.m., an SUV traveling southbound on Highway 57 struck another vehicle towing a trailer near County Road X in Kewaunee County. Shortly after 7 p.m., a truck crossing Highway 57 at County Road H near Brussels was hit by an SUV traveling northbound.  Door County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Pat McCarty says speed and distractions are often the common denominators in these types of crashes.

No injuries were reported in the Kewaunee County crash while the driver of the SUV in the Door County incident suffered a minor injury and was taken to Door County Medical Center for treatment.

Heat wave keeping HVAC crews red hot

Heating and cooling companies in Door and Kewaunee Counties are keeping busy as the area experiences a long wave of hot weather.  The daily high temperature has not dipped below 80 degrees since June 28th in Sturgeon Bay and June 25th in Luxemburg. That has kept companies like Ultimate Air in Luxemburg on the road maintaining older units and installing new ones. Owner Jeff Blemke advises people to make sure their outdoor units are clear of dandelion and cottonwood fuzz, their filters inside are clean, and their fingers are off the dial.

Blemke says the AC refrigerant commonly known as R22 is being phased out, which means homeowners must weigh out the costs of adding more of the increasingly expensive product or to invest in a new unit. Extended forecasts show the area may see the 70s return early next week.

Door County Fair takes projects online

The Door County Fair is making sure the hard work of area youth does not go unnoticed. On Sunday, Door County Fair officials put out the call for 4-H, FFA, school kids, and open class exhibitors to share pictures of their project to be displayed in a digital format. Door County 4-H educator Dawn Vandevoort says even though no awards will be given, the area’s youth should be acknowledged for the work they have done over the last several months.

Door County is one of over 50 county fairs to cancel or modify their 2020 events. The Door County Quality Market Animal Sale will also head online for its auction taking place July 27th through 31st at 



Shortened strawberry season finishing up

Too much rain in May and the COVID-19 health crisis dampened the season for strawberry growers in Door County.  Terry Sorenson of Soren’s Valhalla Orchards in southern Door County says the overall crop in the state was relatively light in yield with incredibly high demand.  He says that presented a challenge to meet when it came to pick-your-own customers.



Sorenson says his strawberry fields were negatively impacted by heavy rains in May.  The flatland patches yielded only about 15 percent of the strawberries compared to raised-bed patches that were for pick-your-own customers.  Sorenson added that Monday was the last day of selling strawberries as sweet cherries will start up this coming weekend. 


Extreme heat dangerous to pets

With continuing temperatures forecasted to top out at nearly 90 degrees for the next several days, pet owners are reminded that hot and humid weather can be dangerous for our four-legged friends.  Dr. Jordan Kobilca of Door County Veterinary Hospital and Luxemburg Pet Clinic says a few preventative measures can go a long way in protecting your dog in the heat.



Dr. Jordan says if you ever have to travel and leave a pet in a vehicle for a brief time, be sure to park in a shaded area while keeping the air-conditioner on.  Keeping a dish of fresh, cool water available to your pet at all times is advised as well.  If you suspect symptoms of heatstroke, like excessive panting and lethargic behavior from your dog, Dr. Jordan recommends bringing your pet to a veterinarian immediately.


Multi-vehicle accident on Highway 57 near Dyckesville

A late Monday afternoon car accident has blocked traffic near Dyckesvillle.  Motorists driving southbound on STH 57 should be aware of a multi-vehicle accident blocking the roadway. Motorists have to exit the road at County X to travel south from the Door/Kewaunee border.  Law Enforcement is on the scene of the crash that occurred at about 5 pm on Monday.  No other details are available at this time.  We will update this story when more information is released.    

COVID-19 Update:  Door County up four cases and Kewaunee County up five

A surge of new cases of COVID-19 has been reported in Door and Kewaunee County on Monday.  As testing numbers increase, four additional confirmed cases in Door County bringing the number to 49, while Kewaunee County had five more positive tests to show 64 cases. 
Door County has five active cases, and Kewaunee County has ten.  Door County issued a statement last Friday saying failing to wear a mask in public, not practicing social distancing, and offering to hold or attend large gatherings puts the physical health, mental health, and financial well-being of the community at risk. You can find the complete COVID-19 updated numbers with this story below.





Northern Door sees better than expected July 4th business

Expectations were high for July 4th business in Door County. Many businesses were not disappointed.  The Door County North Visitors Center was busy aiding vacationers who came for a summer getaway.  Mickie Rasch, the Community Coordinator with Door County North, says even with the hot, humid conditions tourism business exceeded expectations.



Rasch says visitors to Northern Door County showed remarkable patience in dealing with limited hours and limited staff at some businesses.



(Photo courtesy of Door County North)

Promenade project looks to enter bidding phase

A proposed promenade for Sturgeon Bay’s west waterfront could be one step closer after the common council meets on Tuesday night. The council will be presented with another look at the promenade plans before deciding if it should put the project up for bid. City administrator Josh Van Lieshout told last week that the promenade has been a big priority for the common council this year.

The common council will also weigh in on a street closure for a new night market event organized by Destination Sturgeon Bay and an ordinance banning the use of electronic cigarettes in certain areas when it meets on Tuesday at 7 p.m. inside city hall.

Grant money aids Salmon Harbor Marina purchase

The City of Kewaunee is getting a little more help with its goal of buying the Salmon Harbor Marina.  The Wisconsin Coastal Management Program announced a $60,000 grant to be used as part of a purchase offer for the three-acre marina site.  The city has made overtures for the property in the past without developing a purchase agreement.  Kewaunee Mayor Jason Jelinek says Salmon Harbor Marina would benefit boaters and the entire community.  



Jelinek says the City of Kewaunee has also applied for a  Community Development Block Grant to be used toward the purchase of Salmon Harbor Marina.

Multiple injuries, fireworks keep law enforcement busy

Fireworks were just a small part of the reason law enforcement in Door and Kewaunee Counties stayed busy over the weekend. From July 3rd through July 5th, law enforcement in Door County responded to 28 phone calls related to fireworks while Kewaunee County had five such calls. Door County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Pat McCarty says they had to adjust their operations as its dispatch handled over 300 calls.

A professional fireworks company had one of its employees get hurt during a show in Little Sturgeon while Gibraltar Fire and Rescue Chief Andy Bertges told that a display on Chambers Island started a small grass fire that was easily contained. Door County law enforcement also responded to close to 20 accidents and a fight at a Washington Island campground that resulted in one person being stabbed and a couple of other people taken into custody.

Contact tracing emphasized as cases go up -- UPDATED

Contact tracers for Door and Kewaunee Counties are being kept busy as COVID-19 cases climb across the state. As of Monday afternoon, Door County went up four to 49 total positive cases while Kewaunee County climbed to 64 over the holiday weekend according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. Door County Public Health Director Sue Powers said last week the state is looking into taking over contact tracing efforts if multiple positive cases can be tied to a single location.

Powers reassured residents that contact tracers are trying to help control the spread while also abiding by HIPAA protections. Contact tracers will not ask for personal details like a social security number or bank account information.




UPDATED: Fight reported at Washington Island campground

A fight at a campground provided some extra fireworks on Washington Island over the holiday weekend. According to a report from the Washington Island Observer, emergency personnel responded to a brawl at Washington Island Campground, located on East Side Road on July 4th. Washington Island Police Chief Tyler McGrane told the reporter he could not provide further comment until more information was compiled. The Washington Island Campground responded a few hours later in a Facebook post, calling it an isolated incident at a “group campsite involving a small amount of individuals of the same group.” The post acknowledges members of the Washington Island Police Department and EMT/Fire Department responded to the call and that the individuals involved were removed from the campground with no additional action needed.


According to Door County Sheriff's Department Chief Deputy Pat McCarty, deputies were called into help with the investigation. One person was stabbed and a couple of other people were taken into custody as a result of the incident. McCarty added that there will be no press release with additional details about the incident issued by the Door County Sheriff's Department or the Washington Island Police Department.



We will have more information on this incident as it becomes available.

Community feedback drives projects in Egg Harbor

The developer of a proposed condominium project in Egg Harbor is scaling it back. Initially, he had asked for a 27-unit complex downtown where Mueller’s Mini Mart was once located. Residents had concerns, and at a Plan Commission meeting last week, the number of condos was reduced to 14. Village Administrator Ryan Heise says it is a double-edged sword, mainly as it concerns the possibility of affordable housing being involved.


Heise says he has gotten a lot of positive reaction regarding the beach work the village recently wrapped up. He says residents are supportive of the proposal to purchase shorefront at the Alpine Resort. The next step is a new road connecting the beach to downtown.


No budget cuts yet for school districts

The Department of Public Instruction released estimates for school funding for the 2020-2021 academic year. Unlike other sectors of the economy, education is escaping budget cuts in the near term. Luxemburg-Casco Superintendent Glenn Schlender says uncertainty actually helped in this case.


Schlender says the concern is that the state could make up for holding steady now with deeper cuts in the future, possibly in 2021-2022. Federal stimulus during the last recession allowed districts to patch funding shortfalls temporarily, but by 2011 layoffs hit hard prolonging the employment consequences from the financial panic. 


*Picture courtesy of the Luxemburg-Casco School District website.


Door County Humane Society offer adoption by appointment

There will be happy dances and tail wags aplenty soon at the Door County Humane Society. The facility has been closed since March due to COVID-19, but adoptions will be available again for only one day a week beginning in mid-July. Summer tends to be the busiest time of the year for the organization. Vice President of Communications Angela Speed says that the Humane Society statewide has been able to handle the seasonal surge with only two branches open, Milwaukee and Green Bay. 


The date has not been finalized yet. Speed says it will be on the weekend, most likely a Saturday.


Algoma Parks Department tries out pick up and go summer camp

The summer camp program through the Algoma Parks Department begins Monday, but it will have a twist to it this year. Typically, it involves hands-on, outdoor activities Monday through Thursday in the middle of the day. Parks Supervisor Madeline Prokash says the goal for 2020 is to provide activity bags that will contain enough material to keep kids learning and on the move for the same 12-hours-per-week timeframe. There are two components to the program.


The YMCA’s summer lunch distribution begins Monday, handing out meals at 11:30 each morning. Pick up is at Perry Field.


Door County Justice Center sees unexpected repairs

The Parks and Facilities Committee will meet Wednesday morning at the Door County Government Building, and they are expected to hear about two unexpected repairs needed at the Justice Center. Department Director Wayne Spritka says they both involve plumbing. The first is a boiler issue requiring a replacement with a back-up unit being utilized for now. The other situation is less routine involving the boost pump system, explained Spritka.




Also on the agenda is a proposal from the Southern Door Fire Department to install a dry hydrant at Forestville Dam County Park. 


Nicolet Beach facilities reopened

Concessions were served at Nicolet Beach this weekend on the grounds of Peninsula State Park. The inside remained closed to customers, who had to place orders at the window and keep to social distancing recommendations while waiting in line. The rental kiosk also reopened. Steve Strucely says the beach was already proving a popular destination this year, and he expects additional amenities to make it even busier. Strucely suggests you be an early riser to avoid the crowds.


Strucely says the Friends of Peninsula State Park have teamed up with the concession stand so that a portion of sales are donated to the group for improvements on the grounds. The Nature Center remains on track for a fall opening.


Photo courtesy of the Fish Creek Civic Association website.


Door, Kewaunee Counties both see increased COVID-19 activity

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services has changed its assessment of COVID-19 activity in Door and Kewaunee Counties for the worse. DHS now ranks Door as having a medium activity level from low a week ago. Kewaunee rates as high. Door County Public Health Director Sue Powers says the four cases that cropped up last week were enough to cause the downgrade. The rating does not give Powers additional authority to combat the disease, but it will have a notable effect on high school sports in the area.


Additional recoveries were reported Thursday in Door County. It has fewer than a handful of active cases, while Kewaunee County is at nine.


Sister Bay cancels Festival of Fine Arts and park events

The Sister Bay Parks, Properties, and Streets Committee met Monday to decide the fate of several August events. All concerts and movie nights held at the Waterfront Park  have been canceled plus the Festival of Fine Arts. Louise Howson of the Sister Bay Advancement Association says it was not practical to postpone them to later where the calendar is filled with events like Marina Days and Fall Fest. Howson says the committee will meet in three weeks to consider September activities.


Even without summer staples like Freedom Fest, Sister Bay is seeing a lot of visitors, says Howson.


DNR water quality webinar scheduled for Thursday

The Department of Natural Resources is conducting a series of web presentations this summer on the development of the Northeast Lakeshore total maximum daily load, or TMDL. The region includes Kewaunee and Southern Door Counties, focusing on water quality regarding phosphorous and sediment contamination.  When calculating the TMDL, state officials determine how much runoff area watersheds can handle while comparing that to the amount of pollution that is occurring. From that baseline, the DNR works on calculating an acceptable amount of contamination from individual sources. Water Resource Engineer Kevin Kirsch explains when the new allocations would go into effect.


The second webinar is scheduled for Thursday morning at 10 AM. It will be discussing data collected by the agency in the initial phases of the TMDL process. A link for more information can be found here.


COVID 19 precautions becoming EMS standards

The Door County Emergency Medical Service required extra precautions from communicable diseases before the COVID-19 pandemic.  Such precautions will likely become standard operating procedures for the foreseeable future.  EMS Director Aaron LeClair says the safety of patients and emergency personnel dictated changes in response protocols.



LeClair says sanitation procedures for ambulances are also being done more frequently.  He adds that a reserve ambulance is now dispatched when it's known or suspected that paramedics will be responding to a case of COVID-19.

Farmers market adds vendors

The Sturgeon Bay farmers market added craft vendors Saturday for the first time in the 2020 season. Nebraska Street was closed at 4th Avenue to handle crowds of pedestrians who strolled to tents set up two parking spaces apart, roughly six feet. One of the more popular stands is manned by Renard’s Cheese. Kyle and Katie were stocked with about a dozen of the company’s best-selling flavors.


Due to COVID-19, there were no samples available, but you can still find a bite of your favorite cheese at the two Renard’s locations in Door County and choose from the full assortment of 70 kinds of cheese Renard’s sells. 






All of Door County agrees to property tax extension

All of Door County’s 19 municipalities have now voted for a property tax extension until October 1st. Treasurer Jay Zahn says that nothing was contingent on the proposal being adopted unanimously, but consistency across the county will help reduce the chance for errors. He notes that there is more to the reprieve than an additional sixty days for homeowners to make a payment.


The Town of Gibraltar was the last municipality to approve the extension.


Photo courtesy of the Door County website.


US Fish and Wildlife Service seeking public comment

An open comment period ends this month for a wide range of issues regarding cormorants, a predatory bird that is classified as protected by federal law but is numerous in northern Door County. US Fish and Wildlife Service wants to hear from the public about increased population control measures, including lethal steps that go beyond the current policy of coating the eggs in oil to arrest development. Liberty Grove Administrator Bud Kalms says cormorants are known for their stench, but their impact on the area’s ecosystem is even more damaging to the town.


A link to submit a comment can be found here.


The proposed rule from US Fish and Wildlife.


Ephraim museums' schedule a mix of virtual and in-person events

The Ephraim Historical Foundation finalized its summer schedule Tuesday, reopening four of its five museums to the public. For those who want to visit in-person, capacity will be held to four patrons if the group uses the electric tram or eight people for a walking tour. Programs that attract a larger audience will be virtual beginning Thursday with the first Child’s Play event. Curator Emily Irwin says the children’s activities require reservations beforehand.


The annual History Speaks lecture series is also going virtual and will be aired on the Ephraim Historical Foundation’s Youtube and Facebook pages on Tuesdays. 


Remaining Child's Play programs:


July 9 - Sam and the Firefly
July 16 - Madelyn's Magical Door County Balloon (with special guest Sue Jarosh)


History Speaks series:


July 7 - Camp Meenahga
July 14 - Moravian History
July 21 - Ephraim's Eagle Inn
July 28 - Lights of the Lakes


*Photo courtesy of the Ephraim Historical Foundation Facebook page.




COVID-19 business aid grant applications need corrections

Businesses in Door and Kewaunee counties that applied to the WEDC's “We're All In” program and received rejection letters should reapply.  Some of the businesses seeking COVID-19 aid grants were notified that proper documentation was not enclosed.  Steve Jenkins, Executive Director of the Door County Economic Development Corporation, says business owners who received those letters can still qualify for the grants. However, Jenkins says they need to act quickly.




Grants through the “We're All In” program are limited to 30,000 applicants.  Requests for the WEDC program far exceeded that number during the week-long application period last month.

Community rallies behind Luxemburg Police

Luxemburg Police Chief Chris Gulbrand says his department has been lucky to receive plenty of encouragement from the community in recent weeks. That stands in marked contrast to the historic cuts to police budgets in several American cities. Gulbrand says that for those looking to show support to his officers, a kind word and a smile is more than enough.


Gulbrand acknowledges that corrupt cops do exist, and it is the job of any department to do its best to avoid hiring them. He thinks that police are generally successful at that task, and the issue is more nuanced than many protestors acknowledge.


Photo courtesy of the Luxemburg Police Department Facebook page


Shore and pier repair work increase as waters rise

Continued high water levels on Lake Michigan are keeping companies that install piers and repair shoreline very busy.  Some say erosion control work is causing some firms to delay pier installation.  Jerry Engelbert, co-owner of Pier and Waterfront Solutions of Sturgeon Bay, says in some cases piers have also had to be put up in different locations from previous years.




Engelbert says he's also hired additional employees to keep up with demand.  That's been a challenge because pier and shoreline work requires specialized skill sets.

Camping set to expand at state parks

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources announced Tuesday that group campsites would be opened to the public on July 13th at state parks, including in the Door Peninsula. The campgrounds will be held to fewer than fifty people, even where capacity is substantially higher. Peninsula State Park Assistant Superintendent Jennifer Birkholz says that group camping is a small portion of the site’s overall campground activity.


For more information on making group camping reservations, click here


Prepare for launch: Bunnies get new blast pad

The Kewaunee County Rabbit Hopping chapter has purchased new mats for its star performers. Kim Gilson says that the group got its start just six years ago and has been an active participant in competitions, including the State Fair. Already, the organization is beginning to see wear and tear on its equipment. Until COVID-19, meetings were at least once a month, moving closer to every other week during the spring and summer competition season. All that jumping can be tough on the rabbits, says Gilson.


The chapter has been hugely successful with a plethora of awards, and some records, to its name already. Photos are available at


State champion Kaitlyn Gilson, who helped found the chapter for a middle school Girl Scouts project.


Team at the Wisconsin State Fair.


Agility competition.


Photos provided by Kim Gilson and Heather Cloutier.



Local district sees spike in state aid

The Department of Public Instruction released estimates for general aid to area districts, and Southern Door is projected to see a 43 percent rise compared to last year. Superintendent Patti Vickman says it is the second year of steep increases. In April 2017, Southern Door lost a referendum and was excluded from a new, higher spending cap approved by then Governor Scott Walker. The district had to bring the measure to voters again where it passed. Qualifying for the spending cap increase doesn’t mean the budget for the district goes up. It changes where funding comes from, though. Additional state aid means lower local tax rates for residents of Southern Door.


You can see changes in funding for all area districts by clicking here.

Belgian Heritage Center sets mid-month opening

The Board of Directors at the Belgian Heritage Center continues to inch the organization toward reopening. In recent weeks, the center’s website has gotten new video content, which Founder Theresa Alexander says has been well received. Plans are being discussed to go beyond the virtual and allow in-person attendance by appointment only.


Still to be decided is the fate of this year’s Kermis. The Brussels Lions Club is putting on a modified version of its popular Belgian Days next week. Alexander says the Heritage Center is not using that event as a guidepost when weighing whether to hold its own celebration this August.


Making Door County a safe July 4th destination

Destination Door County is urging visitors to stay and play over the July 4th weekend, though safety comes first.  The organization wants holiday travelers to come, have fun and bring face masks.  Door County has not seen the increases in COVID-19 cases like other areas that reopened too soon and didn't encourage the use of personal protection.  Jon Jarosh, Destination Door County Communications Director, wants vacationers to practice simple safety precautions to help efforts by local businesses to maintain attractions that visitors come to expect.




Jarosh says using face masks and social distancing is also needed to protect workers who keep the bars, restaurants, shops and motels running to ensure a pleasant stay for visitors.

Boys and Girls Club of Door County reopens Monday

After over three months of closure, the Boys & Girls Club of Door County will reopen this coming Monday. Kelsey Dahms, marketing and resource development director, says the organization created an online platform for families and children to stay connected with staff during the closure.  She says the Boys & Girls Club has also been active with a breakfast program besides being the kitchen for the Door County YMCA meals initiative.



 She adds that the biggest challenge will be handling the limited numbers of people that will be allowed in the building to comply with safety concerns when the Boys & Girls Club reopens Monday.

Ice cream a big seller in July

With a stretch of hot weather forecasted locally, a spike in demand for ice cream is expected.  Door and Kewaunee County dairy farmers are thankful that ice cream is a big revenue source since selling milk has not been a big moneymaker.   Jim Wautier of Church-Site Farm in Brussels says ice cream is a favorite dessert treat for all ages and really benefits the dairy industry locally.



According to the International Dairy Foods Association, July is the busiest month for ice cream makers and vanilla is the most popular flavor.  The most recent data reports that about 1.4 billion gallons of ice cream and related frozen desserts are produced nationally every year.  July is National Ice Cream Month.  


Catholic schools ready for in-person learning

The Diocese of Green Bay announced on Friday that area Catholic schools will be open this fall for in-person classes.  Superintendent of Catholic Schools Todd Blahnik noted in a press release that the schools have been developing a strategy to address student and faculty health and safety based on recommendations from the CDC, Department of Public Instruction, and Local Health Departments.  Marc Vandenhouten, principal of St. Mary’s School in Luxemburg and Holy Trinity in Casco, says everyone is excited for the startup of the new academic year.



Vandenhouten says his schools will have a little more flexibility since most class sizes usually range from just eight to twelve students at St. Mary’s and Holy Trinity.  More details on the opening of the schools will be shared as the summer unfolds.   

COVID-19 Update;  Kewaunee County and Door County add one new case each

Door and Kewaunee County health officials are stressing to local residents and visitors the importance of complying with the safety guidelines set down by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.  As of Thursday afternoon, each county added one more confirmed case.   Door County is up to 45 while Kewaunee County now stands at 59.   Door County issued a statement saying failing to wear a mask in public, not practicing social distancing, and offering to hold or attend large gatherings puts the physical health, mental health, and financial well-being of the community at risk.  You can find the complete COVID-19 updated numbers below along with the news release.






Door County Public Health Statement



Wisconsin Senator pushes for Juneteenth-Columbus Day swap

Juneteenth may become a federal holiday at the expense of another under an amendment proposed by Wisconsin U.S. Senator Ron Johnson. Johnson and fellow Republican U.S. Senator James Lankford are pushing for the holiday celebrating the news that African-Americans in Texas were free of slavery back in 1865 to replace Columbus Day as a federal holiday. Johnson is supportive of celebrating Juneteenth and against the current practice of erasing certain aspects of American history. He says the amendment was about saving the federal government money.

Johnson says he would have rather set up a commission to come up with options moving forward, pointing out that it took 15 years of discussion to make Martin Luther King, Jr. Day a federal holiday.  Some companies and state governments have already taken steps to make Juneteenth a paid day off.

Habitat pushes for volunteers

With Christmas as the goal for a move-in date, Door County Habitat for Humanity hopes it can put in a lot of quality time with a lot of volunteers for their next home build. The organization broke ground on its 43rd home build project with the Marvin family last week in Baileys Harbor. Dealing with a construction delay, a new location, and a volunteer base with an average age of around 70 years old, Executive Director Lori Allen says they are looking for more volunteers.

Allen says it is instituting several procedures to make sure people feel and stay safe while volunteering. You can contact Door County Habitat for Humanity to volunteer for the Tuesday and Thursday build days.


Ebert family acquires Salmon's Meats

An Algoma dairy farm family is continuing a Luxemburg meat tradition. The Ebert Family officially announced this week its acquisition of Salmon’s Meat Products. Gary and Glenn Salmon helped the business grow its wholesale and retail sales since they joined the family business in 1975. It is a new venture for the Ebert family, which has seven generations of dairy farming in their blood. Even though the ownership and the look of their retail shop have changed, Jordan Ebert says the name, the recipes, and many of their employees will not.

Ebert says learning the business while dealing with the challenges brought on by the pandemic has been a hectic but rewarding experience since the family closed on Salmon's Meats back in March.


Photo from Salmon's Meat Products Facebook Page

ATV/UTV ordinance picking up speed

Municipalities in Kewaunee County offer ATV and UTV enthusiasts a patchwork quilt when it comes to where and when the vehicles are allowed on area roadways. Last September, the Kewaunee County Board passed a number of regulations for off-road vehicle drivers on local roads, including a speed limit, a curfew, and minimum age. Passing the actual ordinance was left to local municipalities and so far nine have approved ATVs and UTVs on their streets while five have not. Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski says it is something riders need to be aware of as they go from place to place.

While Joski says he feels uncomfortable with ATVs and UTVs commingling with other drivers on the road, he is happy that there have not been any major incidents since the ordinance passed. He added that he will be meeting with the Town of Lincoln Board about the ordinance at one of their upcoming meetings. 




Over the past few years we have seen an increase in the use of ATV/UTVs throughout many communities. As a young boy on the farm, I can still remember when I purchased my one and only ATC (They called them All Terrain Cycles back then because they only has three wheels versus four). I purchased it with the money I had saved up, as well as selling my young bull that I had raised. Back then these units were meant for strictly off road use and I took advantage of the many open fields and pastures around our farm challenging the laws of physics.

         These units have advanced to the point where they are more like motor vehicles, and their use has expanded greatly as well. Many communities throughout the state have created entire trail systems to advance the use of these vehicles and in the process benefit their local economies. Here in Kewaunee County we don’t have the national forest or the vast wooded areas that would serve as such trail routes, but we have seen an increased interest in the opportunity to operate these vehicles on some of our local roads.

         When the idea of opening up public roadways to these units was brought to my attention, I have to be honest, I had some concerns, in fact I still have concerns in regards to co-mingling recreational vehicle traffic alongside motor vehicle, commercial vehicle and implement of husbandry traffic. That being said, I was very proud that our communities got together and created a standard for ordinances which would govern the use of these units on our roads and provide the safest possible environment for all.

         I wanted to take this opportunity to share with everyone where we are in regards to those Towns, Villages and Cities which have passed ordinances allowing the use of ATV/UTVs and those that have not. It is important to note that the authority for allowing these vehicles on the roads rests with the respective governing body for that road. Primarily the allowance of these units on roads is at the Town or Village level. To date the Cities of Algoma and Kewaunee have NOT passed an ordinance allowing these units on their roads, as well as the Village of Luxemburg. The Village of Casco has approved use of these units on the streets of their Village.    

       The following Townships have passed ordinances and erected the appropriate signage which is part of this process. Ahnapee, Carlton, Pierce, Casco, Montpelier, Red River and West Kewaunee. The Town of Luxemburg has passed an ordinance and their signs will be going up in the near future.

        The following Towns have NOT passed an ordinance allowing the use of these vehicles on their roads: Franklin and Lincoln. Please make note of those roads which are and are not allowing the use of these vehicles and be respectful of that decision. Any operation of ATV/UTVs on roadways not authorized is illegal and penalties will be enforced. It is the responsibility of the operators to know the requirements and restrictions relative to the operation of their units.

          If anyone has any questions regarding this topic, please feel free to contact me, and we can discuss further. Thank you and Stay Safe!

Court decision mixed bag for voting rights advocates

A voting rights advocate believes decisions made by the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago earlier this week could place an extra emphasis on absentee voting in the state. Among the decisions made by the federal panel includes a requirement that voters be Wisconsin residents for at least 28 days before Election Day, a mandate for municipalities to keep their early voting period to two weeks, and forbidding ballots from being faxed or emailed unless they are for the military.  With COVID-19 still a concern, Common Cause Wisconsin Executive Director Jay Heck says the decisions will have an impact on absentee voting.

The appeals court did rule that expired college IDs are valid for voting and the state cannot ask colleges for citizenship information of their on-campus residents prior to Election Day. Heck earlier this month applauded the Wisconsin Elections Commission’s decision to send over 2.5 million absentee ballot applications to voters, but says the challenge will be making sure people send them back in a timely fashion.


Photo Courtesy of Common Cause Wisconsin

Monarch City USA looking to migrate to Sturgeon Bay

You could be seeing more monarch butterflies hovering around the city of Sturgeon Bay soon.  The Sturgeon Bay Community Protection and Services Committee will discuss the possible affiliation with Monarch City USA at its upcoming meeting tonight.  Monarch City USA is a non-profit organization helping to revitalize the monarch butterfly population by encouraging the planting of milkweed and nectar plants in municipalities around the country.  Committee member Seth Wiederanders, who received a packet of information recently, says Sturgeon Bay could become the first Monarch City USA in northeastern Wisconsin.  He envisions where the pollinating plants could thrive in the city.



Wiederanders believes the minimal investment of purchasing a few Monarch City USA signs to display in the community is well worth it.  The Sturgeon Bay Community Protection and Services Committee will meet at 4 pm at City Hall on Thursday.  


Sturgeon Bay Utilities to offer new kiosk

Sturgeon Bay residents will have a new way to pay their utility bills very soon.  A new kiosk will be installed at the Sturgeon Bay Utilities (SBU) office on Vine Street.  General Manager Jim Stawicki says the new technology will make it safer and more accessible for residents and businesses to pay their bills.  He says SBU is making some modifications to the building with hopes to have the kiosk open by the end of August. 



Customers will be able to pay with cash, check, debit or credit card.  The current options of leaving payment at the drop box at the utility’s office, local banks, and City Hall will remain.  Stawicki notes that the Public Service Commission has lifted the moratorium on disconnects during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Customers in arrears will be receiving notices starting on July 15 to contact SBU to discuss payment options before disconnections at the end of the month.

COVID-19 Update;  Kewaunee County up to 58 while Door County stays at 44

Local public health officials continue to encourage local residents and visitors to remain vigilant and comply with the CDC guidelines of wearing a mask and social distancing in public as the 4th of July weekend approaches.  As of Wednesday afternoon, Door County remains at 44 positive cases while Kewaunee County had four additional positive cases to raise their total to 58.  Kewaunee County Public Health Director Cindy Kinnard says wearing a mask will help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the area.



Door County is down to two active cases with three new recoveries while Kewaunee County remains at nine active cases. Over 3000 tests have been performed in Door County.  Kewaunee County has conducted over 1700 tests.  You can find the complete COVID-19 updated numbers below.  




Sturgeon Bay moves festival from postponed to canceled

Destination Sturgeon Bay revealed Wednesday that the 2020 Fine Art Fair will be canceled entirely. The Memorial Day weekend tradition had already been rescheduled for late August, but it still couldn’t fit on the calendar thanks to the effects of COVID-19. Marketing and Events Director Carly Sarkis says local artists will be able to find an audience for their entries through an online marketplace.


The Fine Art Fair brings 10,000 people to Sturgeon Bay each year. It will return next May, the 29th and 30th.


Sturgeon Bay approves new beekeeping permit

The Door County Bee Keepers Club is buzzing with activity, rising to over 80 members this year. The group helped the City of Sturgeon Bay draft an ordinance allowing residents to keep hives on their property in 2017. Member Mark Lentz from Brussels says the application process is similar to that required for keeping chickens in your yard. The most important component is educating neighbors, particularly those who are concerned about an allergic reaction to a sting.


Another permit is being worked on currently. It would be the fourth issued to a Sturgeon Bay resident. The Door County Beekeepers Club meets in the evening on the third Tuesday of the month at Crossroads at Big Creek. 


Dry spell hits just in time for Independence Day

Local fire departments are nervous about this year’s Independence Day celebrations. Municipalities across Door County have canceled their displays, which has Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Chief Chris Hecht expecting more families to put on their own shows. That comes following a spring that had almost no grass fires, says Ephraim Chief Justin MacDonald.


Mother Nature is throwing a wrinkle into the equation with a long, hot stretch drying things out which could potentially lead to problems. The area last received significant rainfall on June 22nd. None is expected for at least the next seven days.


Crossroads under construction

Visitors are asked to stay away from The Cove section of Crossroads at Big Creek now that construction has begun. Program Director and Naturalist Coggin Heeringa details the work being done.


The circular drive should be finished by the end of the week. Crossroads is not prepared to start group activities again, but a new program is designed to allow one to two people to get unprecedented access to the preserve. Each week will see three themes to choose from, and the guided tours are free to the public. Heeringa says times are determined through email only.



Door County Y closes Barker Childcare Center

The Barker Child Development Center will be closing at the end of the summer camp season, with no expected reopening. The Door County YMCA made the announcement after consulting with local organizations and other childcare operators from as far away as Green Bay. Executive Director Tom Beerntsen says financial difficulties with the program date back to 2015 when 4-K instruction was picked up by most area school districts.


The Door County YMCA could have an operating loss of up to $300,000 this year, says Beerntsen, stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. Those financial results make it impossible for the Y to continue subsidizing the Barker Center.


Help of Door County reopens office

Domestic violence victims can take comfort in knowing a strong advocate will be reopening their offices in Sturgeon Bay next week.  Help of Door County, which has been providing services virtually during the pandemic, provides help to those facing domestic abuse issues.  Executive Director Milly Gonzales says during the health crisis, safety and confidentiality were significant concerns.  She notes that being able to meet face-to-face will be more helpful, starting on Monday.


The office will be open for appointment-only meetings to keep with social distancing guidelines.  Gonzales adds that masks must be worn and are available if you do not have one.

Rock Island State Park to stay closed for 2020

There will be no visitors to one of Wisconsin’s most remote state parks this year. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources announced Monday it will not reopen Rock Island State Park for the 2020 season. COVID-19 played a role in the decision with the Friends of Rock Island State Park worried about its volunteers’ health and social distancing struggles on the Karfi vessel operated by the Washington Island Ferry.  DNR District Supervisor Michael Bergum says an even bigger issue is the high water level of Lake Michigan.


Bergum says if funding is available, they would like to extend Rock Island State Park’s dock so it can be adjusted to the water levels. Even with the high water levels sticking around, he does not believe it would keep the DNR from being able to reopen the popular attraction next year.


Photo by Mike Kowols

Home builders busy but waiting on supplies

The local home building market has seen a surge in demand.   Jeff Dorner, Sales and Project Manager with Van’s Lumber & Custom Builders in Dyckesville, says the busy building season started early this year with projects already booking well into the fall.  He says the only issue facing contractors is getting the supplies.



Dorner adds that the early supply ordering may cause a backlog in the future.  He says the only notable increase in prices is for treated lumber, which has gone up considerably.

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