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News Archives for 2020-08

New principal at St. Mary and Holy Trinity schools

The elementary students at St. Mary Catholic School in Luxemburg and Holy Trinity in Casco will be adjusting to a new principal as well as a different classroom as school starts Tuesday.  Melissa Wojcik was hired two weeks ago and will be overseeing about 130 students between the two schools.  Wojcik, who grew up in Howard-Suamico and graduated from Bay Port High School and U.W.-Madison, says she is excited to be a leader in Catholic education in the area.



Wojcik brings the experience of having worked on a COVID-19 team in a larger school district earlier this year.  She adds that St. Mary and Holy Trinity schools will be implementing safety guidelines recommended by the Kewaunee County Health Department and the Green Bay Diocese.  Students will stay with the same group of children in a class all day while social distancing and wearing masks.   


Sturgeon Bay to discuss bid for park restoration

A relatively light agenda scheduled for the Sturgeon Bay Common Council meeting Tuesday evening will include a recommendation to approve a bid for shoreline restoration on a west side park.  The council will be considering a recommendation from the Finance Purchasing & Building Committee to accept the bid of $112,755 from Payne & Dolan for shoring up Bay View Park.  Sturgeon Bay Administrator Josh Van Lieshout says a lot of recent erosion precipitated the city to make adjustments to the budget earlier this year.



Payne & Dolan’s sealed bid came in over $40,000 less than the other seven received when they were opened earlier this month.  Van Lieshout expects the contract to be approved and that the contractors will begin construction once the proper permits are obtained.  Also on the meeting’s agenda is a consideration for the refinancing of outstanding general obligation loans and new debt for 2020 capital projects.  The City of Sturgeon Bay typically does one debt issuance every year and the refunding component will save the city about $25,000 in interest by refinancing, according to Van Lieshout.  The meeting will start at 7 pm Tuesday in Council Chambers at City Hall.


Hutchinson shares views on political campaigns

A former politician from this area is voicing his concerns over the current political climate in our country.  Dave Hutchinson, a Republican who served in the Wisconsin State Assembly for the 1st District from 1995-2001, says he watched a lot of the recent Democratic and Republican National Conventions and came away impressed by both parties during this important election year.  He says one negative take away from President Donald Trump’s acceptance speech on the last night of the convention was the setting.



Hutchinson also questioned the choice of normal seating and the lack of mask-wearing at the event during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Classifying himself as a moderate Republican, Hutchinson likens his politics similar to that of the late U.S. Sen. John McCain, Sen. Mitt Romney, and former Ohio Governor John Kasich.  He says he has not decided for sure who he is voting for in the fall election. Retired and now living in New London, the 77-year-old Hutchinson is hoping both political parties can get meaningful legislation passed for the American people before and after the election by reaching across the aisle and compromising.


COVID-19 cases skyrocket 22 in Kewaunee County; Door County up five

The Kewaunee County Health Department reported a spike of 22 new COVID-19 cases since last Friday while Door County added five more cases.  The jump in positive tests brings the total in Kewaunee County to 188.  Data shown on the Kewaunee County website showed that 104 tests results were reported over the weekend with active cases going up to 31 and six new recoveries.  Pending cases did drop from 123 to 68.  Kewaunee County Public Health Director Cindy Kinnard told Door that the positivity jump was more from community spread between family members and not considered an outbreak.  Door County active cases stand at seven with two new recoveries reported.  The Wisconsin Department of Health Services disclosed no new deaths on Monday while reporting the lowest single-day case increase of COVID-19 since June 23.

The Kewaunee County Health Department reported a spike of 22 new COVID-19 cases since last Friday.  The jump in positive tests brings the total in Kewaunee County to 188.  Door County added five more cases and stands at a total of 134. 

Coastal byways awaits national recognition

The journey to becoming an All American Road has hit a detour for the Door County Coastal Byway. It has been eight years since the 66-mile stretch of scenic highway driving could even apply for the special national recognition. The Door County Coastal Byway Committee, chaired by Liberty Grove resident Ann Miller, voted unanimously to seek out the status as natural and recreational additions to the All-American Road program, which highlights stretches of roadway possessing significant intrinsic qualities not found elsewhere in the country. The Door County Coastal Byway is one 24 different roads seeking the title, which comes with a little extra promotion of everything it has to offer from the federal government. Miller says it is a great way to show people that Door County is more than just a seasonal tourist stop.

Miller says COVID-19 pushed back the application process a little bit, but the important thing is their paperwork was approved and it has moved forward to the federal level. She says no one is sure when the designation will become official. If chosen, the Door County Coastal Byway would join Historic Route 66 and the Route 1 Big Sur Coast Highway as one of over 30 stretches on the All-American Roads list. Miller added the designation would help prevent more billboards from being placed along the highways since its national status would subject it to certain federal guidelines.

Hollywood death highlights colon cancer awareness

While many tuned into “Black Panther” Sunday night to remember a life lost to colon cancer, members of the agricultural community in Kewaunee County just need to pass by the grain bins at Rio Creek Feed Mill. Andy Barta passed away almost two years ago to the day Hollywood actor Chadwick Boseman died of colon cancer after a four-year battle. Both were well under the age when many people get their first colonoscopy, a procedure the American Cancer Society recommends men get done every 10 years after they turn 45 to help find early signs of the disease.  Barta’s wife Allison says what they learned during his journey was the importance of early detection.

She adds that Andy would want people to be the biggest advocate for themselves when it comes to their health. Allison keeps her husband’s memory alive through the Andy Barta Legacy Charitable Fund, which helps serve Kewaunee County families affected by cancer.

Two rescued from Washington Island sailboat

It was another day and another water rescue for the Washington Island Fire Department on Saturday night. The department and Door County Emergency Medical Services were dispatched a little before 9:30 p.m. to rescue two people near Shipyard Island Marina. Washington Island Assistant Fire Chief Paul Swanson says one person fell off their sailboat and the other dove to save them. Both individuals were pulled out of the water and taken ashore. It marked the 13th water rescue the department has been a part of this summer, which is nearly double what it usually does at this point of the year. Swanson says the island has been busy with tourists this summer, which in turn has led to more calls for them. He reminds water enthusiasts that Lake Michigan does not play like an inland body of water.

Swanson also says people should have the necessary life-saving devices on board and have their vessels labeled just in case they become separated from them during times of distress.

Gibraltar to begin year online

Students at Gibraltar Area Schools will return to virtual learning when their school year begins next week. According to a letter sent by Superintendent Tina Van Meer on Friday, committing to remote learning will allow teachers and students to prepare and practice for virtual instruction. At its school board meeting last week, Gibraltar did loosen its threshold plan to allow in-person learning to take place at the medium and medium-high COVID-19 activity levels according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services standards. If there are 28 or less new cases of COVID-19 over a two week time period, students could have in-person instruction as soon as September 14th. That decision will be made on September 9th, though students will still be counted as present if they log in online or participate in the district’s backpack exchange program. Van Meer could not be reached for comment. Algoma started school on Monday while Sturgeon Bay, Luxemburg-Casco, Southern Door, and Washington Island begin their school years in person on Tuesday. Sevastopol has been in their phased-in approach to the school year since last Monday.


Pictured courtesy of Gibraltar Area Schools

Lost aid not panicking workers

It's nearly a month since federal supplemental unemployment aid lapsed. There's no sign, however, that jobless workers in Northeast Wisconsin are ready to take advantage of some re-employment programs.  The $600 federal unemployment bonus lapsed August 1st after Congress adjourned without reaching an agreement on a second stimulus package.  Jim Golembeski, Executive Director of the Bay Area Workforce Development Board, says his office is not seeing a rush of people for job retraining programs.  He believes part of the reason is there are job options for some people.




Golembeski says some workers may start coming forward after Labor Day weekend as bills start coming due and money tightens up.


Photo courtesy of the Green Bay Chamber Facebook page.

Butterflies in spotlight at majestic Crossroads event

Tags clipped on to monarch butterflies Saturday in Sturgeon Bay could be detected as far away as Mexico this winter. Crossroads at Big Creek held Pollenpolooza featuring lessons on how to grow plants that will attract the right kinds of pollinators and a presentation from Karen Newbern of Monarch Watch. Newbern is a Door County native who helps to raise the majestic butterflies locally, from caterpillar to adult. She was showing off her newest butterflies Saturday to the family of Elizabeth Meissner-Gigstead from the Miller Art Museum. 



The sunny skies were accompanied by strong winds that kept wild monarchs away. Luckily, for the kids in attendance, Newbern needed some help tagging her own. Monarchs migrate thousands of miles each year across North America and back. The trip takes months each way and is one of science’s most studied phenomenons. Newbern says she has never had a tagged monarch recorded by watchers south of the border, but several locals have. The events are staples of the area through September in anticipation of the great migration for the wintertime. 




Dry and wet fun could be in the future for Sawyer Park in Sturgeon Bay.

Dry and wet fun could be in the future for Sawyer Park in Sturgeon Bay.  That's part of a plan by a citizens group that will be considered by the city's Joint Park and Recreation Committee/Board meeting.  The plan calls for the addition of an interactive water feature and a play area.  The citizen's group will present ideas for planning and fundraising to the committee.  Sturgeon Bay Director of Public Works Mike Barker says the proposal is similar to past ideas for Sawyer Park.




The Joint Park and Recreation Board Committee will consider the proposal Wednesday at 5:30 PM at City Hall on Michigan Street in Sturgeon Bay.


Photo of Barbra Pfiefer courtesy of Bank of Luxemburg FB page. Pfiefer, Ashley Shanock, and Troy Smit will be making the presentation Wednesday.

Precautions urged to reduce Eastern Equine Encephalitis risks

Health department officials in Door and Kewaunee counties are recommending people take precautions to reduce the risk of contracting Eastern Equine Encephalitis.  That follows confirmed cases in six horses in Northwestern Wisconsin.  Eastern Equine Encephalitis is spread to animals and humans through mosquito bites.  Chelsea Smies with the Door County Public Health Department says limiting time outdoors and eliminating potential mosquito breeding areas.




So far, the Wisconsin Department of Public Health says there are no confirmed EEE cases in people.

Some utility customers digging deep holes

Only about 500 Sturgeon Bay Utilities customers are delinquent, less than usual for this time of year, but those who are, have debts piling up quickly. General Manager Jim Stawicki says the theory of quality over quantity can work in reverse.


Stawicki doesn’t have an answer to why the pattern is cropping up, except to say that for some people, if they do not have to pay, they won’t, and it is impossible to adjust that behavior. A utility shutoff moratorium is in place until at least October 1st. The Wisconsin Public Service Commission has extended the grace period twice already, including earlier this month. Stawicki says SBU is in better shape than many other public utilities across Wisconsin. Some systems are seeing as many as a third of their customers fall behind on payments.


Photo courtesy of SBU website.


Sturgeon Bay Schools taking notes on COVID reopening

Wisconsin’s academic calendar provides an advantage with its late start, and local districts are taking advantage. Sturgeon Bay School Board President Teri Hooker says that lessons learned from states like Georgia in dealing with COVID-19 haven’t necessarily changed the conversation about reopening, but they are insightful nonetheless.


Sturgeon Bay School District has held several meetings in the past couple weeks, hammering out criteria to help determine which mode of learning is appropriate given infection rates locally. The Packerland Conference recommended student-athletes play contact fall sports this year, but Sturgeon Bay has already moved to have them take place in the spring under an alternate schedule approved by the WIAA earlier this month at its Board of Control meeting.


Door County Beekeepers awash in honey

As beekeeping sees a rise in popularity in Sturgeon Bay, a local club is showing just how productive that can be. The Door County Beekeepers Club has hives on the grounds of Crossroads at Big Creek. They gave presentations to visitors during Saturday’s Pollenpolooza event, featuring two different kinds of hives. Member Dennis Marquardt demonstrated the differences between a flow hive and a Langstroth hive. Typically, it takes most of the summer for a honeycomb to yield its full potential, roughly 60 pounds of the sweet stuff. Marquardt says they’ve already done several times that.


He says that’s well above average production and attributes the success to the abundance of pollinating plants in the surrounding fields. In particular, Marquardt says bees are attracted to Queen Anne’s lace and ragweed. What is not great for allergy sufferers turns out to be a sweet treat for bees. Honey has a wide range of applications, from baking to providing relief for cold and flu sufferers.


Flow (R) versus Langstroth (L) hive





Door County Republican Party headquarters vandalized

The temporary headquarters for the Door County Republican Party chapter was defaced with graffiti early Sunday morning, under cover of darkness. Police say reports from across the City of Sturgeon Bay have come in regarding various lawn signs as well. Chair Stephanie Soucek toured the damage as a group began clean up at the location on Egg Harbor Road. Soucek wasn’t sure if all of the spray paint would come off.


Door County Republicans had been hearing from supporters for weeks now about problems involving yard signs. Sunday’s behavior was a dramatic escalation from that. Soucek hopes those involved are arrested and held accountable. Theft or destruction of election materials is a criminal offense. 




COVID precautions taken as jail population grows

The Door County Jail is seeing an increase in bookings and is taking steps to contain the spread of COVID-19.  The increase is a result of the resumption of court hearings that had been put on hold when the pandemic began.  Chief Deputy Pat McCarty says the return of work-release inmates is also adding to the jail population increase.  McCarty says that's resulted in social distancing, with fewer inmates sharing cells and other precautions.




McCarty says the jail population increase comes during the busiest time of the year with the summer tourism season. 

Property tax receipts surprisingly high

Most Door County residents are not waiting to send in checks for their property taxes. Treasurer Jay Zahn says receipts aren’t too far off last year’s pace.


This year, an extension was granted, making the deadline for the second tranche of taxes October 1st, rather than July 31st. Zahn says that it is common for last-minute payments to be processed in August, so there is still a chance that 2020 revenues could begin to slide compared to a year ago. Zahn is in his final year serving as treasurer, and he has been able to share good news with several residents who were unaware of the extension.

Interest penalties are not retroactive this year, meaning that a 1.5 percent monthly fine won’t be backdated to February. Interest will accrue from October 1st moving forward.


High earning remote workers interested in Door County

Door County's economic base could see an influx of high income, self-employed workers through broadband expansion.  The Door County Economic Development Corporation has received multiple inquiries from younger entrepreneurs who'd like to relocate to the area. Executive Director Steve Jenkins says many currently reside in the greater Chicago area.  He also says they bring economic benefits with lower impacts on public services.




Jenkins says state and federal efforts to improve nationwide broadband access are currently underway.  That process is expected to take several years.

Flu shots already available

Bellin Health clinics across the Door Peninsula have flu shots available ahead of expected high demand for the vaccinations. That includes both the adult and children’s varieties. Lori Notz from the Infection Prevention Team, says supplies have come in three weeks earlier than last year when the initial formula failed. It is still too early to know if 2020’s shot will be effective.


Vaccinations are recommended for everyone this year, and in some parts of the country, a flu shot is required to be able to attend school in person. Walk-ins are discouraged. Appointments can be set up by phone or through Bellin’s website. Door County Medical Center and the Public Health Department expect to have flu shots available on October 1st at the latest. Vaccination is generally encouraged by the end of October when flu season officially begins.


Silage ahead of last year

Most are ready to forget 2020, but not farmers. Last year’s cold spring and wet fall were a terrible combination compared to current conditions. Dan Vandertie, President of the Door County Farm Bureau, says silage should be ready for harvest as early as September 10th. That gives area farmers a chance to protect their fields from the coming winter.


Vandertie says that cover crops can help provide a secondary source of revenue to help offset a weaker export market. He notes that the foreign market makes up a sizable portion of the area’s customer base, whether it is crops or dairy products.  Vandertie is hopeful that agricultural trade is beginning to stabilize.


*Photo courtesy of the Southern Door School District Facebook page. Dan and Julie Vandertie being presented with the Distinguished Service Award from the Southern Door FFA.


Packer Bus idled for upcoming season

Fans headed to Lambeau Field this fall, assuming that is permitted, will need to make alternate plans on game day. The Kewaunee Area Chamber is not providing its Packer Bus service for the 2020-21 season due to COVID-19 uncertainty, says President Vicki Vollenweider.


Even if the Green and Gold allow fans through the turnstiles at some point, the chamber was looking at having to operate at half capacity, which would mean a substantial increase in cost for riders, or losing money on the venture. In past years, the bus made stops at various bars and lodgings in Algoma, Kewaunee, and Luxemburg. 

This fall will see some chamber activities go on as scheduled. Vollenweider says the organization has already committed to the annual Christmas Stroll. That event continues to grow in popularity for “deer widows” when their husbands are out hunting the weekend before Thanksgiving. The Christkindlmarkt’s fate is still undecided.


Help of Door County addresses deadly violence 

Inquiries into obtaining restraining orders in Door County have increased considerably recently and a local organization is speaking out on the importance of domestic violence victims reaching out for help when confronted with abuse.  Milly Gonzales, executive director of Help of Door County, says a stabbing death between two roommates in Sturgeon Bay earlier this week is a reminder that this area is not immune from the deadly consequences of domestic violence.  She says incidents of domestic abuse can come in many forms. [GONZALES]  Gonzales adds that Help of Door County can offer support to anyone in the community who is struggling with the aftermath of the incident.  Help of Door County offers free 24/7 assistance with their helpline at 1-800-91-HELP-1. 



Link to story on stabbing death

Algoma looking for help as street work is completed  

 A productive summer of road work and completed projects have the City of Algoma looking at bigger plans for 2021.   Despite very high water levels, the City of Algoma has avoided stormwater issues that have plagued them in the past.   Public Works Director Matt Murphy says without those distractions his department can focus on wrapping up this year’s projects.  He shares an update on Algoma’s infrastructure.



Murphy noted that the city will be looking to fill two employment openings soon.  One job will start after Labor Day for the new Crescent Beach remodeling.  The other job is for a full-time general laborer at the street shop that Murphy hopes to fill by November 1.  The Algoma Public Works Department currently has four full-time employees along with Murphy at this time. 


Kewaunee County adds four COVID-19 cases

Local public health officials continue to stress the importance of social distancing and wearing masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as Kewaunee County added four more positive tests on Friday.  After over 500 tests were conducted at the fairgrounds in Sturgeon Bay on Thursday, Door County reported no new cases from the 18 additional test results on Friday with three new recoveries and only four remaining active cases.  Kewaunee County now has 166 total cases with two new recoveries reported.  Door County stands at 129 total cases.   The state had two more COVID-19 related deaths on Friday, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.  The positivity rate was 9.2 percent which was steadily higher than earlier in the week when it was 6.4 percent on Tuesday.  



Boys and Girls Club tackling fundraising creatively

Local non-profit organizations are facing challenges in raising money to sustain their services during the COVID-19 pandemic like never before.  Since most events have been canceled or postponed since March, many charitable organizations have gone digital to find ways to receive support.  Boys and Girls Club of Door County Interim Director Eric Anderson says they are looking at creative ways to fundraise. 



Anderson also notes that because the Boys and Girls Club has a current capacity limit of about 40 people inside the David Hatch Center, the organization has curtailed the use of volunteers and is exploring additional venues in the area in order to provide services to more families.    

Retreat center fights pandemic, zoning questions

Between pandemics and legal fights, Camp Zion Executive Director Dale Stewart has been working hard at making the best out of the situations presented to him this year. The pandemic forced him to shut down the Christian retreat center for the entire spring and only 50 percent capacity for dates in July and August. The capacity limits were partly based on its over 30-year-old dining hall. The development of a new hall has been sidetracked in recent years due to concerns by the Door County Zoning Board of Appeals about its location and a setback requirement needed to build an ADA-compliant ramp. Camp Zion has spent the last five years trying to meet the demands of the zoning board for other aspects of the project which Stewart says would help them long-term.

Stewart feels Camp Zion has a good relationship with many of its neighbors, some of which have voiced their support for the project to move forward. He also points to similar projects completed by the camp’s neighbors that were granted the variances necessary. The decision to allow the ramp and the building to be built on the planned site will now be left to a federal judge after Camp Zion filed a complaint earlier this month.


Picture from Camp Zion's website

Absentee ballots cause ease and frustration

Election Day is November 3rd, but residents across the state including Sturgeon Bay may be able to cast their ballots as soon as next month. City Clerk Stephanie Reinhardt says it is preparing to send out over 1,600 absentee ballots on September 17th with many more likely to trickle out in the coming weeks. Reinhardt says many voters opted to ask for absentee ballots for the final three elections of the year starting in April when the Safer at Home order was still in effect. Wisconsin has seen record-setting absentee voting in 2020, but many ballots have also not been counted. Over 23,000 ballots were rejected during the April primary because they were not filled out correctly according to recent voting data. Reinhardt points to the highlighted portions of the ballot to make sure no issues arise.

Voters get a letter sent to them notifying them why their ballot was rejected and the proper steps to fix it. Absentee ballots in Sturgeon Bay already have return postage on them, but you can also choose to hand it in person or place it in the drop-off box at city hall.

Over 500 people tested during community event

A joint testing event hosted by Door County Medical Center and Bellin Health on Thursday could give the community a closer look at the COVID-19 activity in the area. Approximately 520 people were tested at the Door County Fairgrounds in the drive-through event with the longest wait only taking about an hour. This exceeded the over 400 people that were tested back in June at the Door County Justice Center during a three-day period with the Wisconsin National Guard. Door County Medical Center Director of Quality Nancy Daoust says since it was open to everyone it helped meet a demand that was being previously unmet.

Testing for COVID-19 locally will now go back to only being for those showing symptoms of the virus. You should call the hospital COVID-19 hotline before setting up a time to get tested.

Restoring the roar for service clubs

As membership in service clubs across the nation drop, Kewaunee Lions Club member John Mastalir is bracing for its rise. Service clubs like Rotary, Lions, Kiwanis, Optimists and others have seen their membership decline steadily over the decades as current members age out and younger generations have opted for other ways to stay social. Mastalir has seen his own club drop from over 40 members 30 years ago to just 16 now. The cancellation of its popular Roar on the Shore Brewfest means the approximately $40,000 it shared with the Dyckesville Lions Club will not be available to fund scholarships for local students, support its camp for the visually impaired in Rosholt, and other area service projects. Mastalir hopes the realization of what may be missed this year will help drive membership up for the future.

He encourages everyone to find a local service organization like the Lions Club and learn how they can make a difference in their community. You can find Mastalir and the rest of the Kewaunee Lions Club every third Monday of the month at Port O’Call in Kewaunee.

Island natural area expanded

A small but important piece of Washington Island was officially acquired Wednesday by the Door County Land Trust. The land purchased from Doug and Barbara Lewis expands the island’s Big and Little Marsh State Natural Area by an additional 20 acres. The area is listed by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources as a globally significant conservation area in its wildlife action plan. It is the second time in about a month the Door County Land Trust was able to protect land that is home to threatened species like the Hine’s emerald dragonfly and the dwarf lake iris. The organization was able to accomplish that feat when it completed its purchase of a 40-acre easement between the towns of Baileys Harbor and Gibraltar.  Executive Director Tom Clay says the Big and Little Marsh State Natural Area also provides more space for migratory birds passing through.

The conservation costs will be covered thanks to funding from the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Fund program and the Fox Valley and Green Bay Natural Resources Council. The Door County Land Trust protects more than 700 acres on Washington Island and Clay hopes there are more opportunities on the horizon.

Routines help with "Back to School" anxieties

Routines just may be the cure to negate the new stresses faced by students and adults this fall. Sturgeon Bay Psychologist Dr. Dennis White says creating a comfortable “new normal” will be the challenge for parents and children as the new school year begins.  He says despite all the uncertainty going on, there are still some old routines that can help stabilize your family during the “new normal”.  Dr. White shares one idea in helping the family cope with the pressures of a new school year and the changes associated with COVID-19 precautions.



Establishing daily chores for every member of the family is another way to keep everyone engaged.  Dr. White says schedules and routines may not be perfect but are important even if they may need to be changed in the future.  He says everyone benefits when we structure the things in our lives that we can control.  The Mental Health Minute with Dr. White is below.




Org recruitment begins amidst pandemic

Youth organizations like the Girl Scouts of the Northwestern Great Lakes and Bay-Lakes Council are preparing for one of their most challenging recruitment periods in recent memory. The recruitment push to join Cub Scout, Scouts USA and Girl Scout units usually begins at school open houses and inside the classroom. With school districts restricting access to their buildings and hosting virtual events to start the year due to the pandemic, the efforts have been moved to other locations like parking lots and parks. Both the Bay-Lakes Council and Girl Scouts of the Northwestern Great Lakes have developed virtual programming to keep youth engaged while remaining socially distant. Even with the challenges presented to youth organizations for recruitment, Bay-Lakes Council Voyageur District Executive Bob Pekol says this is still a great opportunity to make an impact.

Events already on the calendar for Bay-Lakes Council include September 17th at the Luxemburg Sportsman Club beginning at 6 p.m. and September 12th at the Algoma Youth Club starting at 9:30 a.m. Both the Girl Scouts of the Northwestern Great Lakes and Bay-Lakes Council are finalizing the details of several other recruitment events to be held throughout Door and Kewaunee Counties in the coming weeks. If you already know you want to join, registration for Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts is available by clicking the hyperlinks.


Stock image from Pixabay

Door County adds one COVID-19 case

Local public health officials continue to work through the backlog of pending COVID-19 cases as Door County disclosed one new positive test with two fewer actives.  A total of 155 cases remain pending in Door County.  Kewaunee County did not receive a positive test on Thursday after a jump of nine new cases on Wednesday.  That spike in numbers was attributed to a backlog from the state after four days of no reported positive tests. Kewaunee County now has a total of 162. The total number of pending cases did decrease by 26 to 125 with two new recoveries reported.    The state had 11 more COVID-19 related deaths on Thursday, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.



 Compost site dealing with dumping and high traffic

Unauthorized dumping at the Sturgeon Bay compost site comes at a high cost to taxpayers.  Municipal Services Director Mike Barker says recent dumpings of treated lumber and other illegal products is a concern.  The public has been better of late in only bringing the allowable brush and smaller tree limbs.  He explains that the possible ramifications of dropping off tree trunks and other large items at the compost site.



Barker notes it has been the busiest summer he has seen.  The City of Sturgeon Bay compost site is located on Shiloh Road in Sturgeon Bay and is open from dawn to dusk to all city residents at no charge.  Town of Sturgeon Bay and Sevastopol residents may obtain a permit for $100 to utilize the compost site during the year. 

Kewaunee teen's view on Kenosha shootings and racism

Kewaunee and Kenosha are about 160-miles apart via highway. However, the police shooting of Jacob Blake and the unrest that followed is too close to home for Vanessa Guillen of Kewaunee.  She's been involved in recent Black Lives Matter efforts in her home town.  Guillen, who's Hispanic, says even though such incidents are happening elsewhere she hopes they point to the need for action everywhere.



Guillen believes some defunding of local police agencies is necessary to help communities with issues that law officers are not trained to handle.  She also says confusion needs to be cleared up about the definition of defunding.



Black Lives participants have petitioned the Kewaunee School District to condemn racism and to make changes to add more diverse perspectives in the curriculum. 


Since the initial report by the Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigations was released late Wednesday, the Badger State Sheriff's Association, Wisconsin Chiefs of Police Association, the Wisconsin Sheriff's and Deputy Sheriff's Association, and the Wisconsin Police Executive Group have called for an end to the riots and for government leaders to refrain from making additional statements until the investigation is completed.

NOTE: A previous version of this story had noted Jacob Blake was unarmed. The Wisconsin Department of Justice released additional details about the incident Wednesday evening. Blake admitted to law enforcement that he had a knife and was shot as he opened the driver's side door. The report states that a knife was found underneath the floorboard of the driver's side of the vehicle. The investigation by the Wisconsin Department of Justice is ongoing.


Photo submitted

Helping people Feel the Love

Ultimate Air office manager Paula Shefchik looks forward to the first Saturday of October every year. That is when dealers of Lennox heating and cooling products participate in its Feel the Love program, formerly known in the region as Heat UP Wisconsin. Family and community members nominate deserving families to receive a free furnace from the company. In the past, companies like Ultimate Air in Luxemburg and Synergy Heating and Cooling in Sturgeon Bay have donated their time to install the unit and bring a few extra smiles along the way. Shefchik says in the seven years Ultimate Air has participated in the program, they are proud of the difference they have helped make in the community.

Shefchik adds many people are too humble to admit they need assistance from the Lennox Feel the Love program even if they qualify for the help. The deadline for nominations for this year’s Feel the Love program is August 31st, but you can always suggest other deserving recipients at the website year-round. 


Picture from 2019 Feel The Love event

County defends millpond drawdown

During Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, the Department of Soil and Water Conservation defended the progress made in the Forestville Millpond drawdown. The controversial policy began in November of last year. Staff member Greg Coulthurst said there are definite signs that soil compaction is happening, thanks to a gradual drying out process. Coulthurst noted prominent geographic landmarks, such as large rocks, are becoming more visible. He also pointed out that plant life is increasing in the pond bed.


Groups contest the drawdown’s success, including the Friends of the Forestville Dam. They have filed a notice of claim in district court challenging the measure. That legal action was not discussed by Soil and Water. 

Other items discussed including a lengthy presentation by the Wisconsin Counties Association. That typically happens in April as a kind of orientation for newly elected officials but was pushed back due to COVID-19. Tuesday’s talk focused on ethics and a brief explainer of how government works at the county level. Representatives from the WCA will be at future meetings to conduct further training aimed at good governance.


*Millpond photo taken August 6, 2020. Water level has fluctuated significantly since then.


Kewaunee COVID cases rise by nine

Kewaunee County saw a significant jump in COVID-19 cases Wednesday, nine new infections coming on the heels of four days without a case. The total rises to 162 with 15 active. Public Health Director Cindy Kinnard says the state may be playing catch up in reporting results. No specific outbreak has been identified.

Wednesday’s updated COVID-19 count saw no new COVID-19 cases in Door County. The total remains at 128, with one additional recovery bringing active infections down into the single digits again at nine. A community testing event is being held tomorrow at the Door County Fairgrounds, including those who are asymptomatic. There is no cost.



Women's rights on parade

The Door County League of Women Voters commemorated the moment that made their organization possible. Wednesday marked 100 years since women’s suffrage was enshrined as a right in the United States Constitution through the 19th Amendment. A parade began downtown near the intersection of Michigan Street and 3rd Avenue in Sturgeon Bay at noon, passing over the canal before returning to the city’s east side. On a hot, muggy afternoon, the revelers dressed in 1920’s era clothing and congregated at Martin Park. President Pat Scieszinski read the text of the Amendment.



The organization has been active in the run-up to this year’s election, encouraging voter registration among other initiatives to increase participation.


Luxemburg-Casco schools prepared for Tuesday opening

The Luxemburg-Casco secondary school faculty and students will be walking into a new world, literally, next Tuesday as the academic year begins.  The upcoming school year will be impacted by a recently completed middle school building and the precautions being taken for the COVID-19 pandemic.  Luxemburg-Casco School District Superintendent Glenn Schlender says parking and drop-off for students will be done similarly to last year.  He explains the process for all grade levels.



Schlender says students entering through the new main entrance will see the middle school office to the right and the high school office to the left.  High Schoolers will also be able to enter through the gymnasium entrance.  A district-wide plan includes required masks and over 300 clear polycarbonate sheets that are four by eight feet in size that will provide a barrier between students where social distancing is not possible.  Schlender believes that will be a solution that increases the ability to teach children in-person while following the public health guidelines for a safe reopening.  4K through second grade will have 93 percent in-person learning with seven percent choosing virtual.  Third grade through high school students will have 86 percent in-person learning and the rest evenly split between virtual and a hybrid option.   


Podcast with Superintendent Glenn Schlender


Door County supervisors commit to Washington Island facility

A motion to reconsider the purchase of land on Washington Island for a new county EMS facility failed at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting. Administrator Ken Pabich says the issue goes back several years, and it is gratifying to see a conclusion in sight. Currently, the Town of Washington and Door County share one building for emergency services, but it is becoming too crowded as the Washington Island Fire Department expands. 
The Town of Washington has balked at the construction of a new joint facility, keeping fire and EMS together, citing lack of funds. The Board of Supervisors discussed how having an island means increased costs to operate. Still, it stopped short of committing to building the structure itself over concerns of the precedent it could set going forward regarding ventures with other municipalities. 
Pabich says things are still at the preliminary stages. He hopes to complete the land purchase in the coming months. 


The parcel includes the Historic Island Dairy, 1309 Rangeline Road. The goal is to incorporate that into the design of the new county building. In addition to EMS, expect the Door County Sheriff’s Office and other departments to utilize the facility.


Kewaunee County provides school supplies to needy children

Over 300 needy children have the school supplies they need to hit the ground running when class begins this fall. Kewaunee County Public Health released final numbers for this year’s Back to School Program on Tuesday. The event was held on August 19th at Lakehaven Hall in the City of Kewaunee. Cindy Kinnard says there were safety precautions put in place due to COVID-19. Supplies were handed out from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM rather than the traditional afternoon window, to limit the number of kids together at one time.

While it took a bit longer and looked different, turnout was still good. Approximately 320 children from 150 families were helped, which is in the normal range, says Kinnard.


The Back to School Program aids children in assistance programs like Food Share, Badger Care, or reduced lunches, among others.



Photos provided by Kewaunee County.


Busy Labor Day holiday expected in Door County

The COVID-19 pandemic is not keeping visitors away from Door County.  Summer weekends have been very busy for campgrounds, motels, beaches, and state parks.  Tourist traffic for Labor Day weekend is not expected to dwindle.  Jon Jarosh with Destination Door County bases that on email and phone inquiries.




Jarosh expects business to remain strong in the early weekends of fall.

Kwik Trip coming to Luxemburg

A major convenience store chain is planning to open in Luxemburg in 2021.  Kwik Trip/Kwik Star, which has locations throughout the Midwest, presented a site plan to the Village of Luxemburg.  Village President Jack Seidl confirmed that the board will be taking up the plans at the next meeting on September 15.



The property Kwik Trip is looking to build on is on the corner of Spartan Way and County AB, just north of the main intersection in Luxemburg.  Kwik Trip was founded in 1965 and is based in La Crosse.  Director of Corporate Communications John McHugh says Kwik Trip would not have a comment until approval of the site plan was made. 


One new COVID-19 case in Door County

Door County Public Health reported one new COVID-19 infection Tuesday afternoon, bringing the total to 128 cases. There were no recoveries announced, so the number of active cases also increased by one to 10 overall.

Kewaunee County saw one recovery with no new cases. The total stays at 153, with seven active.

Both tallies are consistent with a generally decreasing trend across the State of Wisconsin. Monday featured the lowest number of confirmed cases since June. Tuesday’s total was roughly equal to the same day last week.




Fincantieri Bayship gets variance approval on building heights

A lengthy Sturgeon Bay Zoning Board of Appeals meeting Tuesday afternoon ended with the approval of two variance requests from Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding with conditions attached.  After much discussion, the granted variances included conditions that require Bayship to submit a plan and schedule for Third Avenue improvements within six months to the City of Sturgeon Bay that addresses landscaping, parking enhancements, the appearance of buildings and follow storm-water management set down by the DNR.  The variance is for an existing building at the 273 N. 1st Avenue location and a new fabrication hall at 341 N. Third Avenue projected to be 110 feet high.  The current ordinance is for buildings not to exceed 45 feet.  Vice-President and General Manager Todd Thayse shared the shipyard’s upgrade plan associated with a U.S. Navy Frigate contract that would be a $30 million investment for the shipyard with a thirty-minute presentation.  The second ordinance also included a condition that must keep the building within three feet of its planned site with a 75-foot setback.  Chair Bill Murrock oversaw public hearing that went for over ninety-minutes with several people speaking in favor with written correspondences supporting the variance for the shipyard.  Several opponents then shared several concerns including shipyard noise, air and water quality issues, and skyline impact.  

State of Emergency declared for Wisconsin over Kenosha protests

Governor Tony Evers announced a State of Emergency for all of Wisconsin Tuesday related to the violence that has occurred in Kenosha since an officer-involved shooting on Sunday night. The declaration allows for additional National Guard troops to be deployed to the area to help protect property and restore peace. Several Kenosha businesses have been burned to the ground, including harrowing photos of entire car dealerships up in flames during the riots. Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski says that he doesn’t expect anything to change for area departments, even with a cooperation agreement in place to assist as needed.


Kenosha Police and local officials are asking for the public to allow an investigation into the shooting of Jacob Blake to take its course. 




MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers today signed Executive Order #86 declaring a state of emergency following protests in communities across Wisconsin. Executive Order #86 proclaims a state of emergency in Wisconsin, directs state agencies to continue assisting the state response, and calls to state active duty additional elements of the Wisconsin National Guard to support first responders and protect critical infrastructure and cultural institutions. The state of emergency declaration comes as earlier today Gov. Evers released a statement regarding protests in Wisconsin last night.


On Monday, at the request of local officials, the governor announced he authorized the Wisconsin National Guard to help protect critical infrastructure and assist in maintaining public safety and the ability of individuals to peacefully protest in Kenosha County. Following protests on Monday night, Gov. Evers today announced he is authorizing increased Wisconsin National Guard support for Kenosha County to 250 members and will continue to adjust to meet local needs.


The National Guard may not be used to impede the ability of people to peacefully protest or impede the ability of the media to report on this situation. Pursuant to Section 321.39(1)(a) of the Wisconsin Statutes, the governor ordered into state active duty members of the Wisconsin National Guard deemed necessary to support to local law enforcement and first responders in Kenosha. Any Guard members called to active duty may only be used to provide support to local law enforcement and to protect critical infrastructure and cultural institutions necessary for the well-being of the community, and to provide support to first responders such as the Kenosha Fire Department.


Sturgeon Bay woman arrested for murder

A $1 million cash bond was set for a Sturgeon Bay woman Tuesday after she was charged with first-degree intentional homicide. Just after 12:30 AM , Sturgeon Bay Police were called to an apartment building at 1834 Florida Street, where they found a 52-year-old Susan Soukup out front. She told the officers twice that she had stabbed a person. The body of another woman was found in the hallway of Apartment C, where Soukup lives, with several critical stab wounds to her back and neck. The victim was treated on scene and taken to the hospital but did not survive the attack. She was pronounced dead at Door County Medical Center at 2:21 AM at just 32 years old. The victim’s identity has not yet been announced.


Captain Dan Brinkman says the crime lab in Milwaukee was called immediately for assistance and their investigation of the scene was still as of 3 PM Tuesday.


Soukup had a hearing Tuesday afternoon in court. If found guilty, Soukup could face up to life in prison.




Asymptomatic cases cause anxiousness

Thursday’s joint testing effort between Door County Medical Center and Bellin Health could bring many who have been begging to get results. Research shows that approximately 40 percent of those infected with coronavirus are asymptomatic. Not having symptoms does not necessarily mean you cannot spread it to other people.  It is part of the reason many people leave their call with the Door County Medical Center COVID-19 hotline frustrated that they cannot get tested. Quality Director Nancy Daoust says they have tried to educate in those circumstances.

Daoust recommends people continue to socially distance, wear a mask, and practice good hygiene to help protect yourself from getting infected. Whether you are asymptomatic or not, you can get tested for free at the Door County Fairgrounds from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday.


You can listen to more from our conversation with Nancy Daoust and Jane Metko on our podcasts page.

Deputies standing tall during pandemic and unrest

Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski is proud of the members of his department during this time of uncertainty. On Saturday, Dane County Sheriff’s Deputy Rick Treadwell became the first COVID-19 law enforcement duty death in Wisconsin. Last week, the Green Bay Correctional Institution saw another spike in COVID-19 cases, infecting inmates and employees alike. Joski says all of his personnel have been wearing the proper personal protective equipment and are taking other precautions to keep the people they deal with on a regular basis. He adds everyone has continued to answer the call of duty.

As for the recent unrest in Kenosha related to another officer-involved death, Joski says it is a tragedy. He also believes the investigation should run its course out of respect to the police officers and the victims involved in the incident before conclusions are made.

Golf courses hitting the green

Golf courses across the country including Door County are sinking their putts when it comes to hosting a successful season this year. Golf is providing people with a way to socialize while still being able to stay socially distant. Even with some COVID-19 precautions still taking place like spaced out tee times and extra cart rentals, places like Idlewild Golf Course near Sturgeon Bay are seeing an increase in play. General Manager Brandon Hansen says the weather has helped out a lot.

Hansen credited his grounds crew for helping keep the course in great shape and for addressing drainage issues that caused it to be wetter than other places in the past. Golf is also playing well indoors as well with television ratings hitting its highest levels in the past five years.


Picture courtesy of the PGA-Wisconsin Section

Sevastopol welcomes students, introduces referendum

As teachers welcome their students on their first day of school twice this week, Sevastopol School District introduced an upcoming referendum question. Monday marked the first day of school for approximately half the school while the other half got their academic year started on Tuesday. It is part of the district’s reopening plan for the next two weeks as teachers and staff adjust to having students back in the building for the first time since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the school in March. Masks are being worn throughout the day by students and faculty except for when eating lunch or if they have a medical reason. Superintendent Kyle Luedtke hopes Monday was a positive step towards welcoming the entire student population back to their hallways after Labor Day.

Luedtke says the only hiccup on the school’s opening days was student drop-off and pick-up. The district prefers parents to enter off Ripp Road onto Pioneer Way and following the flow of traffic around the south side of the school. On Tuesday, Sevastopol officially announced Tuesday it would be seeking an $8 million operational referendum. The referendum would call for $2 million over the next four years, replacing a 2018 measure that expires at the end of the current school year. The District says if all other factors stay constant the financial impact should remain the same. A restructuring of the debt for its building project could bring a decrease in the tax rate.

Door County Republican Chair expects positive message

The Republican Party of Door County is calling for a uniting message for all of America as the National Convention kicked off on Monday in Charlotte, North Carolina.  President Donald Trump was nominated for a second term on Monday.  Door County Republican Chair Stephanie Soucek says it is important for the convention to contrast the candidates and share the party’s vision for the country.



Soucek says the Republican Party of Door County is planning a “watch party” at their headquarters on Thursday evening when President Trump gives his official acceptance speech starting at 7 pm.   The Door County Republican Party headquarters is located at 827 Egg Harbor Road in Sturgeon Bay.   

COVID-19 Update:  Door County up four new cases, Kewaunee County has eight recoveries

Door County Public Health officials reported four new COVIC-19 positive cases over the weekend on Monday while showing six new recoveries.  The active cases stand at nine in Door County with 193 tests still pending.  Kewaunee County had no new coronavirus cases over the weekend and lowered the number of active cases in half from 16 to eight meaning there were eight new recoveries.  The pending cases in Kewaunee County stand at 132.  The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported no COVID-19 related deaths in the state on Monday. 





Census takers tracking down seasonal homeowners

Getting the accurate numbers for the 2020 Census is an ongoing challenge, especially in places like Door County that has many second-home owners and family vacation cottages.  Door County reported earlier this month that only 46.2 percent of the households had completed the 2020 Census.  A major cause of this could be that seasonal homeowners are confused about which home address they should use when responding to the census.  Enumerator Rich Olson explains the process taken to confirm a residence’s household number while canvassing neighborhoods and rural areas.



Olson notes that the second-hand information can be documented as a “proxy” and go towards the census statistics.  The deadline for the 2020 Census is September 30 and you can still respond online, by phone, or by mail. 


More Door County DUIs from the weekend

The Door County Sheriffs Department is investigating a number of driving under the influence arrests between Saturday, Sunday, and early Monday morning.  Chief Deputy Pat McCarty says so many arrests over several days can be expected in summer with more people on the roads visiting Door County.  McCarty says one case near Sister Bay involved a repeat offender.  He also says it comes as law enforcement agencies are taking part in the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign.



McCarty says his department will be more alert for possible impaired drivers over the Labor Day weekend holiday.

Town looks to purchase land

The Town of Liberty Grove hopes to have a say in what goes next to its town hall. The town board voted last week to pursue the purchase of the land adjacent to its town hall for future use. A compost site and affordable housing have been some of the ideas thrown out for the parcel since the town is lacking both at this time. The asking price is currently at under $40,000, something town administrator Bud Kalms says makes it attractive to look at for the needs of the community.

The Liberty Grove Plan Commission will make a comment on the possible purchase at its meeting on Wednesday. If there are no objections, the town’s electors will have their chance to weigh in at a special meeting to be held on September 9th.

Vandalism knows no party

Vandals in Door and Kewaunee Counties are voting for both presidential candidates when it comes to this fall election. Whether they have been defaced or stolen, members of the Door County Republican Party and the Kewaunee County Democratic Party have taken to social media to highlight the work of the vandals. Kewaunee County Democratic Party Vice Chair of Communications Jodi Parins says reports of weekend thefts of Biden signs has been the norm for Mondays in her area. Parins added that even billboards have been defaced, though those have since been repaired. She says abuse of signs for either party should not be tolerated.

After a Trump sign was vandalized near Gordon Road in Sturgeon Bay in late July, Door County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Pat McCarty reminded residents that vandalizing or stealing signs off private property is illegal.


LEFT: Biden Billboard vandalized on August 8th courtesy of Democratic Party of Kewaunee County

RIGHT: Trump sign vandalized in Sister Bay from August 20th

Women's Fund leads charge back to school

With a little help from the Women’s Fund of Door County, some students at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College will get some assistance to chase their dreams. As a part of the organization’s Community Collaborative Grant, the Women’s Fund of Door County and NWTC partnered three years ago to create the “Invest, Dream, Achieve.” The program gave qualified women looking to go back to school some much-needed assistance through stipends and counseling. Jennifer Moeller from the Women’s Fund says it has been very successful since its creation.

Moeller says the program has grown from approximately 20 participants in its first year to close to 40 now. The two entities will continue the partnership for another three years thanks to the Community Collaborative Grant.

Broadband approval excites administrator

After years of hard work, Kewaunee County Administrator Scott Feldt is happy local residents and businesses will see their Internet connections improve. The Kewaunee County Board approved its contract with Bug Tussel Wireless last week by a 17-2 vote. The contract calls for the county to accept a $960,000 grant from the Public Service Commission and loan a matching amount to Bug Tussel Wireless to construct at least seven new towers. The company, which will pay back the loan to the county at three percent interest, is also looking at leasing additional towers. Bug Tussel Wireless will also invest $600,000 of its own money into the project. With the county standing to get its money back and then some on the project and improving its Internet service, Feldt says it is exciting news for everyone.

Feldt says Bug Tussel Wireless is already looking to buy and lease land to construct the new towers so they can be in service in the coming months. Kewaunee County established a broadband study committee to look at improving its Internet connections countywide back in 2018.

Community COVID testing to use nasal swabs

Bellin Health and Door County Medical Center are teaming up for a community COVID-19 testing event Thursday. It is the first one in the area to welcome anyone, including those without symptoms, to get swabbed. There is no charge, and it will take place at the Door County Fairgrounds beginning at 10 AM. Bellin senior financial analyst Patrick Rowan says there has been a lot of interest in whether a newly approved saliva test will be utilized at the event. 


While the saliva test will not be available this Thursday, it is being hyped as a potential game-changer. Currently, it takes days to get results back, sometimes upwards of a week. The Food and Drug Administration has approved SalivaDirect for emergency use. It is a product of Yale University, seen as less invasive than current measures. It needs fewer chemical ingredients to process results, which allow the average lab to return nearly 100 samples in three hours. Yale is making the technology available open-source, meaning others are permitted to duplicate the design without penalty. Combine that with the need for fewer materials, thus costs are expected to be significantly lower moving forward.


Support shown Saturday for USPS on the peninsula

Protesters lined the streets in Sister Bay and Ellison Bay to show support for the local United States Postal Service. Organizer Mike Brodd says people joined in as they passed by in their vehicles.



The gathering was part of a nationwide movement hosted by Door County Indivisible. Cities and towns across America had events planned at 11 AM locally. The protesters in Sister Bay were particularly concerned about what potential slowdowns in mail delivery could mean for seniors and veterans. Both groups rely on USPS for medicines and delays could be life threatening. Another source of concern is what a slowdown in mail services could mean for November’s presidential election. Record numbers of absentee ballots are expected to be cast in Door and Kewaunee Counties due to COVID-19.


Photos submitted by Mike Brodd.

Fluoridated drinking water: pros and cons

Water supplies in Sturgeon Bay, Algoma, Kewaunee, and Luxemburg are among those communities with fluoride.  Some opponents in Green Bay are again challenging the need for fluoride and its safety in drinking water to promote dental health.  A federal judge in 2017 denied the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's motion to dismiss a lawsuit that seeks to ban the fluoride additives used in community water fluoridation.  Now, those same opponents have filed a new lawsuit to force the City of Green Bay to end fluoridation based on new data showing health risks.  Some health care professionals in Door County oppose fluoridated drinking water.  Dr. Levi Arnold, with Peninsula Chiropractic Center in Sturgeon Bay, believes any benefits are outweighed by potential risks.




Dr. Gina Grenfall of Smile Designs of Door County says fluoridation is safe though she adds it's far from a cure-all.




Both doctors say that people need to take responsibility to limit sugar intake to reduce overall health risks.

Door County to get update on Forestville Mill Pond

The Door County Board of Supervisors will receive a special report next Tuesday on the Forestville Mill Pond.  The pond has been part of a drawdown procedure since last November.  County Administrator Ken Pabich says the report will be updating the board on the progress of the controversial project.



The Friends of the Forestville Dam group has been opposed to the drawdown since the inception claiming that pollutants from sediments are traveling through the Ahnapee River system and emptying into Lake Michigan.  Other agenda items for Tuesday’s board meeting include approval of grants to the Door County Sheriff’s Office and a special report on the private well monitoring program.   Another resolution to be brought in front of the board is a transfer of unbudgeted funds to repair a safety fence at John Miles Park where the race track is located. 


Door County Board of Supervisors meeting agenda


Utility shutoff moratorium extended

The Wisconsin Public Service Commission will not allow public utilities to end service to delinquent customers until at least October 1st. In an explanation of the decision, the PSC said it is between a rock and a hard place. On one side of the equation is a survey of large utilities, including Wisconsin Public Service, which serves parts of the Door Peninsula that reveals that in some areas, 33% of customers behind on their bills. On the other hand, continuing to force utilities to provide service to customers who aren’t paying threatens to harm their bottom line, and that could mean higher rates for those who are paying. Sturgeon Bay Utilities General Manager Jim Stawicki says the picture is a bit brighter locally.


Stawicki says the rate is lower than the last recession of 2008-2009. 


Photo courtesy of Sturgeon Bay Utilities website.


Area DNC delegate says convention sends hopeful message

The Democratic National Convention may have been scaled back in Milwaukee, however, a delegate from Door County believes it's putting the party's nominees on the right path to the White House.  While many of the events were held virtually, including the acceptance speeches from former Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Senator Kamala Harris, Door County Democratic Party Chair David Hayes says the voices of American citizens and the candidates' messages set a strong tone for the presidential campaign.




This week the Republican National Convention takes place. will bring you responses from local GOP leaders. 

Takin' it to the sidewalks in Egg Harbor

The deals were good, and the streets lined with racks being combed through by customers Saturday in Egg Harbor. The village’s annual sidewalk sale lasted from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM, with 16 businesses participating. Trustee Lisa Van Laanen, who also owns the Blacksmith Clothing Shop, says Saturdays in the summertime are always hectic, but the sale allows for retailers to reach the different demographics that turn out compared to weekday clientele.


Van Laanen says the sale is timed towards the end of August to allow businesses to clear out spring and summer items in preparation for a change in seasons. She thinks this year is a little bit different since COVID has disrupted many designers. Add in the fact that back-to-school is still uncertain for much of the area, and the retail calendar is muddied. Van Laanen says that many stores are seeing the cost to obtain their apparel drop, which to helps to offset a loss in revenue. A recent Department of Commerce retail sales report shows home building materials and appliances are skyrocketing, but clothing-dependent department stores are still lagging last year by over 10%.


Municipalities prepare for mail slowdown

The combination of record absentee ballot voting and slowdowns at the post office have municipalities like Algoma planning ahead. According to the Associated Press, over 900,000 absentee ballots were requested ahead of the August primary, which is up from 123,000 two years ago. Wisconsin was part of a lawsuit to prevent the United States Postal Service from instituting changes some thought would have caused even more delays to delivery. Algoma has seen an increase absentee voting, going from a typical 100 ballots per election to over 700 just a few weeks. City Clerk Jamie Jackson is encouraging voters to request their ballots and send them back early.

Municipalities across the state also allow voters to hand in their ballots inside their buildings or in specially marked boxes. According to ABC News, over 23,000 ballots were rejected during the April election in Wisconsin because they either came in late or were filled out wrong.

Propane depot approved for Chambers Island

Chambers Island residents will soon find it’s easier to heat their showers and cook a meal. The Door County Resource Planning Committee unanimously approved a plan to install a propane depot on Chambers Island. The panel heard from several island residents about just what a hassle it is to come to the mainland every time a tank is empty, including from Fish Creek Harbor Commission Chairman David Harris. It's a lot safer too.


Harris said he had operated a barge in the past that towed 170-pound propane cylinders to Chambers Island as a service to the residents there, and it was not a moneymaker. He is involved with the limited liability corporation that proposed the new plan. The depot would sit on roughly a half-acre of industrial zoned land, part of a parcel that is over four acres in total size. Harris says the location in question is equipped to handle the weight associated with transporting the propane to the depot. That is not true for all roads on the island. 

There were zero public comments against the plan and several in favor. The Natural Resource Committee approved the measure unanimously.


Women's vote celebration rolling through Sturgeon Bay

Sturgeon Bay residents can help celebrate the 100th anniversary of women's right to vote by driving around town.  The virtual Women's Sufferage Centennial Celebration is set for August 26th, which was the day it was officially announced in 1920 that the 19th Amendment had been ratified.  Pat Scieszinski, President of the League of Women Voters-Door County, says a ride around town will coincide with the time frame on the first Women's Equality Day.




Anyone can participate in the drive to commemorate the Women's Sufferage Centennial.  Participants are asked to wear masks and purple or white clothing, which were the colors of the original suffragettes.

Egg Harbor plans fall construction

Egg Harbor is connecting its public beach to the downtown area this fall. Administrator Ryan Heise says the village has put a new sidewalk out to bid.


Heise admits it is not a major initiative but it could prove to be a meaningful one. Egg Harbor is still a couple of years away from planned construction on Highway 42. Heise says the Parks and Public Works Committee has closely scrutinized projects done by neighboring communities on the road, including Sister Bay and Fish Creek.


Most work this fall is set to begin in late October.


Sturgeon Bay school board weighs reopening

The Sturgeon Bay School District Board of Education is in the midst of a busy stretch. It met Wednesday night and again Friday evening for a workshop that seeks to flesh out what the criteria are that could transition the district between the three different modes of learning it expects to use this fall. Those options include in-person classes five days a week, a hybrid model that would see students divided into two groups where they are in-person half the time and virtual the other half, and remote learning only. President Teri Hooker says they have to consider sports too, which involves hearing from several different people.


The district intends to begin instruction at school but maintains its right to be flexible as conditions warrant. It expects a final plan to be developed by Wednesday.


Photo courtesy of Sturgeon Bay Community Church website.

Kewaunee County purchases new voting machines

Kewaunee County election results will be tabulated with lightning speed in the future thanks to the purchase of 15 new voting machines. All but one of those will have the costs split roughly 50-50 between the county and the municipality where they will be employed on election days. Clerk Jamie Annoye says each device can essentially do as much as the two electronic voting machines that are used at polling sites today. There is no touch screen capability, but each of the new units is handicap accessible and can count votes. Annoye states that given the sizable number of mail-in ballots, that is a particularly important capability right now.


The machines are manufactured by ImageCast Evolution and were part of a bulk purchase made by several counties in the state. The total cost was $122,745, with the county responsible for $54,383. Each municipality is responsible for maintenance on its respective unit.


Photo courtesy of the Wisconsin County Clerks Association.


Mayor Ward excited about new Promenade

The next phase of the West Waterfront Promenade in Sturgeon Bay is moving forward and the mayor cannot wait for the city to showcase it next year.  The Sturgeon Bay Common Council approved the nearly 1.4 million bid from Peters Concrete of Green Bay at Tuesday’s meeting.  Mayor David Ward says the city is now showing progress on what was once a contentious piece of property.



Ward says the West Waterfront Promenade will be completed in two phases.  Ward says the West Waterfront Promenade will be completed in two phases.  One phase this fall will include underground work of sewer lines, water mains, and electrical service.  The second phase will have the surface work done starting in April.  The hopes are to have the promenade open to the public by June 1, 2021.  

Public hearing for Sturgeon Bay building heights

The Sturgeon Bay Zoning Board of Appeals is looking for public input at their meeting next week.  Two petitions for variances to exceed the 45-foot building height ordinance from Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding will be heard at the Zoning Board of Appeals next Tuesday.  The requests are for an existing building at the address of 273 N. 1st Avenue and for a new building located in the south yard of Bay Ship, just west of the property at 341 N. 3rd Avenue.  One of the buildings will be up to 110 feet high.  Zoning Board of Appeals Chair Bill Murrock says a public hearing will be held starting at noon on Tuesday.  He encourages the public to attend and voice their opinion on the requests.



The Sturgeon Bay Plan Commission tabled a decision on changing ordinances regarding variances on Tuesday.   The commission chose instead to have an option revised that could eventually allow buildings that are above the height limit of 45 feet in the I-2 district to be approved by the Plan Commission and City Council.  

COVID-19 Update: Area reports slight uptick in cases

Local public health officials continue to work through the backlog of pending COVID-19 cases as Kewaunee County saw three additional cases of COVID-19 on Friday with two recoveries and one more active case for a total of 16.  Thirty-six more tests were performed which reflects an 8.3 percent positivity rate.  Door County Public Health officials disclosed one new positive case with 33 more tests performed showing a three percent positivity rate. On Friday, the CDC reported that the percentage of deaths attributed to COVID-19 is 7.8 percent, lower than last week’s 12.6 percent. 




Hayes plans resignation from council

Sturgeon Bay Common Council member David Hayes will be resigning from his council seat and will be active in making the transition easier for his successor.  Hayes represents the 2nd council district and was re-elected to office in April.  He recently decided to step aside and will be meeting with Sturgeon Bay Mayor David Ward to discuss a succession plan.  Hayes has some thoughts of the qualities he'd like to see in his successor.



Upon leaving the Sturgeon Bay Common Council Hayes will continue in his role as chair of the Democratic Party of Door County.

No magic number for school closings

School districts in Door and Kewaunee Counties are prepared to bounce between in-person and virtual learning this fall, but two doctors at Door County Medical Center says a lot can go into that decision. Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jim Heise and Chief of Pediatrics Dr. Amy Fogarty answered questions from parents on Facebook Live Thursday evening as area schools prepare to possibly open their doors to students for the first time since March. The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this week that schools in states like Indiana, Tennessee and Georgia have had to quickly switch their plans after reopening due to a number of positive COVID-19 cases among staff and students. Heise says some school districts in the country have set a percentage mark for positive cases as an indicator of whether to close or not. He adds the percentage is just a number and not based on anything scientific. Fogarty says the decision could come down to where the outbreak takes place, whether it is among staff members, a particular classroom, or a specific grade. She says it will be a hard decision for administrators to make if they have to shut down in-person classes and switch to virtual learning.

Both Fogarty and Heise encouraged parents to be proactive when it comes to deciding whether or not you should send your kids to school. If they have anything resembling symptoms, they should be kept at home. The approximately 55-minute session also covered masking, testing, and quarantining.



United Way of Door County shines during pandemic

The United Way of Door County has been able to flex its muscles as it helps the community cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. The organization has been able to provide assistance to newer initiatives like the Door County Emergency Response Fund and the Door County Food Pantry Coalition while also helping other non-profits get by during uncertain times. Executive Director Amy Kohnle says the experience is showing people all the different ways the United Way of Door County supports the community.

To help fund its increased efforts, the United Way of Door County moved one of its biggest fundraisers of the year to a virtual event. The organization is partnering with to take its dance party online via Zoom on September 26th.



Sturgeon Bay crime spree charges released

A young Sturgeon Bay couple will each face at least seven charges after going on a crime spree on the city’s east side Thursday morning. The Sturgeon Bay Police Department is recommending to the Door County District Attorney’s office that the pair of 17-year-olds is charged with burglary, battery or threat to a law enforcement officer, recklessly endangering safety, failure to notify police of an accident, vehicle operator flee/elude an officer, and operating a vehicle without owner’s consent. Four cars were stolen between 3:30 a.m. and 8 a.m., causing extensive damage to at least two of them. Both suspects were arrested just before 10 a.m. Captain Dan Brinkman told Thursday that he appreciated the help of the community for tracking down the two people involved after the department posted information about the incident on its social media pages.

Nobody was hurt during the crime spree and additional charges may be recommended as the investigation concludes.



More daytime DUIs in Door County

The overall societal impact of COVID-19 as pertaining to drunk driving continues to evolve, but Door County Sheriff Chief Deputy Pat McCarty says the recent increase of calls can only be partially explained by the seasonal traffic influx to the area.  He notes one disturbing trend patrol officers are encountering during the daytime.



National trends show that since the restrictions associated with the pandemic were eased, more DUI cases are being reported.  Chief Deputy McCarty says increases of driver services make it easier for people to find a safe ride home if they have been drinking.  The annual “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign starts Friday and continues through Labor Day.  About one-fourth of all traffic-related deaths, last year in Wisconsin were alcohol-related crashes.  
the annual “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign begins today and runs through Labor Day




To enhance public safety and deter impaired driving, state and local law enforcement agencies across Wisconsin will patrol in greater numbers for longer hours during the annual “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign that begins Friday (August 21) and continues through Labor Day (September 7, 2020).
“The primary goal of this federal, state and local initiative is to enhance public safety and prevent needless tragedies by encouraging drivers to be safe and responsible,” Wisconsin Department of Transportation Secretary-designee Craig Thompson said.
Last year in Wisconsin, there were 6,058 alcohol-related crashes that injured 2,918 people and resulted in 140 deaths (about one-quarter of all traffic-related deaths). Also, in 2019, there were 23,803 OWI convictions.
While alcohol-impaired driving remains a significant concern, Wisconsin and many other states see a growing challenge with drug-impaired drivers - people whose ability to safely operate a motor vehicle is compromised by illegal drugs, prescription or over-the-counter medications. To deter impaired driving, Wisconsin currently has:
•       5,223 law enforcement officers trained in Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement. ARIDE training helps officers detect potentially impaired drivers and prevent serious crashes.
•       310 highly-trained Drug Recognition Experts - among the most in the nation.
•       23 multi-jurisdictional, high-visibility OWI enforcement task forces that operate year-round across the state.
How citizens can help:
•       If you plan to celebrate, identify a sober designated driver. Never allow someone else to get behind the wheel impaired.
•       If you suspect a driver is impaired, safely call 911. Be prepared to provide as much detail as possible about the driver, vehicle and location.
•       Download the free “Drive Sober” mobile app from the WisDOT website. Among its functions, the app includes a “find a ride” feature to help locate transportation alternatives. Since its launch on Labor Day of 2013, about 75,000 people have accessed the app.
•       Some taverns and restaurants have programs to provide patrons with a safe ride home.


Helping others can improve your mental health

Sturgeon Bay Psychologist Dr. Dennis White says the benefits of being altruistic go beyond just the gratification of helping out others.  Even during the isolation of the pandemic, volunteering time to help others or just staying in contact with lonely people can give you a great feeling both emotionally and physically. 


Other benefits of altruism can include creating a sense of belonging and keeping things in perspective. You can listen to Dr. White’s entire Mental Health Minute with this story below.  



Local car dealers finally getting inventory

The flooding of the used-car vehicles into the market during the COVID-19 pandemic has given pause to consumers on which car or truck should be their next purchase.  Jim Olson Motors Sales Manager Missy Allen says, fortunately, the shortage of new vehicle inventory has gotten better of late.



Allen says nearly new used car sales have really picked up with more consumers going online to do research before approaching a dealership.  She notes that the trend is for manufacturers to come with lower mileage lease programs with other options than the traditional 10,000 miles per year allowance.  According to research done by, the average listing price of used vehicles nationally last month was $21,558.  That is an increase of $708 compared to June.

COVID-19 Update – Door County adds one case, Kewaunee County up four

Local public health officials continue to encourage the wearing of face coverings and social distancing as COVID-19 cases went up in the area again.  Door County Public Health disclosed Thursday one new positive test and one recovery with 11 remaining active cases.  That brings the total cases to 122. Kewaunee County noted four more positive tests for a total of 150 and 15 cases remaining active.  State health officials confirmed 740 new coronavirus cases with seven more deaths.  Testing fell below 10,000 for the fifth consecutive day.  You can find the state and area’s COVID-19 situation report below.



Madonna carrying the load

It has been clear sailing for the Washington Island Ferry’s newest vessel. Christened in late June, the Madonna is the line’s biggest ferry with a capacity of 28 vehicles and 150 passengers. After a month of operation, Washington Island Ferry Line President Hoyt Purinton says the Madonna has been “checking all the boxes” it wanted out of the ship in terms of handling the water conditions Death’s Door can offer and the service it can provide to its passengers. He says it has been especially noticed when it comes to traffic waiting to get on board.

The Madonna will also prove its worth in the wintertime as a second icebreaking vessel for the Washington Island Ferry Line. The ferry line is currently operating 22 roundtrips a day plus additional trips on weekend nights.

More traffic, pedestrians expected for back to school

Do not be surprised if you encounter a little more traffic around school zones in Door and Kewaunee counties this fall. School Districts are encouraging parents to drive their kids to class if they want to reduce their risk of COVID-19. Assigned seating, faces masks, and reduced capacities are other ways school districts are mitigating the risks this fall. With possibly more students in cars and on sidewalks this fall, Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski says motorists need to be on an even higher alert than usual.

Joski reminds motorists they have to stop at least 20 feet away from buses with flashing lights and yield to pedestrians. For parents with questions about reopening procedures this fall at area schools, Door County Medical Center is hosting a Facebook Live forum on the subject Thursday at 6 p.m.




Every year around this time, I try to write an article related to “Back to School Safety”. It goes without saying that this year has been a challenge, and while we continue to march forward in our response to this latest virus, we must do our best to maintain a sense of stability and optimism. This is especially important in regards to our children and their return to school. 


       As in the past we will begin to see an increase in the amount of pedestrian traffic as those students living within proximity to the schools will begin their morning and afternoon pilgrimages to and from the centers of learning. For those of us operating motor vehicles during those peak times, we need to be aware of this activity and do all that we can to create a safe walking environment for them. For those of you students on foot eagerly making your way to the halls of learning, please do your part to abide by the rules which govern pedestrians. This means crossing at cross walks and looking both ways before crossing the street. Even though you may have right of way, it will mean little in the event of an accident.

       For those out in the rural areas, please be mindful of the school buses and the precious cargo they are carrying. Just as a refresher, State Statute 346.48 “Vehicles to stop for school buses displaying flashing lights” states that any vehicle approaching from either the front or the back of a school bus with its flashing lights activated must stop not less than 20 feet from the bus and shall remain stopped until the bus resumes motion or the operator of the bus has extinguished its flashing lights. I am sure that any of us who have traveled with our own children in the vehicle can appreciate the demands upon those who have chosen to transport our children to and from school every day. Let’s not add our driving behavior to the list of behaviors they already need to contend with.

      With the challenges we face in keeping this virus at bay, there is no doubt that there will be changes at all levels in our school settings. Our students will be met with some new protocols and procedures and it is vital that we as parents support our schools and the enormous challenges they are facing in welcoming our children back to school. Please be patient and adhere to these changes as they are not meant to frustrate or challenge you, but rather to facilitate the balance between an effective learning environment and the minimization of community spread. We should all be grateful for the never ending vigilance which the school community maintains for the sake of our students.


      Good Luck to all of our students this year. I hope each of you appreciate the support and resources this community provides, and know that we are all behind you in your efforts. I know you will make us proud!





Two arrested in Sturgeon Bay crime spree

Two individuals were arrested Thursday morning after a string of car break-ins in Sturgeon Bay. Sturgeon Bay Police Captain Dan Brinkman says it started Wednesday evening when one of the suspects, a 17-year-old girl, cut off her monitoring bracelet and was reported as a runaway. She later met up with her 17-year-old boyfriend and began stealing cars just before 3:30 a.m. The pair eventually stole four vehicles, crashing two of them including one into Bay Hometown Pharmacy. They were caught as they were evading police through people’s yards thanks in part to a social media post sent out by the department. The boy was arrested first after he reportedly tried to run down a police officer in one of the vehicles. The girl was arrested just before 10 a.m. after she entered a residence and was surrounded by members of the Sturgeon Bay Police Department and Door County Sheriff’s Department. Brinkman says the department is now preparing a final report to forward to the Door County District Attorney’s office.  


A piece of advice from Sturgeon Bay Captain Dan Brinkman after at least one of the vehicles stolen had the keys in it.


High flu shot demand expected

The upcoming flu season in the middle of a pandemic has local health care professionals urging people to get vaccinated early. The Centers for Disease Control are predicting between 194-198 million doses of the influenza vaccine will be available for the upcoming season, which is 20 million more than last year’s record production. Healthcare providers are urging patients to get vaccinated not just to protect them from possible effects of the flu, but to also prevent them from possibly burdening the system in case COVID-19 cases spike again. Amber Allen, the executive director of Primary Care, Quality, and Innovation at Prevea Health, advises patients to plan ahead to make sure they are able to get vaccinated in a timely fashion.

Allen says September and October are good times to start getting vaccinated for the flu, but now is when you should get those appointments scheduled. CNN reported Wednesday that Massachusetts became the first state in the country to require flu vaccinations for all students kindergarten through 12th grade.

Two suspects arrested by Sturgeon Bay Police

The Sturgeon Bay Police have arrested two people suspected of stealing and crashing multiple vehicles and evading law enforcement. Officers were in pursuit of the two suspects Thursday morning where they were last seen on the city's east side. The suspects, previously described as a young Hispanic woman and a tall Indian man, were arrested shortly after the Sturgeon Bay Police Department posted about the crimes on their social media pages. The most up-to-date information about this incident can be found by clicking this link


9:37 A.M.

The Sturgeon Bay Police is on the search for two people suspected of stealing and crashing multiple vehicles and evading law enforcement. They were last seen earlier this morning on the city’s east side. One suspect is described as a Hispanic teenage girl with brown hair wearing a light blue shirt and gray leggings. The other is described as a tall Indian man wearing a black hoodie, jeans, and white tennis shoes. No other information is available at this time, but the Sturgeon Bay Police is reminding the general public to lock their vehicles and property. Any suspicious activity should be reported to law enforcement by calling 911.


Algoma wins All-America City Award

The City of Algoma presented to the National Civic League Wednesday netting it the coveted All-America City designation, one of only ten entrants to garner the award. Their pitch lasted approximately ten minutes followed by a question and answer session. Live Algoma and the Algoma School District teamed up to create the content of the pitch, so youth efforts were the centerpiece of the city's demonstration, especially the Wolf Tech and Wolf Den programs. Wolf Tech is hands-on vocational training at the middle and high school levels. Wolf Den is a mentorship program specific to the community that operates similarly to Big Brothers Big Sisters. Director of Improvement and Community Engagement Teal VanLanen says membership continues to grow for Wolf Den in particular.


Van Lanen says the win opens up grant opportunities. You can watch Algoma's entire presentation below.


State parks customer traffic up

Potowatomi State Park and Whitefish Dunes State Park have become popular destinations for summer visitors.  Both parks are reporting high visitor traffic for overnight and day-trippers.  Erin Brown-Stender, the superintendent of both parks, says many of the day visitors are willing to walk a bit longer to get to the Whitefish Dunes beach despite erosion damage from high water levels on Lake Michigan and fewer access points.



Erin Brown-Stender also says camping at Potowatomi State Park has become so popular that reservations are limited during some weeknights.

Door County adds one COVID-19 case

Door County recorded one new positive COVID-19 case Wednesday, bringing the overall total to 121. Two further recoveries were logged, bringing the number of active infections inching down to 11. Door County Medical Center and Bellin Health are preparing for a joint community testing event next Thursday. In the run-up to that, the number of nasal swabs administered is dropping. Door County performed only 31 tests over the past day. 

For those who are interested in knowing whether they have contracted the disease in the past and were unaware of it, an upcoming blood drive may give some answers. The Door County YMCA and Community Blood Center are hosting an event on August 31st at the Sturgeon Bay location. Marketing Director Amy Gamble says that when officials screen the blood to ensure it is acceptable for donations, they look for the presence of antibodies, evidence that your immune system is familiar with the virus and has built defenses against it.

Kewaunee County reported no new cases or recoveries. Its active infection count remains at 11. 


Egg Harbor Plan Commission meets on condo project

The Egg Harbor Plan Commission deliberated Tuesday on the proposed condominium development that would be built at the site of Mueller's Mini Mart on Highway 42. Original designs for the project called for 27 units in total spread over three stories. That received a chilly reception, and earlier this month, a scaled-down version was proposed featuring just 14 units on two floors. Chairman Joe Smith says the panel voted unanimously to approve with a couple of caveats.


The Plan Commission cannot weigh in on certain aspects of the project, such as a variance concerning the building's elevator shaft. Without a waiver, the tower is too tall. The developers will need to go before the Zoning Board of Appeals next to petition for an exception to the village's height restrictions.


Photo courtesy of the Joe Smith for Trustee Facebook page.


More Door County water wells wanted for testing

Researchers want to test more groundwater wells in Door County to measure contaminants.  It's part of a continuing effort to determine the extent and types of well contaminants.  Carmen Thiel, UW-Oshkosh Water Quality Specialist, says additional testing is needed to gauge the seasonal changes in groundwater quality.




Thiel says the previous testing shows overall the groundwater quality in Door County is fairly high.  She also says trace pollutants have turned up in some wells.  That's why UW-O is looking for more property owners to take part in the testing.




For more information on how to take part in the next round of groundwater well testing, check here

Sister Bay eliminating drive-through voting

The Village of Sister Bay had enacted drive-through voting in recent elections in response to COVID-19 in the engine bay of the fire hall. Clerk Heidi Teich says it's harder to make the arrangement work in the cold of November.


In addition to absentee ballots and in-person voting within the meeting room of the fire hall, another option exists for those concerned with disease transmission. Curbside voting is required to be available under state statute. It involves potential voters arriving at the polling location, phoning inside, and having staff bring out a ballot to the car. Curbside voters will still be asked to provide photo identification and sign an affidavit confirming their address just as if they were casting a ballot inside the precinct. Unlike absentee voting, the curbside variety does not require special paperwork to be completed before election day.


YMCA summer camp program potential model for schools

The Door County YMCA will be wrapping up its summer and day camp programs next week, with a lot of lessons learned about how to operate during a pandemic safely. CEO Tom Beerntsen says getting through a full season without any complications was due to a wealth of safety measures the Y put into place.


In other parts of the country, school districts that are not reopening for in-person instruction are entering into agreements with their local YMCA to provide daycare for students who are learning through remote education. The goal in the coming months is to figure out how to transfer that operational knowledge to the school districts themselves. Beerntsen says several fall sports programs will not be offered this year, including flag football, but the Y has gone forward with personal training for school-age athletes through the Peak program. Gymnastics is also provided. 


Packerland Conference recommends fall play

Principals and athletic directors met Tuesday to decide the Packerland Conference's official stance on fall sports. They are unanimously recommending to member schools that fall sports being played in season rather than in the spring. The conference is also suggesting that schools should participate only where students can engage in activities that present a low to medium risk of COVID-19 transmission. Membership runs the gamut from Marinette County south to Shawano and Brown Counties and around to the Door Peninsula. Risk levels vary greatly over that territory. 

The conference cannot compel members to play so each individual school district is required to gather and decide whether fall sports are feasible or not. Sturgeon Bay will be deciding Wednesday night. Southern Door has scheduled a special meeting for next Monday. The WIAA has asked that all districts make their choice by September 1st.

Commissioner Mike Holtz says things are still subject to change. There is no set procedure for how to handle schools bowing out. The Fox River Classic Conference moved its fall season to the spring after Green Bay and Appleton Public Schools opted for that route. The Bay Conference, which is home to Green Bay West and Green Bay East High Schools, is continuing with a fall season without those schools. 

Holtz says the main factor that steered the conference away from an alternate schedule option is the fact that it would cause student-athletes to be forced to pick one sport over the other.


Follow and for the latest.


Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding seeking variance for expansion

Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding will be looking to get a variance from the City of Sturgeon Bay to do additions to the shipyard.  A new fabrication shop on the south end of the industrial complex is in the plans as well as increasing the height of existing buildings near the downtown.  Vice-President and General Manager Todd Thayse says a lot of details need to be figured out, including the variance, before the major project is underway. 



Bay ship is looking for a variance to exceed the 45-feet height limit on buildings in the heavy industrial district.  The company has applied for two new variances for building height to expand an existing 57-foot tall structure and construct a new one as high as 110 feet.  The Sturgeon Bay Plan Commission will meet at 6 PM on Wednesday to consider the zoning text amendment in regards to Bay Ship’s request.


Plan commission agenda and documents





Luxemburg-Casco opening new middle school

The Luxemburg-Casco School District is putting the finishing touches on the new middle school and other projects including a new entrance and office location.  Superintendent Glenn Schlender says the project is one he and the entire community can be proud to see completed.  He shares the biggest difference middle schoolers will experience this year in the new facility in Luxemburg compared to the old Casco building.



Schlender adds that a community open house was initially planned but will now be delayed due to last-minute construction and current COVID-19 concerns.  The full Luxemburg-Casco School District staff will be back in school for in-service starting next Monday.  Students will return for in-person instruction on Tuesday, September 1.  


City of Sturgeon Bay passes all agenda items

The Sturgeon Bay City Council took care of their business quickly Tuesday evening with unanimous votes until the very final agenda item for consideration.  After approving the awarding of the contract for the West Waterfront Promenade and the submerged land lease, the council discussed the consideration to express support for the repair of the Potawatomi State Park Tower.  With Councilmember David Hayes absent, the council split the vote three to three with Mayor David Ward breaking the tie to support the consideration.  Several people spoke in favor of restoring the tower in public comments.  Other business approved at Tuesday’s Sturgeon Bay Common Council meeting included the expression of support of the Ice Age Trail and the possible becoming a Trail Community.               

Semi-trailer explosion in Sturgeon Bay

A utility truck-semi burst into flames on Lake Forest Park Road on Tuesday afternoon east of Sturgeon Bay.  At about 5 o’clock Sturgeon Bay Fire Department was dispatched to the scene just north of Buffalo Ridge Trail on Lake Forest Park Road.  The condition of the driver is unknown at this time, although Sturgeon Bay Fire Chief Tim Dietman says he is believed to have suffered only minor injuries. 


The crew was doing boring work to lay electric lines underground. Gasoline in the back of a tractor trailer was spilled as they attempted to refuel some of the machinery. The gas hit a hot exhaust motor and sparked causing the trailer to ignite. Several other containers of combustible material went up subsequently as heard in a video sent to by Janice Adomeit.




Overnight, lighted barricades will be used to caution motorists on Lake Forest Park Road of the damaged trailer. It is too compromised structurally to be removed. Sturgeon Bay Fire will be using Crosby's Heavy Duty Wrecker Service out of Green Bay to clear the trailer. They will have to dismantle the trailer in piecemeal fashion using a saw. The job is expected to last at least 8-10 hours, beginning Wednesday morning.    


Audio from eyewitnesses Mr. and Mrs. John Vincent, residents on Lake Forest Park Road.



(photo courtesy of Nancy Prange)

COVID-19 Update – Door and Kewaunee counties add one case each 

Local public health officials reported only a slight uptick in cases for Door and Kewaunee counties on Tuesday after a spike on Monday.  Each county added one new case of COVID-19 on Tuesday which brings the total to 120 in Door County and 146 in Kewaunee County.  Active cases remain relatively low with 12 actives in Door County and 11 in Kewaunee County.  Bellin Health and the Door County Medical Center announced Tuesday that they are teaming up for a community COVID-19 testing event next Thursday at the Door County Fairgrounds.  You can find the state and area’s COVID-19 situation report with this story below.



Drive-through Kermis a winner for Heritage Center

A steady stream of vehicles rolled through Brussels on Sunday for the Belgian Heritage Center’s first-ever drive-through Kermis. By the end of the event, Co-President Joe Alexander says everything was gone.


The organization has been working in different ways to spark community engagement throughout the summer, including previous booyah sales. Alexander says that proved to be good practice for this year’s iteration of the Kermis. While the Belgian Heritage Center would be happy to do a similar event in the future, tradition matters when heritage is in your name, and Alexander hopes that things can return to normal for next year. 

The building is open for visitors by appointment only. Alexander asks prospective guests to make arrangements at least three days in advance. The venue has been used in the past for larger gatherings such as wedding ceremonies. Alexander says it is too early to know when the Belgian Heritage Center would be available for that again.


Photo courtesy of the Belgian Heritage Center Facebook page.


Humane Society turns to fosters for adoption help

The Door County Humane Society has expanded its adoption hours into midweek because of high demand. They are still done through an appointment while following COVID-19 mitigation guidelines. The Wisconsin Humane Society reports a surge in new adoptions across all five locations thanks to a little help from fellow animal enthusiasts. Marketing Coordinator Shaina Allen says that foster families are now facilitating the placement of shelter animals into a new home.


Foster families run the process from start to finish, including helping adopters fill out the necessary paperwork and making sure the pets are a good match with their new family. There are tangible benefits to the animals when they are placed through a foster-facilitated adoption. Namely, there is no return trip to the shelter, which brings with it increased stress. Dogs, cats, even birds have found new homes since the Door County Humane Society restarted operations in July. 

The Humane Society is finding financial help as well. More animals in their care mean a need for additional funding. Right now, all donations are being matched by the Kress Foundation, up to $250,000. The matching program runs through August. 


Baileys Harbor keeping watchful eye on green site

The compost pile operated by Baileys Harbor is back open after closing in July due to illegal dumping. Supervisor Barb Anschutz says hours are reduced, and a town employee now monitors the site.


Anschutz doesn’t know for sure what the underlying cause of the problems at the green site was, but she believes this summer has seen an upswing in the number of people in the county, including in Baileys Harbor. She says it is challenging to gauge visitor traffic as COVID-19 has made everyone more aware of their surroundings. Still, conversations with other residents lead her to believe that the end of June saw a surge in out-of-towners that has lasted throughout the summer. For those looking to use the green site, it is open only to those who live in Baileys Harbor. A driver’s license or proof of property ownership must be presented at the entrance.


Photo courtesy of Friends of Baileys Harbor Facebook page.

Community COVID testing in Sturgeon Bay next week

Bellin Health and the Door County Medical Center are teaming up for a community testing event at the Door County Fairgrounds Thursday, August 27th, from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM. It is available to anyone, regardless of whether you may have symptoms or not. Bellin Health, in a press release, says signage will direct vehicles from the entrance off N. 14th Avenue. Senior Financial Analyst Patrick Rowan says the timing is important given the seasonal tourism industry in Door County. He also hopes the results will provide districts with the necessary information to help determine if reopening is appropriate. 


Insurance information will be collected, but testing is free of charge. An appointment is not necessary, and volunteers will be available to help you with any questions you might have.


Sturgeon Bay addressing west side plans tonight

The west side waterfront development will be on two main agenda items at the Sturgeon Bay Common Council meeting Tuesday night.  The city will consider awarding the contract for the new West Waterfront Promenade and approval of the Submerged Lands Lease as ratified by the state’s Commissioners of Public Lands earlier this month.  That action will pave the way for the city to complete public improvements including the waterfront walkway, and sublease with Sarter Marine Towing and the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society in regards to the Teweles & Brandeis Granary relocation.  Other agenda items listed for Tuesday’s meeting include considering the expression of support of the Ice Age Trail and support of the repair to the Potawatomi State Park Tower.  The Sturgeon Bay Common Council meeting begins at 7 pm in council chambers at City Hall. 



Agenda for Sturgeon Bay Common Council meeting  

Luxemburg Fire looking for daytime firefighters

As wildfires rage out of control on the west coast, local volunteer fire departments are looking to find firefighters.  Luxemburg Area Fire Chief Lew DuChateau says that state-mandated training is required and the demand is for more daytime help.  He shares the process of becoming a firefighter.



DuChateau says training has a different look this year with the COVID-19 pandemic.   Firefighters break up in smaller groups to help maintain social distancing and following all safety procedures put in place since late March.  Luxemburg Fire & Rescue has about 30 volunteers working in the department.  


COVID-19 Update – Door County up six cases, Kewaunee County up three

Local public health officials continue to encourage the wearing of face coverings and social distancing as COVID-19 cases spiked in the area over the weekend.  Door County Public Health officials disclosed six new positive tests since Friday with three new recoveries and 12 remaining active cases.  That brings total cases to 133. Kewaunee County noted three more positive tests for a total of 142 with eight more recoveries and 10 cases remaining active.  Wisconsin saw the number of coronavirus cases drop on Monday with no additional deaths reported in the state.  You can find the state and area’s COVID-19 situation report below.





Charity ruckers travel through county

Four members of the St. Norbert College ROTC will conclude the Kewaunee County portion of their 140-mile trek to Milwaukee on Tuesday. Carsen Sherrick and three others on his crew are continuing a tradition for the group by hiking to support Helping Out Our American Heroes (H.O.O.A.H.), a military-based charity helping veterans through their bouts with post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental illnesses. Part of the tradition includes spending a night at the Luxemburg Fire Department before hiking through Kewaunee on their way to Milwaukee. Sherrick says the generosity of the communities they visit makes the journey to Milwaukee and the quest to raise $20,000 in the process worth it.

Sherrick and his fellow ROTC members hope to complete their trek by Saturday, averaging approximately 20 miles a day. You can find out how you can support their efforts by clicking on the link.


Picture courtesy of Carsen Sherrick



Northern Door YMCA prepared to be "Gibraltar East"

If Gibraltar Area Schools opts for remote learning to start this fall, the Northern Door YMCA is ready to fill the gap for area families. Gibraltar’s school board could decide on August 19th whether it would open for in-person classes when the academic year begins September 8th.  With the COVID-19 activity level currently at moderately high for Door County, the Gibraltar Area Schools threshold plan would have students do primarily remote learning with in-school instruction by appointment only for certain classes. If that is the case, the Northern Door YMCA would establish a learning center for students to receive academic support and other physical fitness activities. Northern Door Youth Director Lee McConkey said they started working on the plan at the beginning of July with other YMCAs across the country. She hopes it provides a useful service for families.

Registration is limited to just 12 students and would continue until in-person instruction is available at Gibraltar.


Picture courtesy of the Door County YMCA



Syzdel shows staying power in agriculture

A whole lot has changed since the late John Pagel hired Chris Syzdel  25 years ago to milk cows at Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy in Kewaunee. Now the herd manager, approximately 5,300 cows get milked multiple times every day, a far cry from the 450 the farm did when Syzdel joined the team in 1995. Syzdel did not have a background in dairy farming before being hired and as the operation evolved, so did Syzdel’s skillset. He says working from the milking parlor to the herd manager position has been great.

Syzdel says the technology being used by farms and the number of jobs available in the agriculture industry have been among the biggest changes he has witnessed in his 25 years. With over 100 employees, Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy is among Kewaunee County’s largest employers with many following a path similar to Syzdel.


Picture courtesy of Pagel's Ponderosa Dairy



More communities add rental ordinance

Two more communities have followed the lead of Sturgeon Bay when it comes to regulating short-term rentals. In recent weeks, the Village of Egg Harbor and the Town of Baileys Harbor have created ordinances requiring owners or registered agents of such properties like AirBnBs to live nearby to respond to complaints and emergencies. Owners would also have to hold a license from the state, hold insurance, and abide by other local and state statutes. The City of Sturgeon Bay enacted a similar ordinance a few years ago. City Administrator Josh Van Lieshout says the system works well in concert with the Door County Tourism Zone Commission, which works with short-term rental owners on making sure room sales taxes are paid.

No other community has a short-term rental ordinance on the books. As the chairperson of the Door County Tourism Zone, Van Lieshout says it is unlikely they would require all communities to enact such a measure.


Picture courtesy of Pixabay

Social Equality Committee a possibility for Door County Government

Supervisors on the Legislative Committee deliberated about forming a new panel devoted to social equality. No official vote was taken, but from the discussion, most members seemed supportive of the idea. Chairman Bob Bultman asked County Administrator Ken Pabich for his opinion on how best to make a recommendation for the new committee to the Board of Supervisors as a whole. Pabich suggested bringing it up in November when the budget is set for the following year, as any new committee would require funds to operate.


Much of the conversation centered on the composition of a potential Social Equality Committee. Members recognized that the demographic makeup of the county government might not allow supervisors to consider issues from a balanced perspective. Several members raised the possibility of having at-large members from outside organizations or residents. That structure is used at the municipal level in several Door County communities. For example, the committee overseeing Marina Fest in Sister Bay is comprised of at least one village resident and representatives of non-profit organizations in addition to elected officials. It is not a typical structure at the county level, though.

Also on the docket in the coming months for the Legislative Committee is a formal expression of support for repairs to the Potawatomi Tower. 


Hunt returns to control deer damage on Plum Island

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will again partner with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources on a limited deer hunting season on Plum Island.  That's needed to reduce damage to the forestry and rare plants from deer feeding on the uninhabited island off of the tip of Door County.  David Bolin, Assistant Manager of the Green Bay National Wildlife Refuge, says that includes plants no longer found on the mainland.




Bolin says the hunt will target 30 deer to help manage a herd that migrates constantly to Plum Island.




Applications are being accepted through August 31st.  Successful applicants will be selected for one of 11 five-day hunting periods scheduled from October 13th through December 31st.  The hunt will end when all 30 deer tags are filled.  Completed applications should be e-mailed to, or mailed to: Attention: Plum Island Hunt Application, Horicon NWR, W4279 Headquarters Road, Mayville, WI  53050.

Kewaunee absentee voting grows

More residents in the City of Kewaunee have cast absentee ballots in this year's elections.  That trend is expected to continue as the November 3rd general election approaches.  Like other communities,  Kewaunee Clerk-Treasurer Terry Decur noticed more people opting for absentee voting as the COVID-19 pandemic grew.  Decur expects in-person or mail-in voting to gain momentum this year.




As more people take part in absentee voting, Decur says that's created a larger workload for her staff.




Once November absentee ballots become available they can be mailed in or dropped off at Kewaunee City Hall on Fifth Street. 


Photo courtesy of City of Kewaunee Facebook page.

Eagle Tower taking flight at Peninsula State Park

Steve Strucely, from the Friends of Peninsula State Park, says several upgrades are coming along nicely. The new Eagle Tower is on schedule and should be completed before the end of the year. Strucely expects visitors to be allowed on the observation platform come springtime.


The original Eagle Tower was closed in 2015 and demolished the following year. The total cost for the project is over $3 million, with the Friends of Peninsula State Park contributing roughly $750,000. The group is also beginning the second phase of its Nature Center upgrade project. Capacity for the building was doubled in a project that wrapped up this spring, costing $350,000. Improvements are set to continue with the construction of an amphitheater overlooking the meadow next to the center. 

Amenities are being provided at Nicolet Beach, including concessions and kayak rentals. Strucely says traffic remains heavy at the park, and all visitors should adhere to guidelines to help slow the spread of COVID-19.




Grant helps Birch Creek students play on

Young musicians at Birch Creek Music Performance Center in Egg Harbor will play on thanks to a Wisconsin Arts Board Grant.  The WAB CARES COVID-19 emergency funding will allow Birch Creek to retain one full-time instructor.  Executive Director Mona Christensen says Birch Creek will build on its virtual teaching successes.




In September, Birch Creek faculty and alumni will present Studio Sessions online to advances musicians in all genres.


Church attendance surprises area pastors

St Francis and St Mary’s Catholic Church is making plans for its annual Kermis celebration, hoping to provide a sense of community for a parish dealing with low attendance. Father Edward Looney was progressive in making his services available during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. You can hear weekly mass at 8 AM each Sunday on 104.1 WRLU, and a drive-through blessing had cars lined up around the block Easter weekend. When attendance resumed at 25 percent capacity, Looney thought he would be turning people away.


St. Francis and St. Mary’s is not the only church that has yet to hit its attendance cap with traffic down compared to pre-pandemic levels. St. Mary’s of Luxemburg is reporting a similar trend.



Sturgeon Bay decides on police gear donation

While the gift to the Door County Sheriff’s Department from Adopt-A-Soldier Door County has gotten most of the attention, it is not the only donation to law enforcement the group is making. President Nancy Hutchinson lists the others.


Sturgeon Bay Police stand to gain new helmets with visor protection that covers an officer’s entire face. The donation has already been approved by the Community and Services Committee with the Common Council set to consider it during Tuesday’s meeting. 

Adopt-A-Soldier Door County is restarting care packages for military personnel overseas. Door Bible Baptist Church has taken over responsibility for preparing and shipping out materials. During the pandemic, Hutchinson returned food and personal hygiene items to the community, including organizations like The Boys and Girls Club in Sturgeon Bay. Those stocks will need to be replenished before care packages can be sent. Items should be dropped off at the church located at 1607 S. Stevenson Pier Rd. in Sturgeon Bay.


Menominee River clean up aids bay fishing

Improved water quality on the lower Menominee River has led to its removal from a pollution clean-up list by the Environmental Protection Agency. The area was targeted for federal clean-up work and funding in the 1980s when the river was considered threatened.  Clean-up work included dredging and a fish elevator to help sturgeon make their way up the river.  The remediation project cost around $178-million which was paid for through private, state and federal funding. Charlie Henriksen, the owner of Henriksen Fisheries in Sister Bay, says clean up efforts on the Menominee River and the Fox River have improved fish stocks on Green Bay.




Henriksen says among his concerns is the impact on Green Bay from the planned Back Forty mine in Menominee County, Michigan.


Photo courtesy of Destination Door County's business directory.

Grant to ease housing authority office supply crunch

A federal grant will help the Door County Housing Authority get its home office in order.  The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is providing nearly $27,000 to the authority. That's part of a $3.8-million program by HUD. Executive Director Sue Binish says that will help the agency keep up with increase paperwork demands for business that's conduct via mail rather than in-person because of COVID-19 restrictions. 




Binish says the additional office supplies will improve housing authority services to clients.

COVID-19 precautions set for CWD kiosk during deer hunt

There are no COVID-19 restrictions planned for the 2021 deer hunting season.  Although precautions will be taken at the self-serve kiosk used to collect deer heads to test for Chronic Wasting Disease.  Josh Martinez, a Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologist, says COVID-19 sanitation protocols will be used at the kiosk.




Martinez says deer hunters in Door and Kewaunee counties can drop off their deer heads at the CWD kiosk located outside the DNR Service Center on Shawano Avenue in Green Bay.

Union asking motorists to take a brake

The Union Town Board met Wednesday night, including discussion on whether the speed limit for Sand Hill Road needs to be reduced to help slow down traffic. Chairman Brian Renard says the street has been a consistent source of resident complaints.


Sand Hill Road is owned by the Town of Union. That means any decision on the speed limit is made at the municipal level. Board members said they wanted more information before moving the speed limit to 45 mph. It will be brought up for discussion again at next month’s scheduled meeting. Renard says Union has reduced speed limits elsewhere, including on County Road DK, where it curves through Namur.


*Union Town Hall photo courtesy of Wikipedia.


Legislative Committee enters Potawatomi Tower fight

Thursday’s Door County Legislative Committee meeting included debate over a statement of support for the Potawatomi Tower. Earlier this week, the Department of Natural Resources sent letters to Christie Weber MacDonald of the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society and State Representative for the First District Joel Kitchens. The agency said it continues to recommend demolition of the existing structure similar to the action taken at Peninsula State Park with the Eagle Tower. Kitchens and Assemblyman Robert Cowles of Allouez have come out in support of an alternative plan which would register the tower as a historical site and allow repairs to be done without bringing the structure into compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act. The Sturgeon Bay Historical Society has a verbal agreement with a contractor from Oregon to be able to complete repairs this fall in just ten days for a price of approximately $250,000. A new tower would cost millions.

Destination Sturgeon Bay and the Town of Nasewaupee have joined Kitchens in offering support for the Historical Society plan. Most members were open to the idea, including Chairman Bob Bultman. 


The statement is expected to be finalized in committee so that it can go before the full Board of Supervisors by September. The State of Wisconsin owns Potawatomi Tower, and the Department of Natural Resources maintains oversight since it is located inside a state park. DNR has ultimate authority over its fate, but the Wisconsin Historical Society can affect things if it weighs in with a designation to place the structure on the state or national Register of Historic Places. Potawatomi Tower’s addition to the register is scheduled for debate at the group’s September meeting.


Upswing of restraining orders sought in Door County

A legal advocacy organization has seen more inquiries into obtaining restraining or harassment orders in Door County.  Help of Door County Executive Director Milly Gonzales says they have been extremely busy the past two weeks dealing with more calls requesting guidance.  She notes that it is not easy putting a restraining order in place. [GONZALES]  Gonzales recommends that victims of domestic abuse should have a safety plan in place until the restraining order can be done.  Restraining orders must be taken to the clerk of courts to be approved by a judge with an injunction hearing scheduled within two weeks.  Help of Door County provides emotional support through the process besides acting as a legal advocate.



The entire interview with Milly Gonzales on the podcast page 



Belgian Kermiss Sunday, drive-thru style

The 10 year anniversary of the Belgian Heritage Center will be celebrated a little bit differently this year.  The organization will host the annual Kermiss again on Sunday, but it will be only a drive-thru event due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Belgian Heritage Center Board President Joe Alexander says people can still enjoy all the traditional foods associated with the Kermiss.



Kermisses are a tradition celebrating the harvest in smaller communities where Belgian settlements go back to the 1800s.  The Belgian Heritage Center is located on County DK in Namur, near Brussels.  You can find more details on the Kermiss below.






Rigging Your Fishing Kayak

I have several fishing kayaks and for my fishing I’ve kept the add-on accessories to a minimum. For me, it’s RAM Mount external rod holders behind the seat along with a small camera mount for pictures of bigger smallmouth bass I catch and release. On some of my outings I will also have a storage crate with rod holders behind the seat. 


However, rigging your fishing kayak can be just as elaborate as those bass boats you see running fast out on Green Bay. A very common add- on is a fish finder with a smaller 12-volt battery.  Many kayak anglers will also add an anchor trolley. With the popularity of videos taken with GoPro type cameras, attachments for one or more cameras will let you enjoy and share the excitement of catching those fish. I don’t use live bait, but some do and have mini aerated livewells that run off a battery.


In the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a kayak is defined as a light narrow boat that has both ends tapered to a point, propelled by a double-bladed paddle. We’ve already seen the explosion in popularity of self-propelled kayaks, but some kayak anglers now add trolling motors. On the bass boats you see long electronically deployed polls to hold the boat in place in shallower water. These are also starting to show up on kayaks of anlgers. After getting that fishing kayak, accessorizing is fun and personal to the type of fishing you enjoy. My suggestion is to add items as you need them, so you aren’t wasting time and money on something you won’t use or need.


Here in Door County we are blessed with an outstanding fishery and unmatched beauty, so grab some gear and hit the water for some fun.  Even if the fish aren’t biting, you’ll have a great time. If you have any kayak fishing or kayak questions, please email me at



COVID-19 Update – Five new cases in Door County, Kewaunee County shows new recoveries

Local public health officials reported another one-day uptick in cases for Door and Kewaunee counties on Friday.  Door County saw five additional cases of COVID-19 bringing their active total up to nine.   Kewaunee County noted one more coronavirus case but showed six more recoveries with 15 active cases.    Statewide, Wisconsin saw the number of cases and the positive testing rate increase again with over 1,000 new positives on Friday with a rate of nearly ten percent.  You can find the state and area’s COVID-19 situation report below.



Ridges Sanctuary introduces after school programs

The Ridges Sanctuary in Baileys Harbor is stepping up its efforts to take education outside this fall. In addition to its Dragonfly Nature Play and Tiny Trekkers programs, The Ridges Sanctuary introduced two new opportunities for kids ages 7-11. The Ridges Discovery Club takes kids on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons on nature investigations and explorations. Coyote Guides will help kids explore the sanctuary’s unique ecosystems during a Wednesday morning session. Program manager Katie Krouse hopes the programs meet the demand of the community with many schools most unlikely able to go on field trips this year.

Registration for all four of the Ridges’ youth programs is available. The programs run from the beginning of September to the end of October.


Picture courtesy of The Ridges Sanctuary

Testing supplies in good shape locally

Door County Medical Center is keeping up with the demand for COVID-19 testing in the area. It is good news for patients with possible symptoms of the virus after hospitals across the country including Advocate Aurora have had to close some of their community testing sites due to a lack of supplies. Approximately 20 percent of the tests are able to be processed at Door County Medical Center while the other 80 percent are sent to labs in Madison. Laboratory Director Jane Metko says the materials team at the hospital did an excellent job working ahead to make sure they had enough testing supplies and personal protective equipment.

The COVID-19 hotline has been kept busy with over 400 calls coming in one weekend two weeks ago, but Quality Director Nancy Daoust says many of the inquiries were for asymptomatic patients anxious to get tested.


Listen to the full interview here

Livestock expo gives area youth opportunity

While both county fairs and the Wisconsin State Fair were taken away from them this year due to COVID-19, area exhibitors still found a way to show their animals this summer. Washington Island’s Karoline Jordan competed in the steer exhibition at this week’s Wisconsin Livestock Show, which was developed earlier this year as a replacement for the canceled Wisconsin State Fair. Blake Kroll, Blake Jauquet, Brandon Schreffler, Taylor Thiry, and McCoy and Summer Walechka represented Kewaunee County in the swine shows. It was a step up in competition for Jauquet, but he was glad he had the opportunity.

Jauquet hopes the lessons he learned about showmanship during his first statewide competition on Thursday can be used at next year’s Kewaunee County Fair.


You can find results by clicking this link

Names released in Waushara County crash

The names of the two Sturgeon Bay residents involved a Waushara County crash was released on Thursday. According to the Oshkosh Northwestern, 65-year-old Kevin Butler was killed when a semi-truck ran a stop sign and struck his SUV near the intersection of State Highway 21 and County V in Coloma. His passenger, 63-year-old Carol J. Butler, suffered life-threatening injuries and was airlifted to a hospital in Madison. The semi-truck driver, a 34-year-old Illinois man, was also airlifted to the same hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Bass tournaments boost Sturgeon Bay's economy 

The opportunity to host two major fishing tournaments in Sturgeon Bay on short notice this summer has given an unexpected boost to the local economy.  Major League Fishing held their season-ending Bassmasters’ tournament last month in Sturgeon Bay and the FLW’s Tackle Warehouse TITLE will be coming up August 24-29.  Destination Sturgeon Bay Executive Director Pam Seiler says the event is huge for local businesses and the community.



Seiler notes that Sturgeon Bay’s relationship with Bassmasters goes back to 2015 and that the hopes are the tournaments will put Sturgeon Bay on the calendar in the upcoming years.  She credits the Sturgeon Bay Sport Fishing Association and City of Sturgeon Bay Parks Department for working to organize the logistics of boat launches and a successful fishing tournament.  You can find details on the upcoming FLW Tackle Warehouse TITLE below. 


News Release: 

FLW Shifts Final Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Event to Lake Erie, Taps Sturgeon Bay for
Tackle Warehouse TITLE presented by Toyota


 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 Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, 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).


Mind changing stress reducers -- Mental Health Minute

Sturgeon Bay Psychologist Dr. Dennis White says stress management can be controlled by challenging your own thinking.  He says that we are consistently talking to ourselves in our heads.  Our thoughts can be a mixture of rational and irrational ones.



Dr. White recommends challenging your thoughts when they may not be rational, thus lowering the heat and reducing emotional pressures.  Choosing safer options when making decisions and not reacting impulsively can improve your wellbeing and lessen regrets. You can listen to Dr. White’s entire Mental Health Minute on stress reduction below.



Casco Lions Club Days this weekend

The 43rd annual Casco Lions Days will go on as planned this weekend.  The event will run Friday through Sunday with precautions in place due to COVID-19.  Held at the Casco Village Park the festivities include any age slow-pitch ball, a cornhole tournament on Saturday and the parade on Sunday.  Casco Lion Chuck Heraly says the organization is excited to bring some fun to the old ballpark this weekend while having everyone obey the health and safety guidelines. The Casco Lions uses the monies raised during the event to support local and youth programs.  The softball tournament will start Friday evening and the parade will start at 11:00 AM Sunday at the Village Kitchen and end at the park.


(photo courtesy of Casco Lions Club)



COVID-19 Update – Pending cases drop as Kewaunee County tests four more positives

Local public health officials continue to work through the backlog of pending COVID-19 cases as Kewaunee County saw four additional cases of COVID-19 added to their workload on Thursday.  Door County Public Health officials disclosed no new positive cases while receiving 45 more test results on Thursday.  Pending cases in Door County dropped below 200 for the first time in several weeks and actives remained at only four.  Kewaunee County noted two more recoveries from the coronavirus and 20 total active cases with pending cases dropping to 103 in Kewaunee County.  On Thursday, Wisconsin saw a spike of new cases and the positive testing rate compared to Wednesday. Positive results nearly doubled with 943 cases reflecting 7.6 percent of all tests.  You can find the area’s COVID-19 situation report below.



Land and Water Committee given to-do list

Kewaunee County residents gave its Land and Water Conservation Committee a dozen different items to focus on over the coming year. Some of the suggestions included different fees for variances, spill responses, and confined animal feeding operations while others asked farmers to reduce herds and increase the use of cover crops and no-till practices. Committee Chairperson Chuck Wagner says there are things the county could do better, but some of the suggestions would need legislative approval.

Wagner saluted the farmers and the Land and Water Conservation Department staff for working together to address the concerns of the community. Residents also requested recommendations made by the state’s water quality task force be supported and restrictions on manure storage and hauling be enforced.


Technology education provides opportunity for island

Staff at the state’s smallest school district continues to benefit from national technology-based programs. Washington Island School District teachers recently participated in a session with mindSpark Learning earlier this week through a sponsorship from Samsung. It is just the latest opportunity the district has benefit from since teacher Miranda Dahlke’s eighth-grade class won the 2019 Samsung Solve for Tomorrow state-level contest by addressing the island’s wastewater concerns during the high and low tourism times. In the year since, Dahlke has traveled across the country participating in trainings with other educators and has gotten involved with a nationwide cohort teacher academy. Dahlke says the opportunity has allowed students and teachers access to the same technology tools other bigger and wealthier school districts get to use.

The extra information comes at a crucial time for Dahlke and other staff members at Washington Island School District as they have been forced to adjust to virtual learning options due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Washington Island School will open for in-person instruction on September 1st, but parents still concerned about their kids’ safety can opt for virtual instruction.


Picture courtesy of Washington Island School District

Kewaunee County Park repeatedly vandalized

Another Kewaunee County Park is being victimized by vandals this week. The Kewaunee County Promotions and Recreation Department has been forced to clean up graffiti and unwind swings from poles twice over the last five days in addition to picking up a large amount of trash not making its way to the proper receptacles. Parks Director Dave Myers says the Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the incidents as they beef up on other efforts to keep the park safe and clean.

Myers says specific plans addressing the vandalism will be discussed at an upcoming committee meeting. The Algoma Parks Department was forced to institute a curfew for a time at Perry Park after it suffered through similar graffiti and littering issues in May. Similar to Door County, the Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department has been forced to address other vandalism calls specific to political signs posted on private property.



Fairest embracing virtual role

Door County Fairest of the Fair Michaela Guilette is making the most of her virtual reign this year. Crowned the Door County Fairest of the Fair during the canceled event’s virtual celebration, Guilette kept busy by helping host events on its Facebook page, connecting with residents on their favorite fair foods, and conducting a coloring contest. It is not what the current Northeast Wisconsin Technical College student envisioned when she submitted her application to follow in her sister Katie’s footsteps. She is, however, embracing the positives.

The lack of local events will keep Guilette out of the public’s eye for now, but she will still be busy with her position at the soon-to-be-closed Barker Child Development Center and its replacement, the Door Community Child Development Center.


Listen to our full conversation here

Sturgeon Bay man dies, woman injured in Waushara County crash

A 65-year old Sturgeon Bay man died Wednesday afternoon after his vehicle was struck by a semi-truck in Waushara County.


According to a WBAY report, the Wisconsin State Patrol responded to the crash scene at the intersection of Highway 21 and County V in Coloma just after 1 p.m. The state patrol says the semi-truck ran through a stop sign on County V, striking the vehicle driven by the Sturgeon Bay man as he drove east on Highway 21. The man's passenger, a 63-year old woman from Sturgeon Bay and the semi-truck driver from Bloomington, Ill. were also injured in the crash and airlifted to a hospital in Madison. The crash is still under investigation and we will provide more information about this incident as it becomes available. 

Party leaders on how Biden/Harris ticket play locally

Door County political party leaders are sharing their assessments of  U.S. Senator Kamala Harris as former Vice President Joe Biden's running mate.  Door County Democratic Party Chair David Hayes believes Harris's qualities will appeal to Midwestern voters.




Door County Republican Party Chair Stephanie Soucek believes local voters might question some of Harris's West Coast values.




Harris served as California Attorney General before being elected to the U.S. Senate in 2016. 



Stephanie Soucek, Door County Republican Chapter

Schoolhouse being renovated at Heritage Village

The Vignes School is being renovated. The project started at the end of July with work done on the south wall at its current location in the Heritage Village at Big Creek. The south wall, and entrance, was completed first. After pulling off the old siding, members of the Door County Historical Society found the wood underneath to be rotted to the point of needing replacement. President Bailey Koepsel says the work is drawing a crowd.


The crew is now focusing its efforts on the siding of the building, sanding and priming in anticipation of a new coat of the school’s signature white paint. 

The building stopped serving students in the 1970s and served as the town hall for Clay Banks before being donated to the Heritage Village in 1994. It acts as a meeting place and hosts presentations from a variety of groups. Koepsel says the renovation work has been planned for years and is the only major project expected for some time. The Door County Historical Society has previously put a new roof on the building and restored its interior and wood flooring. 


Rotted wood underneath south wall of the schoolhouse.


Sanding and priming near the windows.



Hit and run accident in Baileys Harbor Tuesday night

The AC Tap, located at 8322 State Highway 57 in Baileys Harbor, was the scene of a hit and run accident Tuesday night. Deputy Chief Patrick McCarty of the Door County Sheriff’s Office says only one vehicle was occupied at the time of the collision.


The exact model is not known, but McCarty says the Sheriff’s Office is looking for a black GMC pickup truck in connection with the incident. McCarty did not comment on if alcohol was a factor. The hit and run happened just after 7 PM. 


Door County down to four active cases

Door and Kewaunee Counties both reported two new active COVID-19 cases with a drop in overall disease activity. Door is at 108 total while Kewaunee stands at 134. Door County is down to just four current cases. In Kewaunee, 18 people are infected, marking a gradual drop from levels seen late last week. The decreasing caseload is being seen statewide with fewer than 500 new COVID-19 infections announced on Wednesday, compared to nearly 900 the same day the previous week.



Community Protection Committee approves Ephraim Fire purchase

At a meeting Tuesday morning, the Village of Ephraim Community Protection Committee approved a new command vehicle for the fire department. The item was originally brought up in a regular meeting on August 4th, but following a presentation from Chief Justin MacDonald, it was decided that more information was needed. Tuesday’s special session fleshed out details about why the vehicle was required. MacDonald said that adding to the department’s fleet would allow the brush truck to remain available at all times for frontline needs. MacDonald also pointed out how important it was to have a space where he could direct the department’s efforts at the scene of a fire that is distraction-free. 


Ephraim Fire intends to bid on a 2013 Chevrolet Tahoe at an upcoming auction, with the expected price around $15,000. The vehicle is owned jointly by the Town of Washington and the Door County Sheriff’s Department. It has been used for several years, with approximately 80,000 miles on it. Should Ephraim Fire win the bidding process, it is expected that the Tahoe would have a useful life of about ten years before needing to be replaced. MacDonald said he has spoken with Deputy Chief Patrick McCarty about the Tahoe and was told it is in good working order. 
The Tahoe body is painted gray, which is acceptable for its potential new role, but it will have to be modified with appropriate lighting and lettering, among other changes that could total as much as $8,000. Member John Cox was the only vote against the measure. He said there are more pressing needs for the department, including an expansion of the fire station.


Wheelchair accessible boardwalk planned at Newport State Park

The Newport Wilderness Society has received a $20,000 Knowles-Nelson stewardship grant from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to install a boardwalk on the fern loop at Newport State Park. While the path totals over 2 miles, the new installation is intended to cover around a third of a mile. President Gene Kenny says flooding is becoming a more severe problem in springtime. Some years that extends well into the summer season, and those conditions are keeping the path from being Americans with Disabilities Act compliant, which is the intention.


A 2003 project in conjunction with the Boy Scouts installed roughly 400 feet of boardwalk already. The path also features several aids for the visually and hearing impaired. Restoration of existing facilities and the new pathway comes with a price tag of over $100,000. Kenny says a fundraising campaign begins later this year. That should not be affected by COVID-19, but construction may get pushed back if restrictions continue into 2021. Kenny says there are already plans to potentially do the project in a piecemeal fashion over several years. The DNR grant does not expire until 2022. 

Newport State Park is a dark sky preserve, the only one in the Door Peninsula, but there are no programs scheduled to celebrate this year’s Perseid meteor shower. Kenny shares that the park’s naturalist, Beth Bartoli, is not permitted to organize group events at this time. Kenny says individuals are encouraged to take advantage of Newport’s facilities with peak activity expected the next two nights.


Photo courtesy of the Newport Wilderness Society Facebook page. Taken in 2017.


Door County vacation rentals attracting younger visitors

Door County is drawing more interest in vacation rentals from younger travelers.  That's according to the analytics firm AirDNA.  It found that Airbnb bookings in Door County have risen about 15-percent among people from larger metropolitan areas.  Destination Door County Communications Director Jon Jarosh says his organization has noticed increased interest this summer, especially among younger adults.




Jarosh says the official number of July visits to Door County will be known about mid-September.

Gibraltar School District explores COVID mitigation efforts

The Board of Education met Monday night for Gibraltar School District to hear a presentation from Johnson Controls on new technologies available that reduce COVID transmission. Director of Learning Tim Mulrain says there are several possible options. The first is to increase circulation using the building’s existing HVAC unit. That is expected to lead to additional wear on the ventilation system, which would decrease its useful life. Especially during winter, the temperature of outdoor air will need to be modified significantly before it can make its way into classrooms or offices, and that stands to create a hefty heating bill. 
Options two and three involve new HEPA filters and bumping up the building’s relative humidity. Ultraviolet light scrubbers were also included in the presentation, along with what Mulrain feels is the most effective technology.


Johnson Controls says that the new air filter system reduces airborne COVID-19 molecules by as much as 90 percent. It is being installed in colleges and other academic settings in addition to county courthouses and government facilities. Mulrain says the system is also part of the HVAC unit for the Fiserv Forum, home of the Milwaukee Bucks. 
Gibraltar plans to be flexible for the beginning of the academic year, transitioning between in-person instruction, a hybrid model, and remote learning as conditions dictate. COVID-19 activity levels in Door County have fluctuated between moderate and high since the beginning of July. 


Primary election results for Door, Kewaunee Counties

The treasurer’s race in Door County was the only contested race across the peninsula. Five candidates vied to represent their respective party on the November ballot. Chief Deputy treasurer Ryan Schley won a plurality of votes in a three-way race to clinch the Republican nomination. He secured 1,534 votes or 48% of the overall tally. Jan Arbter Anderson was victorious against Ashley DeGrave on the Democratic side, garnering 1,925 votes, 55.33% of the total.

All other races featured a lone candidate or write-ins only. The preliminary results are below.


Door County


Kewaunee County:


Door County working on resurfacing projects

A resurfacing project by the Door County Highway Department near the Cherryland Airport will start up next Monday.  The roadway on County C from Rileys Bay Road to County PD will be detoured for a month while the construction is being completed.  Door County Highway Commissioner John Kolodziej estimates that the road work will take about a month.



Kolodziej notes that local drivers needing to access the roadway should be aware of loose gravel and dusty conditions.  Workers will be on the job site from 6 am until 5 pm on weekdays.  Other projects planned for later this summer include another resurfacing on County U from Johnson Road to just south of Lake Lane and overlay work on County M from County C north to Hainesville Road.




Public Notice


CTH C Resurfacing Project – Rileys Bay Road to CTH PD


August 10, 2020


The Door County Highway Department will begin a resurfacing project on CTH C from Rileys Bay Road to CTH PD on August 17, 2020. The work includes milling off the existing pavement followed by placement of new hot mix asphalt surface, gravel shouldering and pavement marking. 


Traffic Control: The Roadway will be closed to thru traffic during construction hours each working day on the project. Local access to property will be permitted. A detour will be established and signed to include Rileys Bay Road, Sand Bay Road (CTH SB) and CTH PD. All sections will be opened to traffic at the end of each workday. Sections may require complete closure of the roadway for the milling and paving operations. The highway department will provide signage in advance of the closed sections when this occurs. Access for emergency vehicles will be provided at all times. 


Project Schedule: Pulverizing the existing asphalt pavement will begin on Monday, August 17, 2020 at the intersection of CTH C and Rileys Bay Road. Paving operations will begin the week of August 17, 2020. All work is scheduled to be completed by September 18, 2020. Workers will be on the job site between the hours of 6:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday thru Friday. 


Please be advised to use caution around road construction crews and equipment. As with any road construction project, the work is controlled by favorable weather. Because of the scope of work, you will experience dusty conditions, loose gravel and uneven paving lanes. Please slow down when traveling the roadway. All motorists are urged to use caution in the construction area and to obey all signage. 


Questions regarding this work can be answered by contacting the Door County Highway Department at 920-746-2500. Thank you for your cooperation. 

Performances going virtual

Entertainment venues in Door County have taken to virtual performances and online events to offset the unfortunate cancellations of summer and fall shows.  Jeff Herbst, artistic director for Northern Sky Theater in Fish Creek says the performing arts group has adjusted to keep followers and supporters engaged.



Herbst has collaborated with Katie Dahl for a weekly online show since July 12 on Sundays that will run until September 27.  A Songs of Hope event is planned for August 21.  Northern Sky Theater announced the cancelation of their fall season last month.  You can find the most recent video from the last “Jeff and Katie Show” below. 






City shoring up Sunset Park

The flooding of Little Lake in Sunset Park, brought on by higher water levels, has the City of Sturgeon Bay working to protect some valuable real estate.  Municipal Director Mike Barker says shoreline restoration and protection for the project is expected to start in September and finish in late fall.  He says many parts of Sunset Park are still open and accessible, but you may have to do a little more walking.



The City of Sturgeon Bay accepted a bid from Payne & Dolan from Waukesha to do the restoration work at a budget of $200,930 last month.  Barker adds that bids are still out for the restoration project for the railroad spur on Sturgeon Bay’s west side.  



COVID-19 Update:  No new COVID-19 cases reported in area on Tuesday

The total number of positive COVID-19 cases in the area held steady on Tuesday as the State of Wisconsin’s death toll surpassed the 1,000 mark with eight additional deaths reported.  Door County Public Health reported no new positive tests on Tuesday while noting five more recoveries and leaving only eight active cases.  Kewaunee County did not show any more positive tests for COVID-19 on Tuesday and remains at 132.  The active cases dropped to 21 with three new recoveries reported.  You can find the updated COVID-19 report from Door and Kewaunee Counties below.






Adults, kids on same wavelength for anxiety

While the pandemic is relatively new, how to handle the anxiety surrounding it is not according to Kewaunee County UW Extension Family Life Educator Renee Koenig. Research shows children often imitate the brain state of the adults they are around. This causes children to operate with the emotional side of their brain without thinking through the issue at hand. Koenig says by decreasing your children’s access to sources of stress, practicing calming skills, and empathizing with them, you can help them feel less afraid or anxious.

She adds that if fears or worries get in the way of daily life, a possible anxiety order should be addressed with help from a therapist, doctor, or school counselor. You can read more about Koenig’s thoughts on anxiety, fear, and worry below.



In ambiguous situations, such as the COIVD-19 pandemic, we don’t have past experiences to give us direction on how to act or what might happen. Research shows that in ambiguous situations humans feel nervous, uncertain, or out of control. When we feel anxious and afraid, we function as if we are under attack – using our “emotional” brain instead of using our “thinking” brain skills. Our “thinking” brain helps us understanding other people’s emotions, practice perspective taking, and calm down. Our “emotional” brain, on the other hand, prepares us for safety by activating our fight, flight, or freeze response.


“Both ways of thinking have their purpose but our fight or flight response was intended for short term needs. Long term anxiety and stress can be harmful,” says Renee Koenig, Associate Professor for UW-Madison Extension. “There’s not much we can do to change the level of ambiguity outside our door. Adults can, however, be mindful of how our anxiety, fear, and stress impacts children. Parents can set the stage in their own home to help children manage anxiety and stress.”


Children often imitate the brain state of the adults around them – when adults activate their emotional brain, kids move into their emotional brain. Imagine two scenarios: a child has spilled a cup of milk. In the first scenario, the parent yells at the child for the mistake. This child yells or melts down in response. In the second scenario, the parent takes a deep breath and says, “Mistakes happen. Grab a towel and we’ll clean it up together.” Most likely this parent and child work together to calmly clean up the milk. Children co-regulate with adult help; they need an adult to model calm and problem solving before they can access those skills independently.


When children or adults are feeling stressed, angry, or fearful, one thing adults can do to help children is to practice and model calm. Try to be aware when you are feeling anxious or afraid of what might be triggering that feeling. You can try to minimize your exposure to that trigger. But we often can’t fully avoid the source of our anxiety. Instead when you feel anxious, practice actively calming yourself by taking deep belly breaths and talking to someone you trust about your feelings.


Parents can also teach these skills to children:

Decrease children's access to adult sources of stress or worry. Turn off the news and, instead, ask your child what he has heard or wants to know. As a child grows older, teach her that she is allowed to adjust her exposure to triggering movies, books, social media feeds, or news.

Practice calming skills together to better understand how to handle anxiety-producing moments. Teach deep breathing by pretending to smell a flower and blow out a candle or using a straw to blow a paper ball across the table. Make a mindful jar and take deep breaths until the glitter settles to the bottom.  

Empathize and problem solve with your child. When he is scared or angry describe the emotion – “You’re sad that you can’t go to the playground. I’d be sad about that too.” Then work together to find a next step – “It’s ok to feel sad. Would it help to think of some things you can do now?”


“During this time of global uncertainty and stress, parents have the power to turn the dial down on the stress and worry that children experience at home,” says Koenig. For everyday worries and fears, supportive parenting can help children cope with these anxieties. Parents teach children healthy ways to reduce anxiety when they model calming techniques and recognize emotions. Parents also help children advocate for themselves and problem solve a less anxiety-producing approach.


UW-Madison Extension Parenting. . . Behind the Behavior videos offer additional positive parenting ideas at . You can tune in weekly from home for parenting support from Extension educators.


Feeling afraid, worried, or anxious is normal for children and adults. When fears or worries get in the way of daily life, however, they may be a sign of an anxiety disorder -- this is an important time to talk to a doctor, therapist, or school counselor.


For more information on parenting, contact the Kewaunee County UW-Madison Division of Extension office at or 920-388-7137.




Women's Fund recognizes "sheroes"

The Women’s Fund of Door County is making “sheroes” out of everyday people making a difference in the community during the pandemic. The organization began honoring women  last week when it paid tribute to United Way of Door County Executive Director Amy Kohnle for her partnership with others to address rental assistance, food needs, and childcare. This week the Women’s Fund honored Nicolet Bank’s Michelle Sternard for helping local businesses stay open during uncertain times. Women’s Fund Board Member Jennifer Moeller hopes through these stories, young women and girls find inspiration to serve their community.

Recognizing local “sheroes” is part of this year’s virtual Celebrate Women! Luncheon, which past in-person events have served as the organization’s biggest fundraiser of the year.



Ferry line meeting the demand

People taking advantage of the outdoors are finding their way to the Washington Island Ferry Line. As the pandemic wore on, the Washington Island Ferry slowly expanded its services as the state opened up. Ferry President Hoyt Purinton says they look at weather reports, website hits, and hotel bookings to forecast how ridership may be a couple of weeks out. Although he has been surprised by the amount of traffic all things considered, Purinton says there have been some factors working in their favor.

The Washington Island Ferry Line is doing daily roundtrips to and from Northport about every 45 minutes from 6:45 a.m. to 6:45 p.m. in addition to weekend night trips.

Century farm status important to Salentine

It was not the celebratory year Salentine Homestead Farm in Luxemburg was planning for, but fourth-generation owner Josh Salentine says getting to this point is what is most important. The 400-plus cow dairy operation was to celebrate its Century Farm status by hosting the Kewaunee County Breakfast on the Farm in June and be formally recognized at the Wisconsin State Fair on Tuesday before both events were canceled. He believes his great-grandparents and grandparents would marvel at the efficiency they have been able to develop to produce more crops and milk. Given the strife many dairy farms have faced in recent years, he is proud to carry on his family’s tradition.

Over 10,000 farms across Wisconsin have earned Century Farm status since the program was introduced in 1948. Salentine says he is excited for a second attempt at celebrating when it hosts the Kewaunee County Breakfast on the Farm in 2022. Other Century Farms honored are listed below:


Door County—Beverly Knutson, North Bay Road Farms, Sister Bay


Kewaunee County—Glenn and Gloria Paplham, Living Trust, Kewaunee; Mary and Jim, Jenny and Josh Salentine, Salentine Homestead Dairy LLC, Luxemburg; Tammy and Wayne Selner, Kewaunee


Picture courtesy of the Kewaunee County Dairy Promotion Committee





Schools preparing for reopening

With elementary schools looking to return to face-to-face instruction this fall, St. Mary School in Algoma has operational plans in place to follow guidelines set down by the Diocese of Green Bay and health officials.  Cindy Massey, the lead teacher at St. Mary School in Algoma, says the staff is taking all the precautions to make the return to the classroom as safe as possible.  She says teachers are on board and anxious to return to teaching as well.



St. Mary School in Algoma formed a panel of stakeholders who reviewed the Reopening School Buildings Risk Assessment Tool from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.  Massey notes that the school’s smaller population of students will make it easier to socially-distance in the classroom.


(photo submitted,  2019-20 school year)


Click here for reopening details


Special meteor viewing this week

An annual phenomenon in the dark skies will be taking place this week.  The Door County Astronomical Society is hosting a public viewing of the Perseid meteor shower this week at the Astronomy Campus in Sturgeon Bay.  The viewing will coincide with the peak time of the meteor on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings from 9:30 until 11:30 pm.  President Dave Lenius says that there is a back-up plan if the meteor showers are not visible.



Lenius says meteors are essentially leftover remnants of a comet tail which triggers bursts of light from the small dust fragments burning up in the earth’s atmosphere.  The public is invited to bring lawn chairs while social distancing and wearing masks.




Sister Bay Fall Fest canceled

The Sister Bay Fall Festival will not happen this year.  The event has been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, following the cancelation of other major festivals in Door County.   The Sister Bay Advancement Association announced on Monday that due to safety concerns the risk was too much in having a gathering of that size.  Coordinator Lousie Howson says the decision was difficult but the right one.



Sister Bay Fall Festival, which draws tens of thousands of revelers each October,  will come back next year with their 75th Anniversary celebration.


(photo courtesy of Sister Bay Advancement Association)



COVID-19 Update: Door and Kewaunee counties add four cases each

The number of positive tests of COVID-19 in Door and Kewaunee counties ticked up on Monday as the state reported no new deaths.  Wisconsin showed an increase of 507 cases Monday with deaths remaining at 998.  Door County Public Health reported four new COVID-19 cases since Friday but also had nine new recoveries leaving only 13 active cases. The total positive tests are 106 in Door County with 252 tests still pending.  Kewaunee County also disclosed four more positive tests from over the weekend bringing their total to 132.  The active cases stand at 24 with three new recoveries. You can find the updated COVID-19 report from Door and Kewaunee Counties below.




Door County Food Pantry fulfilling the need

There is a good reason why you have not seen long lines at Door County food pantries during this time of uncertainty. Eight local operations teamed up to form the Door County Food Pantry Coalition back in May in order to have a coordinated and sustainable response to the needs of the community. Door County Community Foundation President and CEO Bret Bicoy says their teamwork has produced great results.

NEW Radio, Inc. and its virtual animal sale sponsors Renard's Cheese, Salmon Meats, Marchant Foods, Ebert Enterprises, Portside Builders Greenstone Farm Credit Services, Rio Creek Feed Mill, Flanigan Distributing, Jerseyland Dairy, and TNT Dynamite Grooming, purchased two pigs, a lamb, and two turkeys from area youth to donate to the Door County Food Pantry Coalition, resulting in hundreds of pounds of meat for area families. The next Farmers to Families Food Box distribution is August 12th at First Baptist Church in Sister Bay.




Door, Kewaunee Counties on par with ALICE average

Door and Kewaunee Counties paint the average picture when it comes to Wisconsinites struggling to make ends meet. The United Way of Wisconsin recently released their ALICE Report based on 2018 data as it looked at people who are asset-limited, income-constrained, and employed. Approximately 31 percent of residents in Door County and 32 percent in Kewaunee County are at the ALICE threshold or worse, which is based on the household survival budget of $21,000 for a single adult and $68,472 for a family of four. The statewide average is 34 percent. Christina Studebaker of the United Way of Door County says one factor to the increase of ALICE households is the cost of living is outpacing wage increases.

According to the ALICE Report available online, eleven counties have more than 40 percent of their residents living below the ALICE threshold, including Menominee County at 55 percent.


Picture Courtesy of United Way of Door County

Door 2 Door Rides hits 10-year milestone

It has been a lot easier getting around Door County over the last decade. The shared ride taxi service known as Door 2 Door Rides provided its first trip on August 10th, 2010. Since then, Door 2 Door Rides has provided over 360,000 trips to local residents, giving over 3.5 times more rides in 2019 (over 41,000) than it did during its inaugural year (13,556). Door County Transportation Manager Pam Busch says the service has served the community well.

Even with ridership down in 2020 due to COVID-19, Door 2 Door Rides is still on pace to provide over 32,000 trips this year.  You can learn more about the Door 2 Door Rides service by clicking here.


Taken in August 2010, the picture features (Left to Right): Roger Tepe, former Door County Human Services Deputy Director, Pam Busch, current Door County Transportation Manager who was with Door-Tran at the time of the picture, and Amy Kohnle, United Way Executive Director.

Treasurer's race expected to drive voter turnout

The Door County Treasurer race is giving voters a reason to head out to the polls on Tuesday.  The races for register of deeds, clerk, and district attorney in Door and Kewaunee Counties, Kewaunee County Treasurer, Congressional District 8, and Assembly District 1 all have just a single candidate running for their respective party. In many cases, the candidates on Tuesday’s ballot will run unopposed when the general election comes around in November. The Door County Treasurer race features Democrats Jan Arbter Anderson and Ashley DeGrave and Republicans Christine Moe, Ryan Schley, and Lisa Hart. Village of Sister Bay Clerk Heidi Teich says that has already had an impact on absentee voting.

Teich says the Village of Sister Bay will once again have a drive-through option as well as the more traditional way of voting when polling sites are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.


On The Ballot for Tuesday


Congressional District 8

Democrat: Amanda Stuck

Republican: Rep. Mike Gallagher


Assembly District 1

Democrat: Kim Delorit Jensen

Republican: Rep. Joel Kitchens


Door County District Attorney

Republican: Colleen C. Nordin


Door County Clerk

Republican: Jill M. Lau 


Door County Treasurer

Democrats: Jan Arbter Anderson and Ashley DeGrave

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


Door County Register of Deeds

Republican: Carey Petersilka


District Attorney

Democrat: Andrew Naze


County Clerk

Democrat: Jamie Annoye



Republican: Michelle Dax


Register of Deeds

Democrat: Germaine Bertrand 

Severe thunderstorm watch issued for region

The National Weather Service has issued a severe thunderstorm watch for Door and Kewaunee Counties this afternoon. The warning covers most of Northeast Wisconsin as a few of the storms could be severe and produce large hail, gusty winds and heavy rainfall. The severe thunderstorm watch expires at 7 p.m.


A separate warning for Northern Door County has been issued and will expire at 4:15 p.m.


Severe weather over the weekend could be to blame for residents losing power in parts of the county and a fire that was started by a down powerline in Ellison Bay.

Groundwater study looking for new contaminants in Door County

The UW-Oshkosh team studying water quality in Door County will be checking for known issues in the area, including agricultural runoff and elevated bacteria levels due to karst rock’s susceptibility to contamination. Professor Greg Kleinheinz says it is also the first chance to look into problems that have cropped up in other parts of the state in recent years.


PFAS are a common material in household items, but their use in firefighting foam has been the main contributor to pollution conerns, including in Marinette across the Bay of Green Bay. 


Egg Harbor preps for County Highway G construction

By the end of August, the Village of Egg Harbor will complete land purchases needed for a right of way. That allows for construction on County Road G to begin in the fall. Engineer Mike Simon says that contingent on approval from the Board of Trustees this week, utility work should be started in a couple months.


It consists of burying storm sewers, along with installing gutters and lighting to be completed this fall. Roadwork is set for spring. The fall detour to reach downtown businesses is Dock Road. A gate that closes the street for marina traffic typically reopens in September.


Consider flooding and erosion controls as Lake Michigan water levels drop

Communities and property owners in Door and Kewaunee counties may notice Lake Michigan water levels easing in the coming months.  However, it's only expected to be a slight seasonal reprieve.  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Detroit says Lake Michigan's water levels are expected to peak this month and recede through fall and winter.  The average lake levels, however, will remain at record highs.   Deanna Apps, Physical Scientist with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Detroit District, says the receding water levels are a good opportunity for communities and lakeshore property owners to take additional flooding and erosion prevention measures.




Apps says the Corps of Engineers can help lakeshore communities and property owners find the best erosion and flooding control options. Those can be found at the Corps website and doing a search for the document entitled “Living on the Coast."

New funds help treat COVID-19 mental health issues

More help is on the way for people in Door and Kewaunee who are dealing with COVID-19 mental health issues.  The Wisconsin Department of Health Services received a $2-million grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.  Kewaunee County Administrator Scott Feldt expects those funds will help people ease their stress in a COVID-19 world.




Among those who'll benefit from the federal grant are teens and young adults, those who've had issues accessing health care, and health care workers.

Destination Sturgeon Bay floats night market extension

At Tuesday’s Common Council meeting, Destination Sturgeon Bay floated a trial balloon to extend the Under the Stars Night Market through October. Marketing and Events Director Carly Sarkis says business participation continues to increase, and so do the crowds. After the group had to cancel Harvest Fest, the night market provides an opportunity to bring traffic to the downtown area safely. Sarkis hints that there are already plans for next year.


Destination Sturgeon Bay hosted the annual citywide sidewalk sale on July 30th, another safe event, with west waterfront businesses doing especially well. Sarkis says that with retail closed for several months, this year’s sale was important to clear inventory that shoppers couldn’t access easily during the spring.


Kress Pavilion outdoor events could be expanded

Art, yoga, and dancing are coming out at the Kress Pavilion in Egg Harbor.  The August programs at the pavilion have moved to the porch or Grand Hall in the interest of social distancing.  So far, that move is proving very popular with program participants.  Jesse Reinke, Kress Pavilion property manager and event director, says going outdoors could become a long-term option.


More information on August programs and other events at the Kress Pavilion are available at the Kress Pavilion website.


(Kress Pavilion Group Class photo from Liz Heller)

Egg Harbor condo project inching towards approval

Developers of a proposed condominium project in Egg Harbor at the site of the former Mueller Mini Mart still have to seek the approval of two panels in the village. After scaling down original plans from 27 units to 14, the revised design will most likely be subject to a host of stipulations before the Plan Commission grants a conditional use permit. Administrator Ryan Heise says the Zoning Board of Appeals will also need to be involved.


The Plan Commission meets at 6:00 PM on August 18th. It will be a virtual meeting. Even if both committees sign off on the project, construction is not expected to begin until November.


Door County Archives plans proceed slowly

The proposed site for the new Door County Archives building is undergoing cost and use studies.  The county purchased the former Younker's Furniture store building on Fourth Avenue in Sturgeon Bay last year.  Several design options have been considered. County Administrator Ken Pabich says input is now being sought from the Door Public Library and the Miller Art Museum.  He also says some records and artifacts have been moved to other county-owned locations to aid preservation efforts.




A former home on Michigan Street had served as the Door County Archives.  That building has since been demolished and the site is expected to be used as a parking area for the new archives facility.

Choir cancels fall season and winter concert

The Peninsula Singers will stay silent for the rest of 2020. They announced this week the cancellation of their fall season and winter concert. The group has a rich history, stretching back nearly 50 years. Members come from across Door and Kewaunee Counties, consisting of young and old. Board President Jeanne Barnard says that, unfortunately, singing indoors remains a high-risk activity for COVID-19 transmission. She is hopeful that an online performance can be possible by year’s end.


The group has two primary concerts per year, with one of those happening at the Sturgeon Bay United Methodist Church. The other floats between locations. Barnard says the Peninsula Singers perform a variety of genres and are gladly taking donations to help during the pandemic. In the spring, the Singers had already committed to a director’s salary and purchased songbooks and rights for music before they were forced to wait out the pandemic.


Parks and Facilities Committee tours southern Door County

New supervisors on the county’s Parks and Facilities Committee got to go on a field trip Thursday. Director Wayne Spritka and Chair Dan Austad led the group on a tour beginning at LaSalle County Park and winding across southern Door, including the hotly debated Forestville Millpond. Members of the Friends of the Forestville Dam, who oppose the county’s drawdown plan, were also there to help rescue a deer trapped to its shoulders in mud. Member Christine Reid says that even after a hot and dry July, there was still plenty of moisture in the flowage. It takes only a little rain for great sums of water to funnel towards the flowage from the surrounding areas and the Ahnapee Watershed.


Reid says that the county’s plan requires the flowage to dry out completely, and nine months after its start, that is a long way from happening. Additionally, when the dam valve is finally closed, and the flowage returns, the Friends group predicts it could be another five years before the area’s ecosystem gets back to normal.


Forestville flowage on Thursday, August 6th.



NFL Draft and other Lambeau events a boost for Door County

The possibility of Lambeau Field hosting the 2024 NFL Draft and other national events excites Door County tourism officials.  Green Bay Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy recently announced at the virtual shareholders meeting that the team is one of three finalists for the 2024 draft sessions. Murphy also says Lambeau Field is applying to host the Big Ten Championship game between 2023 and 2030.  Jon Jarosh with Destination Door County says it's not known exactly what the economic impact would be from such events.  Although, he says past experience shows visitors will be looking beyond Green Bay for places to see.




Door County and Green Bay hoped to pick up additional tourism business when U-W Madison and Notre Dame played at Lambeau Field this fall.  That game has been tentatively rescheduled for 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Underground cable project begins Monday

American Transmission Company is starting a project Monday to lay a new submarine electrical line in Sturgeon Bay. Work will cause closures to several downtown locations sporadically between now and May of next year. 


• Second Avenue between Nebraska and Oregon Streets (northeast of Graham park) will be closed beginning the week of Aug. 10, 2020, through mid-December 2020.

• The City of Sturgeon Bay parking lot on Nebraska Street, between First and Second Avenues, will be closed Aug. 10, 2020, through May 2021.

• One lane on Neenah Avenue near Sawyer Park will be closed for up to four weeks in December 2020 and January 2021. Driveways and access points on Neenah Avenue are scheduled to remain open.

• First Avenue between Nebraska and Oregon Streets will be closed for construction for approximately two weeks in January 2021.


The transmission line consists of four cables that have a total capacity of 69,000 volts. It replaces a conduit laid in the early 1980s. The project is estimated to have a cost of over $12 million.



Picture of American Transmission President and CEO, Mike Rowe, courtesy of the company's website.

Ephraim moving forward post-Streetscape

Two years and $4.85 million later, Ephraim’s streetscape ad hoc committee has completed their duties.  The infrastructure project included 2500 lineal feet of roadway construction in Ephraim along with lighting and sidewalks.  Ephraim Administrator Brent Bristol says the ad hoc committee recently discussed their future.



Bristol notes that the ad hoc committee will probably not continue to meet, but remain intact in order to receive regular updates through the village board.  On Tuesday, the village board will be considering the request by the facilities committee to replace the three main Ephraim signs on the highway which compliments the new streetscape.   

Elder abuse program being implemented

A federal pilot program addressing elder abuse has been implemented to address the issue in Door County.  The State of Wisconsin Justice Department applied for a grant with the federal government to offer one of five pilot programs that are an offshoot of the Door County Coordinated Community Response.  Anni Lampert, Help of Door County advocate, had the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C. to learn how to train law enforcement professionals and other service providers to identify signs of elderly abuse.



Lampert notes that elder abuse caused by controlling behavior can mirror those impacting other people.  Neglect is one of the bigger issues facing the elderly besides the reported physical, emotional, sexual, financial, or psychological abuse.

Protecting yourself from swimmer's itch

As the area beaches become even more of an attraction in August, public health officials are reminding people to take added precautions to remain healthy after swimming in lakes and other bodies of water.  Besides following the guidelines set down by the Centers for Disease Control regarding the current health crisis, beach-goers should be aware of allergic reactions that can happen after swimmers leave the water.  Door County Sanitarian and Health Educator Chelsea Smies notes that swimmers itch is a common condition this time of year.  She shares how you can better protect yourself from the skin rash.



Swimmers itch is also known as cercarial dermatitis and is most common in freshwater lakes and ponds.  Smies notes that the condition may be uncomfortable, but usually clears up in a few days. You can find more information on tips to prevent swimmer’s itch below.




COVID-19 Update:  Kewaunee County adds two more cases; Door County stays at 102

The number of positive COVID-19 cases ticked upward in the area again on Friday as the State of Wisconsin reported 12 more deaths and a slight increase in the percentage of new positive cases at seven percent.  Door County Public Health reported no new COVID-19 cases on Friday while noting one additional recovery.  The active cases went down to 18.  Kewaunee County reported two more positive tests bringing their total to 128.  That reflects an increase of 20 new positive tests since Monday.   The active cases remained at 23 with two new recoveries.   You can find the updated COVID-19 report from Door and Kewaunee Counties below.  




BBQ champion calls Sturgeon Bay home

Sturgeon Bay’s Tom MacIntosh proves you do not need to go to Kansas City or Memphis for really good barbeque.  T-Mac Smokin BBQ was born when he took over the food operations at his church’s picnic in Appleton. As the legend grew, he started to enter barbeque competitions across the country which have garnered him grand champion status at the Death’s Door BBQ competition and a fourth-place finish against the best of the best in Lynchburg, Tennessee. The secret to his success he says is loving what he does.

With many competitions canceled this year, T-Mac Smokin BBQ has been popping up at local businesses across the county this summer, including Johnny G’s Fishing Hole on Saturday.


Photo submitted by Tom MacIntosh from "The Jack" , 2019 Jack Daniels World Championship BBQ Competition. His team finished 4th out of 97 teams from all over the world.

Planting into green yielding good results

Members of Peninsula Pride Farms are trying a newer technique this year to help prevent soil erosion. Approximately half of the member farms are “planting into green” this season, which has operators seeding cover crops in between rows of other growing plants. For Brey Cycle Farm in Sturgeon Bay, that means wading through a mixture of radish, clover, ryegrass and sunflowers in between rows of corn. With rain events becoming more extreme when they happen, Tony Brey says having all those plants is helping keep the water where it needs to be.

While it could be harvested for different purposes, much of the cover crops planted  stay in the field to help build organic matter and hold the soil in place. Brey Cycle Farm will host a Peninsula Pride Farms Field Day on September 1st  from 6 to 7 p.m. to go more in depth with the “planting into green” technique.

Positive test dry docks tour company

Vessels at Door County Kayak Tours will remain on dry land for the time being due to a positive COVID-19 test on its staff. The Jacksonport-based business made the announcement on Facebook Thursday, letting customers know they would be canceling booked tours and not taking reservations for the next few days while the rest of their team gets tested. According to their website, Door County Kayak Tours introduced a number of additional safety measures as a part of keeping their guests and employees safe during the pandemic. Some of those extra practices include increased cleaning protocols, encouraging social distancing and masking, and limiting the number of guests in their shop and tours. Since May, close to 10 different businesses in Sister Bay, Ellison Bay, Baileys Harbor, Luxemburg, and Sturgeon Bay have closed their doors temporarily due to positive COVID-19 tests on their staff.

Door County census response lagging

Door County could be costing itself thousands of dollars in funding thanks to a lower than average response to the U.S. Census. Just over 46 percent of Door County households have completed the U.S. Census, compared to just under 70 percent statewide and approximately 75 percent in Kewaunee County. Dan Powers sat on the county’s complete count committee this winter and says one reason why the response rate could be so low is due to confusion with the area’s seasonal residents.

Although the finish line for this year’s census count has been a moving target in recent weeks due to the pandemic, there is still time for people to respond online, by phone, or by mail.


picture courtesy of the U.S. Census Bureau

Coping with the prolonged pandemic -- Mental Health Minute series

Dealing with COVID-19 fatigue and the new normal can bring about stressful times.  Sturgeon Bay Psychologist Dr. Dennis White compares managing stress with a tea kettle simmering on a hot stove.  Lowering the heat and using safety valves are valuable techniques in coping with the stress.  Dr. White shares two stress-releasers that are still available.


Dr. White says there is no way to eliminate stress during this pandemic, but there are ways to manage it better.  You can listen to the entire Mental Health Minute on coping with stress by Dr. White below.






Banquet facilities slowly scheduling events

Area dining halls and banquet rooms are adjusting to capacity limits and the new protocols associated with hosting smaller events and family gatherings.  Kelly Froelich of the Rendezvous of Luxemburg says his upstairs banquet hall is spacious enough to socially-distance tables and stools.  He notes that the spacing allows guests to feel more comfortable while still enjoying celebrations and rescheduled events.



Froelich notes that social-distancing at Rendezvous includes the bowling alley downstairs.  He has been preparing for the upcoming bowling season as well.  Bowlers will use every other lane with different teams using different alleys.    


COVID-19 Update: Door County adds one case, Kewaunee County goes up six

The area appears to be following the state's trend of an elevated rate of COVID-19 positive tests.  The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported 839 more cases with a 4.7 percent positive testing on Thursday with eight more COVID-19 related deaths.  Door County reported one new positive case for a total of 102 with 19 active cases.  Kewaunee County added six more cases to show 126 total with 23 remaining actives.  Both Door and Kewaunee counties are currently classified as moderately high on the state's COVID-19 activity level.   You can find the updated COVID-19 report from Door and Kewaunee counties online below.




Mud-trapped deer rescued in Forestville

A two-hour collective community effort helped to rescue a deer stuck in the Forestville Mill Pond on Thursday morning.  A full-grown doe was trapped in a quagmire of mud until about 10:45 AM.  Six concerned residents, three Southern Door Fire Department personnel, and a DNR official all worked together to pull the deer to safety.  Southern Door Fire Captain Rich Olson describes how the doe was rescued.



Olson says the rescue crew brought the deer back to dry land to wash off her mud-covered fur.  After a little thrashing, the deer headed back into the woods appearing very healthy.  


(Photo and video courtesy of Robert Sijgers)





The below video of the release of the deer is courtesy of Friends of the Forestville Dam





Second-hand stores keeping people safe

People took the extra time inside to clean out their homes and local second-hand stores are making sure the donations and their volunteers remain safe. Back in June, Door County Habitat for Humanity limited donations to just Tuesdays and Thursdays to allow volunteers enough time to properly clean and sanitize the items. At the recently reopened Algoma Book Corner, the Friends of the Algoma Public Library accept their donations only when they are open on Saturdays. After they are donated, the books are quarantined for three days until they can safely be handled by volunteers. Sue Hass from the Algoma Book Corner says it is all about keeping people safe.

After their first Saturday open last week, Hass was thankful for their customers and their understanding of some of the extra precautions put in place such as customer limits and extra cleaning.


Picture courtesy of the Algoma Book Corner Facebook Page

Finding routine in abnormal school year

The daily routine of their children may be one of the few aspects parents can control ahead of the upcoming school year in Door and Kewaunee Counties. Each school district has developed plans to help parents understand where and when students will be able to report for in-person classes based on certain health metrics. When students are allowed back for in-person instruction, all eight school districts in the two counties will require at least some kind of masking. Karen Corekin-DeLaMer from Sister Bay’s Northern Door Children’s Center says parents should start working with their kids now to prepare for this unique school year.

School is back in session as soon as August 24th for Sevastopol students and September 1st for most everyone else. Corekin-Delamer says Northern Door Children’s Center is currently operating at 50 percent capacity with all staff and students above the age of five masking up.



Rollover accident in Egg Harbor Wednesday

Serious injuries were sustained in a one-car rollover accident near Zion Lutheran Church in Egg Harbor on Wednesday. Chief Deputy Pat McCarty says the incident, which happened on County Road V, is still under investigation and no cause has been determined. A helicopter was needed to transport the victims.


McCarty is currently conducting checks on the health of the driver, and more information is expected to be released soon.


Fairs could get assistance in aid package

Organizers of the Door and Kewaunee County Fairs could get some assistance from the upcoming coronavirus aid package being circulated in the halls of the United States Capitol.  Proposed by  Rep. Jimmy Panetta of California and Rep. Billy Long of Missouri last week, the bipartisan Agricultural Fairs Rescue Act would provide $500 million in grant funding for organizations trying to make up for the money lost because of event cancelations or cutbacks. Door County Fair President Tom Ash says they are not hurting as bad as other fair organizations are across the country, but the grants could offset some of their costs like insurance premiums and down payments for specific acts.

According to the Wisconsin Association of Fairs, 53 of the 75 events including the Door and Kewaunee County Fairs and the Wisconsin State Fair, were canceled due   to concerns surrounding COVID-19. Only 13 of them including the Brown County Fair later this month are open to the public.

Conservation fund bill signed into law

A federal program that has had a huge impact in Door and Kewaunee Counties will be fully funded for the first time since 1965 after being signed into law earlier this week. The Great American Outdoors Act will give full funding to the Land and Water Conservation Fund to address a number of projects at national parks and public lands. Since the fund was established, it has supported 48 projects in Door County to the tune of almost $4 million and 11 projects in Kewaunee County at about $280,000. Rep. Mike Gallagher, who co-sponsored the bill, says its passage is good news for the entire state.

According to Investigate West, some of the projects supported by the Land and Water Conservation Fund include improvements at all five Door County-based state parks and the acquisitions of the Little Scarboro Wildlife Area and a village park in Luxemburg.


Official Congressional Photo

Business closes after staff member infected by COVID-19

An area restaurant announced Wednesday that it was shutting down temporarily due to an employee contracting COVID-19. Joe Rouer’s Bar of Luxemburg is expected to be closed until mid-August. It was initially suspected the worker was merely exposed to the virus. On Wednesday, it was confirmed that the staffer is positive for the disease. They are urging patrons who dined there on July 30th or 31st to get tested due to exposure. HIPAA laws prevent more information from being released. reached out for further comment. Joe Rouer’s Bar has put out information online. 


Chinese seed mystery thought to be a business hoax

Mysterious seed packets have made their way to residents of all 50 states, including in Door and Kewaunee Counties. Penne Wilson, from the Door County Seed Library, says the explanation may prove to be a simple scam. She believes that Chinese businesses are engaged in a practice known as brushing. A seller places a fake order for a high-value item such as jewelry or furniture and ships out nothing, or at most something far less significant, like seeds, which they register as a sale. If it goes unnoticed, the seller has padded their total, and they will appear higher up in subsequent searches on e-commerce sites such as Amazon. Wilson says to be careful when trying to dispose of the unwanted seeds.


There have been no reports of health risks or hazards to humans from the packets.


Kewaunee County looking for polling staff

Area municipalities are generally set in regards to poll workers for next week’s primary election. COVID-19 has increased responsibilities for voting locations, though. Namely, more cleaning is necessary, and that takes additional staff for support roles, says Kewaunee County Clerk Jamie Annoye.


The extra hiring means polling sites are prepared in case an unexpected illness or absence crops up Tuesday. Annoye says county and municipal offices have been able to keep up with the flow of mail-in ballot applications. 


Photo courtesy of the Wisconsin County Clerks Association


Door County breaks 100 COVID-19 cases

Wednesday afternoon, Door County reported 101 total COVID-19 cases, an increase of three from the day prior. In Kewaunee County, the jump was more substantial. Seven new infections bring the sum to 120. Active cases for both counties are at 18. Governor Tony Evers instituted a mandatory masking order this past Saturday for all residents who are in public, indoor spaces, and unable to socially distance. It is too early to tell if that will be effective in stemming cases.







Kewaunee County


Historical Society pushing for fall repairs at Potawatomi

If the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society has their way, repairs could be completed on the observation tower at Potawatomi State Park as early as next month. The group says they have a commitment from a contractor to finish the work in ten days for as little as $250,000. That is contingent on the acceptance of the plan by the Department of Natural Resources, which is still recommending a complete tear down similar to the work down at Peninsula State Park’s Eagle Tower. President Christie MacDonald says the area already has an abundance of Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant structures.


Two state legislators have signed onto the plan to designate Potawatomi Tower a historical site. MacDonald has tried to reach out to Department of Natural Resources Secretary Preston Cole and has also petitioned Governor Tony Evers without response.


Ephraim Fire's phone lines are red hot

The month of July was a hectic one for the Ephraim Fire Department. Chief Justin MacDonald presented the numbers to the village’s Community Protection Committee on Tuesday morning.


Roughly half of those calls pertained to blazes within the village limits, with the rest concerning assistance for other area communities. Higher than average volume continues past Labor Day. MacDonald reports that EMS calls are not seeing the same trend, remaining in line with their long-term average.


Come to Door County and Leave No Trace Behind

Destination Door County says visitors are welcome to enjoy the area's natural beauty.  Just leave nothing behind except footprints.  The organization is teaming up with the Center for Outdoor Ethics “Leave No Trace” behind campaign.  The goal is to sustain healthy natural lands and forests.  Community Advocacy Manager Cambria Mueller says that starts with raising awareness of steps to take for the safety of visitors as well as preserve Door County's natural attractions.




Mueller says Door County's “Leave No Trace” effort also recommends watching for severe weather before venturing out and exercising bonfire safety.

Sturgeon Bay alley off limits

The alley behind the former Younkers location on Third Avenue is off-limits in the near term. A construction project prepping the site for its new tenant has an overhead walkway being torn down. Additionally, an abandoned tunnel that runs underneath the alley is being filled. The work will mean more than a pedestrian and traffic detour, says City Engineer Chad Shefchik.


On Fourth Avenue, where the drop boxes are now located, there is new signage marking the parking spaces immediately surrounding them as five-minute parking. Those slots are designated solely for drop-offs until the depositories can be moved back to their original location.


Boys & Girls Club's Anderson ready to lead

The new interim director of the Boys & Girls Club of Door County is bringing decades of experience to an organization facing new challenges. Eric Anderson took on the CEO-responsibilities for the Boys & Girls Club shortly before the reopening of their building operations on July 2. Anderson says the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted non-profits' way of fundraising the most.



The Boys & Girls Club recently canceled their biggest fundraiser of the year, the 11th Annual Celebrity Golf Outing, which was scheduled next week.  Anderson worked for the Boys & Girls Club in Champaign and was the CEO in Elgin, Illinois for many years going back to the mid-1990s and early 2000s. He also worked in the National Boys & Girls Club Office before starting a consulting business that works with other clubs around the country.


Sturgeon Bay seeks grant for west waterfont

The City of Sturgeon Bay could save over a quarter million dollars on projects associated with the west side waterfront development down the road.  The Sturgeon Bay Common Council approved a resolution Tuesday night to support the application of a Wisconsin Harbor Assistance Program grant.  Community Development Director Marty Olejniczak informed the council that if the grant is approved by the state, the $280,000 would free up money for other potential projects.  The municipal dock improvements in Sturgeon Bay would be consistent with the City's comprehensive plan which is in the process of being finalized.  In other business, the common council approved the increase of pay for election workers for the next two elections.  The pay was increased from $9 an hour to $15 an hour prior to the spring election because of risks associated with COVID-19.  A service agreement with the Town of Sevastopol for fire protection was also approved unanimously for another three years. 


Malzahn remembered for his dedication to Door County

Former Door County Board Chair Harvey Malzahn is being remembered for his many years of serving his community and constituents.  Malzahn passed away last Thursday at his home in Fish Creek at the age of 86.  Door County Supervisor Dan Austad, who served as vice-chair when Malzahn was board chair, says he was a good friend and a man who was always dedicated to his work.



Malzahn had served as the Town of Gibraltar chair and was on the Door County Board of Supervisors from 1972 to 1988.  According to his obituary, he also was the Door County Highway Commissioner for ten years and operated a family painting and decorating business. 


Read Harvey Malzahn's obituary  here

COVID-19 Update:  Door and Kewaunee counties see 12 new cases combined

Door and Kewaunee counties saw a significant increase in positive cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday.  Door County Public Health disclosed seven additional positive tests to bring the total to 98 with six more recoveries and 16 active cases.  Kewaunee County reported five more positive tests to show 113 total cases.  They also noted 12 active cases with three new recoveries.  You can find the updated COVID-19 report from Door and Kewaunee Counties online with this story.  The State of Wisconsin reported an increase of 728 new coronavirus cases and 12 new deaths on Tuesday.






New defense work for Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding

Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding will benefit from a $759-million contract for a U.S. Navy in-class frigate.  That project was awarded to Fincantieri Marinette Marine in April.  The Sturgeon Bay shipyard will build parts of the frigate hull and transport them to Marinette, similar to current work on the Littoral Combat Ship project.  That could be just the beginning of a long-term project. The Navy has an option for nine additional ships at a total cost of $5.5 billion.  Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding Vice President and General Manager Todd Thayse says that will mean improvements to the Sturgeon Bay yard and additional employment opportunities for those in the skilled trades.


Work on the first U.S. Navy in-class frigates is expected to start in 2021.  Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding plans to file permit requests for the shipyard modifications with the City of Sturgeon Bay this week.  Thayse says those requests are expected to go before the Sturgeon Bay City Council later this month.

Futurity keeps it in the present

It was not a Saturday night at the Kewaunee County Fair, but dozens still got to dress up to take their dairy cows for a stroll around the show ring Saturday afternoon at the fairgrounds in Luxemburg. Kewaunee County Futurity held its 13th annual show as youth and adults exhibited the dairy cows they felt showed promise years ago while donning formal wear. Futurity organizer Charlotte Handschke says even though the event had a slightly different feel to it this year, she was happy about the commitment shown by exhibitors to keep working with their animals during uncertain times.

Jauquet Holsteins took the top spot in the three-year-old and the four-plus-year-old division while Brey Cycle Farm won for best-dressed farm. 


Pictures by Aerica Bjurstrom



New command a homecoming for Quigley

The parents of Lt. Commander Eric Quigley did not have to travel far to see their son take over his first command. The Green Bay native formally took over command of the Cutter Mobile Bay during a virtual ceremony last month after transferring from the branch’s headquarters in Washington D.C.  He put his name in to serve on six other ships across the country, but Quigley is happy for the opportunity to come home.

Quigley looks forward to working with his crew and interacting with the community in the future as he celebrates his first United States Coast Guard Day in Sturgeon Bay.

Broadband proposal moves forward

A plan to expand broadband access throughout Kewaunee County took another step forward on Monday. The Kewaunee County Executive Committee unanimously approved the recommendation to approve the contract between the county and Bug Tussel Wireless. The $2.52 million project is being funded by a matching grant Kewaunee County earned from the Public Service Commission and Bug Tussel Wireless of Green Bay. The project scope includes seven towers to be built throughout the county, but it could change with amendments. Bug Tussel Wireless Chief Operating Officer Jason Wied told the committee it might make sense to build six towers and lease space for their equipment on four to five other towers.

Kewaunee County Corporation Counsel Jeff Wisnicky told that Bug Tussel is contacting property owners to purchase the land needed to build the towers. The recommendation will now go to the Kewaunee County Board for their approval on August 18th.


Picture from original plans for locating broadband towers from the Kewaunee County Executive Commitee Agenda packet



Door County boat ramps get repaired

The Door County Facilities & Parks Department has been dealing with the high water levels this summer at area boat ramps.  Director Wayne Spritka says the biggest problems have been with maintenance projects at some of the popular launching sites in the county.  He shares the recent work that has been done by the county at Murphy Park near Egg Harbor, Lily Bay Park east of Sturgeon Bay, and Sugar Creek Park near Brussels.



Door County Facilities & Parks Department maintains a total of seven boat launches.  Residents can pay a $40.00 annual fee to launch their watercraft or a daily fee of $7.00. 


(photo submitted)  


Northern Sky Theater transitions with new leadership

With a recent changing of the guard, the Northern Sky Theater in Fish Creek has been able to pivot and keep connected with their audience and volunteer base.  The professional theater organization has a new board chair, as Cyndy Stiehl steps into the leadership role succeeding Mary Seeberg.  Artistic Director Jeff Herbst says Stiehl's 23 years of experience as the vice-chair and her passion for the arts make for a seamless transition.



Herbst notes that Northern Sky Theater has been providing original content of virtual shows online which will include the premiering of  "Trunk Songs", a collection of previously unused musical material.  Northern Sky, like other Door County performing arts venues, canceled their summer and upcoming fall schedule due to the uncertainty of the pandemic.




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

The number of positive COVID-19 cases in  Door and Kewaunee counties increased over the weekend as the State of Wisconsin reported more than a 50 percent drop in new coronavirus cases from Sunday.  Door County Public Health disclosed six additional positive tests to bring the total to 91 with six more recoveries and nine active cases.  Kewaunee County reported one more positive test over the weekend but had two false positives from last Friday's report bringing the total back to 108, according to Public Health Director Cindy Kinnard.   A false positive is determined by two tests requested immediately after the initial positive that show both as negative.  The active cases were down four to ten with three more recoveries noted. The state reported 404 new cases on Monday, down from the 992 positive tests on Sunday.





Sevastopol committee in learning mode on broadband expansion

The future of expanded broadband internet is becoming a frequent topic of discussion with the Town of Sevastopol board members.  The community currently gets limited internet service via the cable TV provider.  Recently, the full town board got an assessment from Hilbert Communications on what's needed in the community to allow broadband internet access to all residents.  That topic will be on the agenda of the Tuesday, August 4th meeting of the Sevastopol Communications and Technology Committee.  Chair Jeanne Vogel says the town will be going through quite a learning experience while planning broadband expansion.



The Sevastopol Communications and Technology Committee meeting is scheduled for 2:15 PM Tuesday at the town hall on Highway 57 in Sevastopol.  Attendees will be required to wear face masks during the meeting.

Hang-ups number 1 emergency call

Often when dispatch operators in Door and Kewaunee Counties pick up the phone, there is no one there to greet them.  911 hang-ups and follow-ups  is the number one call both counties have experienced over the first half of the year. Kewaunee County is on pace to receive 1,300 such calls in 2020. Door County has experienced over 950 hang-ups so far this year, which accounts for approximately 14 percent of their call volume. Many times dialing 911 is an accident, but Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski says people need to know that those types of accidents still cause departments time and money.

Door County Emergency Management and Communications Director Daniel Kane recommends people stay on the line to explain what happened so follow-up efforts are not needed. 



One the most valuable resources we are able to provide to our communities, is the 911 Emergency phone system. It is hard to remember what it was like prior to the introduction of this dedicated line. In 2019 the Kewaunee County Dispatch Center received 2,735 calls for service through our 911 system. These calls included requests for response in matters such as rescue calls, suspicious activity, domestic altercations, fires and motor vehicle accidents. Looking at this list of incident descriptions, it is easy to see the diversity of resources which are then dispatched so as to respond effectively to each unique emergency.


Although I could spend a great deal of time and space writing about the positive outcomes and the men and women who make it all possible, I want to spend some time on a related nature of calls that we must respond to which also take up a great deal of our resources.


Since the advent of the original 911 systems decades ago, there have been calls which have come across those lines which were either accidental, where the caller realized their mistake and hung up or more concerning, calls which came in where the caller hung up because they were under threat and could not stay on the line. Both of these scenarios result in a category we call “911 hang-ups”.


As you can imagine, in either of these cases, we must ascertain the dynamics behind that hung up call as we cannot run the risk of assuming all hang ups were innocent in nature. While many were in fact a result of operator error, there have been those calls where only after following up d we determined that an assault, domestic or other violent situation was occurring.


Regardless of the dynamics behind the hang up, the process for follow up is time consuming and results in sending Officers to the given location. In the early years, this was not a big issue as these types of calls were very infrequent. In 2007 we responded to and handled 181 such calls. However in 2019 these calls totaled 906, and so far in 2020 we are at 684 which would result in a total number of 911 hang ups to reach over 1,300.


Many of these calls are avoidable by each of us being more attentive to our personal electronic devices, where a majority of these calls are originating from. Due to the sensitivity of touch screen technology along with the many technology applications which have become so popular with these devices, these false calls have become a concern.


The good news is that with a little attentiveness to your device and some helpful hints if you do in fact find yourself on the line with a Dispatcher asking “What is your emergency?” we can help reduce both the calls as well as the time associated with separating emergency calls from accidental calls.


In regards to your device, please make sure that before you slip it in your pocket or back in its case, you close out your screens and verify that none of your apps are operating in the background. If possible, store your device in a case versus your pocket as it will be better protected from misdials. Do not program 911 into your device as speed dials are a major source of 911 Hang ups. If you have recently dialed 911, please delete it from your recent call list. Please do not “Test” the 911 feature on your cell phone.


If you do find yourself on the line with one of our dispatchers due to an accidental dial, please stay on the line and provide the proper information to our Dispatcher so that we can close out the call and prevent the need to send officers to your location. If you have already hung up realizing your error, please answer when the Dispatcher calls you back. If you’re wondering how you will know it is Dispatch calling you back, the caller will show “388-4410”


We appreciate everyone’s attentiveness to this issue and I have no doubt we can decrease the number of these calls thus reducing the time and costs associated with them. Take Care & Stay Safe!


Liberty Grove looks at shoreline protection

Liberty Grove Town Chairperson John Lowry says approximately $40,000 will be needed to address a number of high water area concerns. The town board approved action to address shoreline protection for Mariners Park in Gills Rock and Wills Park in Ellison Bay, which is experiencing water-related damage similar to what has been found in other coastal communities in Door County. North Bay Road has also been flooded several times this year, and Lowry says something needs to be done to protect access to the residents’ homes.

Lowry says town administrator Bud Kalms is already looking at pricing for the rock needed for the shoreline protection efforts while the finance committee looks for ways to afford it as it expects a sharp drop in revenue this year due to the pandemic.

Planning for Kewaunee's future

Kewaunee Mayor Jason Jelinek hopes after years of waiting, the community can move forward on a number of different projects that have been in the works. The first-term mayor gave updates to the city’s community center and economic development opportunities during its most recent Committee of the Whole meeting. The community center is looking for a new location after it was determined keeping it in its current place above the Kewaunee Fire Station would be cost-prohibitive. Jelinek says people interested in building a new community center have targeted an area near Stump Pond as an option, but some other factors need to be considered including the site’s infrastructure.

He adds the city has gone out of its way to make sure developers know they are serious about redevelopment, especially when it comes to its revamped harbor and the site of the former Marquette school.


Photo courtesy of the city of Kewaunee

Election workers keep raise

Poll workers in the city of Sturgeon Bay could make more money for at least two additional elections. On the agenda for Tuesday’s Sturgeon Bay Common Council meeting is to keep paying election day workers $15.00 an hour, up from the $9.00 an hour that was previously paid. The raise was instituted prior to this spring’s election because of risks associated with COVID-19. If approved, poll workers could keep the new wage for the August 11th partisan primary and the November 3rd general election. The additional costs will be covered by federal CARES Act funding and future budgets. The Sturgeon Bay Common Council will also discuss the sale of approximately $4.37 million in general obligation promissory notes and share their thoughts on the masking ordinance when they meet on Tuesday at 7 p.m.


Photo from April 2020 Election

United Way endowments available to non-profit groups

Door County non-profit groups with innovative ideas to help meet community needs can find help through the United Way of Door County.  The organization is once again accepting applications for its $4800 endowment grant program.  Those funds can go to help groups meet basic needs such as child care, food and transportation, health care, or drug and alcohol abuse prevention. Executive Director Amy Kohnle says the funds are earmarked for new efforts that non-profits can use to aid Door County communities.




Applications for the United Way of Door County Endowment Grant program are available online here.

Groundwater study could surprise

The groundwater quality study being conducted by the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh across Door County could reveal significant changes from past evaluations. Professor Greg Kleinheinz says that the karst topography leads to shifting conditions on its own. Still, high water levels add more uncertainty to the mix, especially for wells near the shoreline.


The UW-Oshkosh study solicited participation from homeowners across the county last year, including sites from a broad geographic mix that includes northern Door County, which is most likely to be affected by the issues Kleinheinz raises.


Picture courtesy of UW Oshkosh.


Lions Club suggestions for a successful drive-thru Kermiss

This year's Kermiss at the Belgian Heritage Center in Brussels will be a drive-thru affair due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The Brussels Lions Club says it can be as successful as an in-person event.  The Lions Club held the annual Belgian Days Celebration and sold food to people who placed their orders and picked them up without leaving their vehicles.  Jim Noll, the Lions Club treasurer, says this year's fundraiser was still well attended.  Although, he recommends other groups make sure they don't underestimate attendance when preparing food.



The Belgian Heritage Center Kermiss Drive-Thru is scheduled for August 16th starting from 11:30 AM until 2:00 PM.  Information on how to pre-pay for food orders can be found by logging on to the center's website.

Fewer flights mean less accurate forecasts

Planes flying into Cherryland Airport could soon provide more than just transportation. That’s already the case for commercial air travel. Meteorologist Richard Mamrosh with the National Weather Service in Green Bay, says they’re a treasure trove of information with nearly real-time data that can be plugged directly into forecast models.


The information is received by NWS within 15 minutes from when it is first measured. United Parcel Service was the first company to include data recorders on its flights to help make sure packages weren’t slowed in winter ice storms. Soon after, Federal Express added its own system and commercial carriers like United, Delta, and others followed suit. 


Wisconsin Farm Support Program offers new round of funding

Farmers in Door and Kewaunee counties hampered by losses due to COVID-19 can get more funding through a state program.  The Wisconsin Farm Support Program is offering a second round of aid through the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection and the Department of Revenue.  The aid effort initially offered $50-million.  That provided 12,000 farmers with $3500 each.  There was still nearly $8.5-million remaining, which prompted round two.  Rich Olson, of Olson Family Farms near Sturgeon Bay, says such funding is welcome, though it can only go so far for some farmers.




Applications for Round Two of the Wisconsin Farm Support Program will be accepted from August 10-24 online here.

Mask order limits gym activities

Gyms and fitness centers stand to be impacted the most from Governor Evers’ order requiring masks to be worn indoors at public facilities. For the Door County YMCA, it means that many of the plans to return to a full slate of classes will have to be pushed back from September 1st to later in the year in favor of outdoor instruction instead. Executive Director Tom Beerntsen says strenuous cardio exercise also becomes impossible.


Beerntsen says locker rooms and the pool are still accessible, so there will be more functionality than when the Y first reopened in June. He urges members and the community to take advantage of Peterson Park.


Digital library set for an upgrade

Infosoup, a digital library serving branches in Door and Kewaunee Counties, will be getting an update for the first time in five years. The upgrade will take a couple of days to complete with the libraries expected to open up again on Monday, August 17th, after being unavailable that weekend. Door County Librarian Rebecca Buchmann says that reading lists and other account settings will not survive the transfer.


Buchmann says you should expect a more user-friendly interface that will conveniently resemble Google’s homepage, something that is familiar to most people. A link to a FAQ on the new catalog is available here.


Safe drinking water options a popular priority in Door County homes

The interest in enhancing drinking water safety remains strong in Door County homes.  That's reflected in the demand for the options to ensure drinking water is free from natural and man-made contaminants.  Nathan Haslam, Operations Manager for Culligan of Sturgeon Bay, says home-delivered water, without a contract, and proven filtration systems continue to see strong demand.


Haslam points out that drinking water concerns in Door County have long been raised because of shallow topsoil depths.  That can make well systems susceptible to groundwater contaminants.

Peninsula Preschool delays start of academic year

Friday afternoon, the Peninsula Preschool posted on Facebook that there would be a delay to the school year. A new start date has not been set, although Director Jill Harkaway hopes it comes soon. She says that parents aren’t comfortable with sending children to school yet.


The class size was already small, at just 18 students, which Harkaway suspects is related to the current health crisis. She says the primary fear is that a child picks up the disease at school and brings it home to elderly relatives such as grandparents. Harkaway expressed that school will most likely be off until Door County’s COVID activity is classified as low.


Photo courtesy of Peninsula Preschool website.


Rain best predictor of beach closures

Beach closures have been rare in 2020, but certain conditions make it more likely than others. Since Door County embraced beach monitoring with the help of a team of students from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, it has been learned that e.coli pollution comes from local sources. Egg Harbor and Ellison Bay have added natural cover to keep birds away as the bacteria is found in their droppings. Stormwater drains have had treatment facilities added to help purify their runoff, or their location shifted, so they discharge away from where recreation happens. Water Resources Management Special Advisor Madeline Magee says those efforts mean most closures only last 24 hours.


Magee says it is important to remember that swimming in natural bodies of water like Lake Michigan should be followed by a shower before beachgoers go about the rest of their day or have lunch. If you can’t shower, bring hand sanitizer with you.


Door County Public Health expanding contact tracing

With cases doubling over the past month, Public Health Director Sue Powers says Door County needs more manpower to conduct contact tracing and other efforts to keep COVID-19 contained. Powers is looking for a nurse who can empathize with those dealing with a potentially scary situation and stay on top of changing medical guidance. Powers says her current staff is working seven days a week, becoming overextended. Luckily, Door County is keeping up on reporting compared to elsewhere in the state.


The job posting can be found on the county's hiring page




Concert in the park series ends season early

The Village of Ephraim was one of the few communities in Door County to host concerts this summer, happening each Monday evening in the pavilion of Harborside Park. An already shortened season has been canceled, now scheduled to return in June of 2021. The subject was up for debate at the last Board of Trustees meeting, but it was private sponsors that called the rest of this year’s shows off, according to Administrator Brent Bristol.


If you are searching for entertainment, Sturgeon Bay has live music during its Under the Stars Night Market event each Saturday. The Village of Luxemburg and the City of Kewaunee also have weekly performances.


In-person services at NWTC available August 3rd

Northeast Wisconsin Technical College campuses including Sturgeon Bay will be open to in-person Student Services starting August 3rd.  That will include admissions staff, financial aid and academic advisors.  Those services will also be offered virtually.  Dr. Aliesha Crowe, Vice President of College Advancement, says this step is intended to help those students who are more comfortable working with staff face-to-face while also addressing public health concerns.




In-person Student Services at NWTC's Sturgeon Bay campus on 14th Avenue will be conducted at the main reception desk.  Those protocols will remain in place when classes resume August 15th.


(Northeast Wisconsin Technical College photographs)

Launching Your Kayak in Door County

With over 300 miles of shoreline, there are plenty of places to launch your kayak in Door County whether chasing smallmouth bass or just out for a fun time paddling on our beautiful Green Bay or Lake Michigan.  

I won’t have space to list all the launches, but this should get you started.  I suggest you do some exploring and take advantage of Google Maps.   One of the best and there are dozens of these up and down the peninsula, are roads that dead-end at the water.  The key to any of these launch points is making sure your vehicle is off the road when you park.  

Throughout the county, there are many public and private boat launches that if you are using a kayak trailer you can launch by just paying the fee.   I’ve used the launches in Ellison Bay and on both North Bay and Moonlight Bay.  For Sturgeon Bay, I’ve used the launch at Sunset Park, and on a couple of occasions with the kayak on my vehicle, I’ve launched off the beach.   Launching at beaches is a great place, but usually, best on weekdays or before the crowds show up on weekends.  Other good beaches to launch are Otumba Park, Murphy Park, and public beaches in most communities.  For the more secluded Rowleys Bay and Mink River, there’s a nice kayak launch next to the fishing pier.  And, as you’d expect both Potawatomi and Peninsula State Parks have kayak specific launches and plenty of parking.  

There are beautiful scenery and plenty of water birds to view when paddling from virtually any launch point in Door County.  You might even get lucky and spot an eagle soaring over the water or above the trees.   Three weeks ago, Becky and I had the thrill of hearing the haunting call and then seeing a pair of Loons on Lake Michigan just east of Sturgeon Bay.  For you smallmouth bass anglers, many of the launches I mentioned, and you will discover can put you onto some very good spots to catch and ideally release those smallies.  As you all know I love chasing smallies and the excitement level ratchets up when in your kayak.

It’s the perfect time of the year to get out in your kayak and enjoy Door County!  As always, if you have any kayak or kayak fishing questions email me at




Showcase of Homes goes virtual for 2020

The Door County Home Builders Association announced this week that the canceled in-person Showcase of Homes is going virtual.  The online video will allow participants to explore four featured Door County properties.  Executive officer Robyn Harper says the virtual tour will offer the next best thing to the in-person event and participants can even use VR goggles to enhance the experience.



The in-person 16th annual Showcase of Homes was originally scheduled for two weekends in May before being canceled due to COVID-19.  You can view the first-ever virtual Showcase of Homes with the link below.   


(photo courtesy of DCHBA)


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