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News Archives for 2020-09

Thrills on Third revamped

Destination Sturgeon Bay is making some changes to the annual Thrills on Third Halloween event to ensure that COVID-19 doesn’t bring any scares to the community. This year’s event will be missing the parade, haunted house, and other trick-or-treating staples from the schedule. Marketing and Events Director Carly Sarkis says a scavenger hunt is being designed to take their place.


Kids will have the whole month to make their way throughout town, checking off their map which locations they have visited. Once complete, the maps become entry forms when returned to Destination Sturgeon Bay, giving kids a chance at a prize drawing. The Centers for Disease Control list scavenger hunts as an approved Halloween activity. Sarkis says that the Door County Library branch in Sturgeon Bay is still discussing potential community event options.


CARES Act money could boost broadband expansion

Broadband internet expansion in Door County could get a boost from the CARES Act.  The Public Service Commission will award $5-million to broadband applications that did not receive funding early this year and are able to connect to customers by December 30th.   Door County Administrator Ken Pabich says any type of additional funding to provide consistent service is welcome.




Eight Door County broadband projects were submitted this year for broadband expansion funds.  Three received funding.

Wisconsin records highest daily COVID-19 death toll yet

As the COVID-19 numbers get worse across the state, Door and Kewaunee Counties saw stabilization. In Wisconsin, 27 COVID-19 deaths were reported by the Department of Health Services, significantly more than any day since the pandemic began. A new dashboard, available here, shows that hospitalizations jumped by 52% in Northeastern Wisconsin compared to the level two weeks ago.

In Door County, 12 new cases were announced against 11 recoveries leaving the number of active instances stable in the low 90’s compared to a high of 151 reached earlier in the week.

Kewaunee County reported 27 new cases bringing the total to exactly 600 since March. Twenty recoveries were also announced so the number of active cases is up seven to 152.




DNR touts benefits of opening private land for public use

Farmers in Door and Kewaunee counties could help themselves and the community through a state program allowing public use of their properties.  The Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program opens participating private lands for wildlife viewing, fishing, hunting, and trapping.  Entries can only be made on foot.  The program offers between one and three-year land leases and property owners have no restrictions on how they use their land. Department of Natural Resources Program Coordinator Cody Strong says such access benefits host communities at large and property owners who want to better manage their natural resources.




Door and Kewaunee counties already benefit from public access agreements for spring turkey hunting season. Interested property owners can learn more by logging on to    


Photo courtesy of Wisconsin DNR website

Kewaunee nears Salmon Harbor Marina purchase

The City of Kewaunee issued a press release Wednesday, saying it was closing in on the purchase of the Salmon Harbor Marina. Public input is welcomed, and residents are encouraged to reach out to their representatives on the issue. The land was identified as a crucial part of Kewaunee’s revitalization in the approved 2019 Harbor Master Plan. Since then, the city has been interviewing commercial entities who use the marina now about their needs and how they can be accommodated if the property came under city control.


The City of Kewaunee values the nine-acre parcel that stretches north to the Kewaunee Fabrication factory at $1.8 million. It expects another million dollars in improvements are necessary and has applied for an Economic Development Administration grant. If the entire amount was awarded, Kewaunee is responsible for 20 percent of the funding. Mayor Jason Jelinek says the goal is to turn the Salmon Harbor Marina into a recreational, as well as commercial, venture.


Kewaunee would then create a Harbor Commission to oversee a joint venture that includes the existing city marina and boat launch and the new facility. Jelinek stresses that the city hopes to continue to improve its existing infrastructure. He is looking at other options for the dock beside the pumps installed this year, as heavy rains still flood the area for around 24 hours. The boat launch and campground were shut down in the spring, which Jelinek says has turned out to be a blessing. He looks at the heights the water reached over the summer and said the damage that could have occurred if the RV park was full would have been “a mess.” Raising the elevation there is estimated to cost around $1 million.


Local political chapters react to presidential debate

Speaking with local political leaders, neither thought Tuesday’s presidential debate is likely to have swayed many undecided voters. They felt the overall flow was choppy between candidates sparring with each other and moderator Chris Wallace. Kewaunee County Democratic Party Chair Mary Ellen Dobbins says the blame for that fall with the President.


Door County Republican Chair Stephanie Soucek says she thinks it is the format of the debate itself that presents problems.


Both Dobbins and Soucek think the vice presidential debate scheduled for next week will be more collegial. Dobbins says she is particularly excited about that contest. Democratic Senator Kamala Harris was the first major candidate to drop out of the race in December when the debate stage was still incredibly crowded. Dobbins says it was hard for her to make an impression on the country as a whole during the early primary race, and this is a much better opportunity.


Night hikes complement afterschool programs at Ridges

On Fridays, the fun doesn’t stop at sunset at The Ridges Sanctuary. The organization has implemented nighttime hikes, beginning at 7:30. Program Coordinator Katie Krouse says the activities pair well with the afterschool program that The Ridges started in early September. 


Families will get the chance to help bait trees to attract moths, learn about pollinators, and track down bats, particularly appropriate as Halloween approaches. Krouse says that other options on the hikes include learning about the stars under crisp, clear skies. Environmental Interpreter Anna Olson and other staff members are leading the walks. Krouse says that touring The Ridges property at night provides a different experience from what can be seen during the midday excursions that have been a staple of the programming for years. She hopes the unique perspective will leave a lasting impression on those who take advantage of the opportunity.


Council applicants free to get creative

City of Sturgeon Bay Administrator Josh VanLieshout says that applications for alderman tend to follow a similar, introductory format, but there is no set template. 


He said that the last time a seat opened up, one candidate even made a video since he was unable to attend a meeting in person. No matter the form, all applications need to be directed to Clerk Stephanie Reinhardt at 421 Michigan Street by October 8th. 

Sturgeon Bay is divided into seven regions for its Common Council, each with set boundaries. The 2nd District is on the East Side of the city. A decision on David Hayes’ replacement is expected at the October 20th meeting.


Tips on fall plant care 

The busy gardening season is winding down, but the task of protecting and maintaining horticulture remains high into the fall season.  Larry Maas of Maas Floral & Greenhouse in Sturgeon Bay recommends that before the first frost, combo planters on decks should be brought inside.  Some plants can be saved for inside by repotting.  He offers this advice as well.



Maas adds that if you have tall plants, like Hibiscus, prune them down to fit the indoor area and spray for insects.  He notes that he does not cut back some perennials like coneflowers.  Those plants can be left intact and provide nurturing seeds to birds as well as using brown ends for fall decorations.  You can find more tips on fall plant care on the podcast page at 

County E fully open in Kewaunee County

Highway 42 south in Kewaunee County is not the only road detour-free this week.  Trunk E is back completely open after flooding this summer caused its temporary closure.  High water levels in the Kewaunee River forced the roadway from Side Road to 1st Street in Kewaunee to be closed to traffic earlier this spring.  The Kewaunee County Highway Department posted on social media Tuesday that the road has been reopened now that water levels have subsided.   Substantial rainstorms back in May forced the Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department to close a portion of County Trunk E after the river overflowed the banks.   


(photo courtesy of Kewaunee County Highway Department) 

Area COVID-19 cases continue upward swing

Door and Kewaunee counties reported 31 and 30 new cases of COVID-19, respectively on Tuesday.  The positivity rate of 70.5 percent in Door County comes from 44 test results.  Kewaunee County’s positivity rate was 25.4 percent based on 118 total tests.  Recoveries bounced up considerably with 36 in Kewaunee Count and 92 in Door County.  Active cases fell to 90 in Door County and 145 in Kewaunee County.  Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported over 2,300 new coronavirus cases in the state on Tuesday with 17 additional deaths.  That is the highest single-day death number since May 30.  




Dealing with pandemic fatigue -- Mental Health Minute

Seven months into the COVID-19 outbreak, many people are feeling the burden of pandemic fatigue says Sturgeon Bay Psychologist Dr. Dennis White.  He says developing new habits that will protect you and others during the health crisis can be hard to sustain when no end seems in sight.  Dr. White shares why it is hard for some people to continue following safe practices.



Dr. White adds there are still ways to stay safe from the pandemic, like social distancing, wearing masks, and washing hands frequently.  He notes that those measures are the right things to do when in public, but we know that we don’t have to do it in many cases.  You can listen to Dr. White’s entire Mental Health Minute below.



Status keeping Door County lodging afloat

Door County’s status as a vacation destination may be helping lodging establishments stay afloat more than others around the state. A survey done by the Wisconsin Hotel and Lodging Association shows that 47 percent of owners expect their business to disappear within the next 12 months without financial assistance. Most affected by the downturn caused by COVID-19 are areas in the state that rely on corporate travel and convention business more than others like Door County, which caters more to leisure visits. WH&LA President & CEO Bill Elliott says while everyone has struggled to rebound from the statewide shutdown earlier this year, hotels and motels in tourist spots have had their own struggles.

Elliott says nearly half of the state’s lodging property staff remains laid off or furloughed. Occupancy rates have been in down in Door County since the pandemic started to show up in late February, but was off only two percent in July according to the Door County Tourism Zone.


Photo from LinkedIn

Sub shortage leading to virtual instruction

It is not exactly the "how many" positive cases and quarantined people that is forcing school districts like Southern Door to send entire grades into virtual instruction, but rather "the who." As of last Friday, Southern Door School District had seven students and one staff member currently test positive for COVID-19, sending 146 people to quarantine. The lack of available staff members  is why the third grade went to virtual instruction on Friday and, after some positive tests crept into the picture, why fifth grade followed suit soon after. Superintendent Patti Vickman says the countywide substitute teacher shortage is one of the reasons why the two grades have had to stay at home.

One kindergarten and one first grade class have already gone to virtual learning this school year, but are set to return to in-person instruction this week. Vickman says the district recently raised its wages for substitute teachers to be more competitive in the marketplace for their services.

Powers explains contact tracing decision

Door County Public Health Director Sue Powers hopes the entire community can work together when it comes to protecting each other from COVID-19. Powers joined Door County Medical Center Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jim Heise shortly after the department announced it would no longer be calling those individuals who are close contacts to a positive case. Powers said many of the positive cases came from large gatherings, places of work, and schools. The county has reached out to the state contact tracing team for assistance to reach out to people with positive test results, but they are also behind in their work as well. The department is instead asking for those testing positive to reach out to their close contacts and have already enlisted the help of the schools to do the same for students. Powers says it will eliminate some time that could be spent on other issues.

Heise shared some of the trends they have noticed at the hospital regarding COVID-19, which includes three people being hospitalized for their symptoms over the weekend after months of not having one. The largest percentage of COVID-positive patients is between the ages of 31-59, followed by those 60 years of age and older. The full video is below.



Pribeks named to 4-H Hall of Fame

Joe and Linda Pribek are set to become Kewaunee County’s second and third inductees into the Wisconsin 4-H Hall of Fame. The Pribeks are known for their involvement with horses, having served on project committees on the county, regional, and state levels.  For over 40 years they have been involved with 4-H when they decided to become leaders after their kids joined the organization. Linda reflected on why she enjoys 4-H so much, which even includes a story about youth members taking care of her horses and decorating the barn for Christmas when she and Joe were laid up in their house with injuries. As much as she has helped 4-H over the years, Linda says the organization has given back to her so much more.

The Pribeks will be formally honored during next week’s virtual National 4-H Week celebration on October 6th. The couple joins Eugene Erichsen as the only other Wisconsin 4-H Hall of Fame laureates from Kewaunee County.


You can listen to the full conversation on our podcasts page


Picture provided by Jill Jorgensen

Pets need flea and tick protection through the fall

Pet owners should be aware that their furry friends still need protection from certain insects in the outdoors in the fall.  Dr. Jordan Kobilca from the Door County Veterinary Hospital and Luxemburg Pet Clinic recommends protecting your dog year-around for heartworm prevention and to get flea and tick protection through the late fall.  He shares advice on keeping your pet safe before and after leaving the house.



Dr. Jordan adds that staying on flea and tick prevention until the first full frost is the best way to help your pets covered from the harmful effects of the insects.  Common signs of flea and tick presence on your pet can include excessive scratching, biting or licking at the skin, hair loss, scabs, and pale gums.  You can find more information on flea and tick prevention below.


Flea and Tick Protection for your pet    

LWV Door County shares tips on spotting political misinformation

A local organization is getting the word out on what you need to know about misinformation on the internet.  The League of Women Voters Door County and Wisconsin is warning people of the fake news that may pop up and be shared on social media as we approach the general election in November.  Pat Scieszinski, the new chair of League of Women Voters Door County, says besides misinformation, another serious problem is disinformation where people are spreading false news to purposely cause harm.   She notes that you should always consider the source.



Scieszinski recommends looking past the headline of a social media post and read the entire article to get the whole story.  Emotionally-charged content should be questioned since disinformation is intended to sow divisions by angering or saddening us through pictures and memes.  Scieszinski adds that you should not click or share bad information and to block and report inaccurate posts you find on social media.  



Area COVID-19 cases continue to surge; Door and Kewaunee County has 151 active cases each

Kewaunee County reported a spike of 47 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday since last Friday.  The positivity rate showed to be at 64.4 percent with active cases up to 151 and 36 new recoveries were noted.  Public Health Official Cindy Kinnard reported four hospitalizations from Kewaunee County.  Door County Public Health reported 35 more positive tests with an 83.3 percent positivity rate.  Active cases are at 151 in Door County with  COVID-19.   The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reports the positivity rate at 21.9 percent in the state on Monday with over 1700 new cases of the coronavirus and two additional deaths. 



Door County unable to keep up with contact tracing

Due to the significant uncontrolled spread of COVID-19 in Door County, Public Health will not be handling contact tracing going forward. In a release sent out on Monday, Public Health Manager Sue Powers stated that because of the exponential growth of cases in the past few weeks, contact tracing capacity is significantly strained.  Asking for help from the community, Door County is asking people to remain isolated as their test results are taking up to five to seven days.  Individuals are then asked to contact anyone that they have had close contact with.  Powers could not be reached for comment as of Monday evening.  Below is the Door County Public Health news release. 





Fair Maps commission meets Thursday

Though he will not sit on the commission, Democratic state Senator Dave Hansen is happy to see his seven-year battle get a hearing. Governor Tony Evers created the commission earlier this year to address redistricting in the state, which made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2019. The People’s Maps Commission will hold its first public hearing virtually on October 1st, the first of eight such events for people to discuss how legislative maps are drawn in the future. Recommendations could lead to a non-partisan review board to draw the maps for the legislature to approve. Opponents to the change say drawing district lines should be left to the legislature. Hansen says now is the time to let the legislature know where they stand on the issue.



Residents in counties like Door and Brown will have an additional opportunity to voice their thoughts on redistricting reform. Both counties have a referendum question on their ballot about whether or not a non-partisan review board should be used for drawing the maps, a process already being used in Iowa.  We will highlight the thoughts of Rep. Joel Kitchens and his Democratic opponent Kim Delorit Jensen on the topic on Friday.


Backpacks helping Gibraltar students get by

Despite not being in the classroom yet this year, students at Gibraltar Area Schools are still getting plenty of use out of a backpack. The district implemented the program this fall to address the concerns many parents had about the quality of instruction their students were receiving. Not even hot spots checked out by families were able to solve all of the area’s poor Internet issues. The district-issued backpack provides an extra layer of support for students with the assignments and other materials already packed away for the week. Superintendent Tina Van Meer says that could involve lectures in the future.

Backpacks are dropped off on Fridays with new materials and are picked up on Mondays filled with completed assignments. Van Meer has already notified parents and students that classes will remain virtual until at least October 7th due to the influx of cases. Gibraltar students need the number of new cases to be below 28 for the week in order to return to the classroom.


Picture courtesy of Gibraltar Area Schools

Trial by error approach to cover crops

Cover crop planting by farmers in Door and Kewaunee Counties reads like a grocery list with some of the same goals in mind. Deer Run Dairy owner Duane Ducat has been experimenting with different cover crops over the years to reduce the amount of tillage in their fields and fostering healthier soils. One approach is planting multiple species of cover crops together in one field in preparation for a new crop going in or one on the way out. After planting about four different species of cover crops into his alfalfa field this year, Ducat says it will be interesting to see the effect they have on each other.

He adds that planting multiple species of cover crops in the same field allows them to see how the different root structures hold the soils and how the plants themselves correct other issues. Deer Run Dairy is hosting this month’s Conservation Conversation on Tuesday at 6 p.m.

Washington Island businesses hopes to keep momentum

A Washington Island business owner believes the town will see a long-lasting positive impact of COVID-19. Despite virus concerns, businesses like Joel Gunnlaugsson’s motel are flourishing again this year on the island. The biggest difference according to Gunnlaugsson has been the type of people that have been coming to the island. The usual visitors to Washington Island have taken the year off and in their place have been new, younger couples and people from nearby states and parts of Wisconsin. Even without the events, Washington Island has also been kept busy because Rock Island State Park was closed this year, leaving people to experience outdoor activities locally. Gunnlaugsson says this could spell good news for island businesses and the rest of the peninsula for years to come.

One other trend he did notice this year was the visits were more transient, which means people either spent just the day on the island or stayed in hotels for shorter periods of time. Room tax collections for the island for January through July are off about 30 percent according to the Door County Tourism Zone. Door County Administrator Ken Pabich told earlier this month that sales tax numbers were actually up in 2020 compared to 2019 thanks to a strong start before the pandemic hit.


Picture courtesy of Door County

Steps in place to secure absentee balloting

Voters in Door and Kewaunee counties can cast their in-person absentee ballots without concern. That's due to security precautions now in place to protect indoor and outdoor ballot boxes.  The City of Sturgeon Bay has an outdoor bin where voters can drop off ballots at their convenience, without concerns of contracting COVID-19.  City Clerk-Treasurer Stephanie Reinhardt says the bin is fixed in place with seals over two slots and some high-tech monitoring.




The City of Kewaunee already had a secure drop-off point at city hall, well before the pandemic concerns.  City Clerk Terr Decur says it now offers convenience and security for voters.




Decur says the drop-off slot system has worked so well it will likely be used for future absentee balloting.  The Wisconsin Elections Commission has policies in place for all communities to ensure they can offer secure and convenient voting.


Photo of Kewaunee clerk Terri Decur.

No change in mass attendance for Stella Maris

The Archdiocese of Green Bay reinstated the obligation to attend mass with last week’s services, but there has yet to be a bump from that proclamation at local parishes. Laurie Orthober of the Stella Maris Parish Office says no mass hit its attendance threshold. The parish has been allowed to relax its 25 percent capacity limit but is still enforcing social distancing, which produces a similar result due to the size of the churches involved. Orthober thinks that, after six months, those who place high importance on their faith had already found a way to attend in person already.

Stella Maris conducts a daily mass rotating between all of its locations. Still, Sunday service is only available at Fish Creek and Sister Bay along with Washington Island in the afternoon. Orthober says that it is less than what has been done in past years.


*Staff photo courtesy of the parish's website.


Sturgeon Bay to consider proposals for City Attorney services

Sturgeon Bay City Council members will consider whether to retain or change the current appointed City Attorney.  The Committee of the Whole will meet Monday to discuss whether to seek requests for proposals from law firms to handle Sturgeon Bay's legal matters.  James Kalny of Green Bay currently acts as City Attorney.  Mayor David Ward says many council members were not serving when the previous contract was negotiated.  He says considering other proposals is designed to look for cost savings for legal services.




The Sturgeon Bay Committee of the Whole meets at 4:00 PM Monday, September 27th at City Hall on Michigan Street.

Property taxes due this week

The second installment of property tax payments is finally coming due, following a rare extension granted to help homeowners as they weather the COVID-19 pandemic. All Door County municipalities pushed the deadline to Thursday, October 1st. Treasurer Jay Zahn says not everyone uses the installment plan. Many residents like to take care of their balance before the end of the year for tax purposes, and others elect to make a single payment in January. For those that do, though, July 31st is the traditional cutoff date. Usually, if a homeowner misses the second deadline, interest is assessed at 1.5 percent from February. Penalties are not retroactive this year, says Zahn.


Taxes paid by mail must be postmarked no later than October 1st to be considered on time. Payments can be dropped off at the Government Center in Sturgeon Bay during normal business hours, or a dropbox can be accessed from 5th Avenue when the office is closed. Fees are assessed for processing credit or debit cards and electronic checks.


Sites sought for Adopt a Kiosk/Dumpster to track CWD

The Department of Natural Resources is looking for more sites in Door and Kewaunee counties to better track Chronic Wasting Disease.  The DNR this week unveiled the second Adopt a Kiosk or Adopt a Dumpster program.  Both options enable hunters to drop off deer heads rather than leave them near the location they were taken.  DNR Wildlife Biologist Josh Martinez says the agency hopes to collect 300 samples from each county to test, track, and develop a CWD action plan.



More information about the DNR's CWD Adopt a Kiosk or Adopt a dumpster program is available at

Crossroads kicks off Cove ecological restoration

Crossroads at Big Creek celebrated National Public Lands Day on September 26th with an open house, giving a glimpse into its four-year plan to help restore the portion of its property known as The Cove. Located at Utah Street and South 20th Place, the parcel was initially set to be filled in for a residential subdivision before Crossroads purchased it. Previously, work had been done to pull out invasive species and create a new gravel path. Artificial swales and mounds were built to simulate the area’s natural topography. Saturday, a dozen workers from the Cream City Conservation Corps helped plant 200 trees and shrubs that should help to create a multi-tiered canopy favorable to several different bird species that use Crossroads as a stopover during migration. August Ball from the CCCC says her group works for environmental and diversity causes.


Interim Director Laurel Hauser says the work is not going to yield immediate results.


A map with a description of Crossroads’ plans for The Cove is below.



Sturgeon Bay readies for leaf pickup

Sturgeon Bay Municipal Services Director Mike Barker expects staff to be busy soon with leaf pickup. Heavy rains in September are not conducive to good fall color, so last year’s season got off to a late start. Because of the variability, the city doesn’t have a set date for the first collection, says Barker.


He says Sturgeon Bay will provide regular updates to the pickup schedule on its Facebook page. The city is divided into regions, and the goal is to cycle through each area three times. That requires cooperation from Mother Nature in a delayed first snowfall. Last year, the powder began flying early, which kept municipal workers from meeting their objective. Barker says that so many leaves were missed, Sturgeon Bay did a rare spring leaf collection to help keep streets tidy. 


Area state parks see increased weekend day visitors

State parks in Door County are hosting large numbers of weekend visitors.  Both Potawatomi State Park near Sturgeon Bay and White Fish Dunes State Park near Jacksonport have seen day increased day pass sales during the past two weekends. Park Superintendent Erin Brown-Stender credits that to ideal fall weather conditions and people's desire to get outdoors for a respite from COVID-19 restrictions. She also believes that trend is aided by strong summer momentum.




Brown-Stender expects weekend visitors to continue flocking to both parks as long as clear and mild weather conditions persist.

Two more restaurants adjust operations due to COVID-19

Two more popular dining destinations are at least partially closing their operations due to a positive COVID-19 test on their staff. Scaturo's Baking Company in Sturgeon Bay announced the decision Saturday afternoon after one of their employees received a positive test from a rapid response test. According to their post, the employee had no contact with the front of the restaurant or their customers, but will close down to receive guidance from the Door County Public Health Department.


Husby's in Sister Bay had a positive test on their staff but they will only close the inside of their establishment for the time being. While other staff members get tested, Husby's will offer carry out and their outside bars will remain open.


A handful of other restaurants closed down earlier this week due to positive tests.

Dorr Hotel on track to open in 2021

Construction work on the Dorr Hotel project in Sister Bay has now passed the half-way point and is on track to open next year.  Village Administrator Beau Bernhoft recently toured the worksite.  He says the 47-room hotel is approaching a finished look on the outside due in part to a cooperative summer construction effort.




The Dorr Hotel is scheduled to open in the spring of 2021 and reservations are now being accepted.


*Photo courtesy of Engaging Local Government Leaders website.

Boys and Girls Club reopening delayed a week

Interim Director Eric Anderson says recent deliberations to push back the reopening of the Boys and Girls Club of Door County until October 5th represented a tough decision. In the end, he chose to err on the side of caution as COVID-19 activity spikes across the area. In communications with the organization’s Board of Directors, Anderson said he wrestled with the issue for several days. The Boys and Girls Club offered summer programs, and Anderson says it is incredible the range of emotions being felt by kids as they attempt to process the pandemic.


Other factors in the decision include the need for additional staff, which can be difficult to find until the end of the tourism season. More hires will help the Boys and Girls Club operate similarly to its summer program in the future. Anderson says he was nervous about kids being able to wear masks from 7:30 AM until 5 PM, but they became better at it than many adults. Extra sanitizing and moving activities outdoors were also used. Anderson credits the decision to go to pods the most in avoiding any COVID-19 cases through July and August. Reducing the amount of intermingling by children at the center means that a positive case, if it were to happen, would only force a quarantine situation for a portion of the kids, rather than all participants. 




Friends of Crescent Beach improve Algoma waterfront

The retention ponds are going in at nearby Basin Beach to divert stormwater runoff thanks to a splashy project being completed by the City of Algoma, but the Friends of Crescent Beach are still finding a way to make their mark. The group was helped out by 40 eighth grade students earlier this month, picking up over 1,000 pieces of litter and pulling out invasive plants. Cathy Pabich says there is more to come next month.


The Friends group assisted in securing funding for the retention pond project and is looking forward to seeing how it improves Crescent Beach for next summer. Removing the drain from the northern end of the beach will increase the amount of space for people to gather on the waterfront, something that is in short supply with record-high water levels.


Photo courtesy of Lakeshore Natural Resource Partnership website


Hardy Gallery not concerned with high water

Hardy Gallery Executive Director Sarah Zamecnik says maintaining operations during the COVID-19 pandemic has the site more concerned than potential flooding. The Anderson Dock in Ephraim and its tenant, the Hardy Gallery, rises just above the bay, threatened by record high water levels. It just wrapped up a half-season, finishing about a month early compared to a typical year after starting up in July. A fifteen week slate from May to October is standard. The gallery was closed on Tuesday and Thursday, a marked difference from the regular seven-day-a-week schedule. Zamecnik says she thinks the reduced hours (noon to 5:00 PM) worked well, which may become a staple in the future. Zamecnik says the organization was able to keep patrons safely distanced from each other while filling the public’s “need for something to do.”

During the offseason, the gallery is empty. Gone are the pieces displayed from the juried show and the organization's collection, reducing the effects of potential flooding. Zamecnik says that high water acts as a draw. It brings people down to the dock, and the graffiti on the outside of the structure lures them inside. Zamecnik says that even in a tense election year, very few messages are political, and none have been vulgar as far as she has noticed. She concedes the Village of Ephraim would probably prefer just a signature with a brush and paint, but the spray can tradition has taken hold instead.


ATV usage approved on portions of two county roads

At Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, officials approved two stretches of county roads for ATV/UTV use. Each route would be used to connect existing trails. The full discussion took about 20 minutes and was wide-ranging. It is policy for the board to vote on every request from area municipalities to grant access to off-road vehicles on streets maintained at the county level. This week’s meeting focused on County Road F from A to West Meadow Road in the Town of Gibraltar, located between Fish Creek and the Mud Lake State Wildlife Area, as well as County Road C from Rileys Bay Road to Gravel Pit Road in Gardner, just south of Little Sturgeon Bay.

Before the issue reaches the board, requests must pass out of the Highway and Airport Committee. Supervisors asked that Highway provide information on how each member voted and any pertinent details specific to the items when seeking approval in the future. Counsel Grant Thomas was asked whether the Door County could face any potential liability if it said yes to the motion. He said it’s possible, but the bar is exceptionally high.


The measure passed overwhelmingly. 



County Road F in Gibraltar



County Road C in Gardner


Door County YMCA starting weekend meals program

Taking a page from its popular summer meals program, the Door County YMCA will be distributing lunches to students in the area for the month of October. Everyone is eligible, and it is not restricted to just the county, but distributions will only happen at the Sturgeon Bay and Fish Creek locations. That compares to as many as nine sites during the summer, including the City of Algoma. Food will be available all five weekends in October, and there is not a limit to how many times a child can utilize the service. Annual Campaign Director Alyssa Dantoin says the program is available to a select number of adults as well.


Registration occurs at the Door County YMCA’s webpage or by phone each week until noon Wednesday. The meals can be picked up that Friday and feature similar offerings to what is available over the summer. Two lunches and two snacks consist of wraps, sandwiches, subs, even tacos. The program was made possible with a $10,000 grant from the Y’s national organization.




Henriksen Fisheries appeals for more generous quota

Charlie Henriksen says that research conducted by the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and the Wisconsin Commercial Fisheries Association shows a boom in the whitefish population in a local waterway. Henriksen says whitefish are proving uniquely adaptable to changes in the ecosystem of the Bay of Green Bay. They are appearing in shallow rivers at the head of the bay once thought much too warm for them.


The composition study, which points to a surplus of upwards of one million pounds of whitefish that could be sustainably harvested each year, was funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Sea Grant program. It is a long process in appealing to the Department of Natural Resources to raise their quota. Henriksen says the Commercial Fisheries Association has proposed a compromise until their study can be validated, upping the whitefish harvest by 200,000 pounds next year split between commercial and sport fisheries.

Henriksen is thankful to the graduate student monitors who have aided their research. He says finding those willing to put in hard work was more difficult than obtaining the funding. Henriksen thinks the students have learned from the crew, and the fishermen have picked up a new perspective from their academic counterparts. In the end, he hopes that has created an accurate picture of conditions locally. By comparison, the research shows no surplus with harvest rates on Lake Michigan equal to what is sustainable.


*Photo courtesy of Henriksen Fisheries Facebook page. 


Luxemburg rethinking Halloween plans

Last week, the Village of Luxemburg announced its plans for community trick or treating, but recent COVID-19 trends and new Centers for Disease Control guidance may force some changes. President Jack Seidl says that the village had been in discussions with the Kewaunee County Public Health Department before setting hours for 2-4 pm on Sunday, November 1st. Even with approval from an outside organization, Seidl says he remains nervous about the event. He wishes the village could have waited for the latest information, but the schedule turns to more serious matters this time of year due to the fiscal calendar.


Luxemburg tends to take its cue from the Village of Casco on the date for Halloween celebrations as the two municipalities collaborate for the holiday since they share a school district. The CDC recommended against any kind of trick or treating unless it could be done without going door-to-door. Parking lot handouts done from vehicle trunks, which have grown in popularity in recent years, are also forbidden. For adults, crowded parties and haunted houses are considered risky.


Help of Door County awarding "Anne Kok Social Justice Award"

A local organization will be presenting a special award in October to remember one of their own.  Help of Door County will be presenting the Anne Kok Social Justice Award to Jennifer Moeller next month.  Kok is a former executive director and board member of Help who passed away in 2008 as a result of a tragic accident.  Since then, a community member has been recognized annually for social justice advocacy.  Help of Door County Executive Director Milly Gonzales shares the impact Moeller has made in the community.



Gonzales received the award two years ago while she was the Domestic Violence Coordinator at Help.  Last year’s recipients were Bob and Connie Erickson of Egg Harbor.

Food pantries looking for volunteers

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted many non-profit organizations in the area including food pantries when it comes to recruiting volunteers.  Feed & Clothe My People of Door County has been able to keep up with the demand for donations to this point, but they have lost a few volunteers recently over health concerns.  Estella Huff, executive director, says during the days of operation nine volunteers are needed at any given time.  She says even if volunteers can help out a couple of hours a day that would make a difference. The pantry supply is good now, but that can change quickly.



Huff says the volunteer hours needed to fill are on Tuesdays for the food pantry and Friday’s for the donation-intake area.  Feed and Clothe My People of Door County is open for donation drop-offs on weekdays, except Wednesdays, at the back of the North 14th Avenue location. 

Tassoul receives Emergency Response Hero Award

A Sturgeon Bay police officer recently received special recognition from the American Red Cross for his efforts in saving a disabled individual earlier this year.  Sergeant Markus Tassoul was awarded the 2020 Emergency Response Hero Award by the American Red Cross of Wisconsin.  Tassoul says he is humbled by the award that he calls a team effort.



Tassoul responded to an apartment fire back in February and rescued a disabled resident that was still inside the burning building.   A seven-year veteran of the Sturgeon Bay Police Department, Tassoul, a 2004 Southern Door High School graduate, became a police officer in 2009 after earning a criminal justice degree from U.W.-Oshkosh. You can find out more about Sgt. Tassoul’s heroic story and the First-Ever American Red Cross Heroes Classic the link below. 


(photo courtesy of Sturgeon Bay Police Department)



Area COVID-19 spike continues

The surge of positive tests for COVID-19 continued in Door and Kewaunee counties on Friday.  Door County reported 22 more cases with 17 new recoveries.  Active cases stand now at 121 with the positivity rate being 20.6 percent.  Kewaunee County added 35 more coronavirus cases with 23 new recoveries.  Active cases went up 12 to 140 in Kewaunee County with a positivity rate of 31.5 percent.   Positive COVID-19 test counts have risen drastically since the beginning of the month, growing from 188 to 496 in Kewaunee County and 134 to 311 in Door County.  The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported over 2,500 confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Friday.  That was only 29 short of the record high last Friday. 




Tech intrusions leading to criminal activity

Just like how you are supposed to lock your doors and secure your valuables in the real world, Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski is asking residents to do the same in cyberspace. The coronavirus has transitioned many people to do many of their daily tasks from the comfort of their homes. However, reports people are also now three times more likely to click on pandemic-related phishing scams and more than 40 percent of remote desktops are unsecured. The Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department has seen its fair share technology-based scams occur in 2020, a number that has continued to grow over the years. Joski says technology users cannot be lured into a false sense of security.

Joski suggests people connect with care, protect your passwords, and always back up your files. Infosecurity Magazine suggests that cyber-criminals cost the global economy $2.9 million every second in 2018.



As an eternal optimist, I try to look for the good in every situation. Having been in law enforcement for over two decades, this trait has been tested over and over again, but I remain optimistic. Such is the case with this current virus, where there is in fact many things to be grateful for and remain optimistic about. Any of us who have had to continue marching forward so that our work is able to be conducted have become very familiar with virtual meetings, virtual discussions, and for our children virtual classes. It leads me to wonder what we would have done just a few years ago if this same virus had come about, we would be frozen in our tracks. So as I have repeated over and over again to my youngest son transitioning to virtual classes; It Could Be Worse!


      Now I am not saying that all of these virtual options are perfect nor do I think they are even healthy in regards to what should be interpersonal contacts, but we work with what we are given and we march on. There is a lesson in resiliency to all of this, but that is a topic for another article. This week I just want to focus on our use of technology in this environment and some basic rules that we should be mindful of as we rely more and more on our technology.


     We have seen our lives transformed for better or worse by the saturation of electronic devices in our work places, homes, cars, and in many cases on our persons every waking moment. When used for good the advantages are endless, however when implemented as tools of criminal activity, the damage can be devastating.


     Just as we guard ourselves against physical intrusion into our homes, we must also guard against technological intrusions into our lives. We have been taught to lock our doors, secure our valuables, and otherwise take measures which put a barrier between us and the criminal element, but do we carry this same sense of awareness into our “Cyber Environment”


    The first step is to keep security software current. This protects us against viruses, malware, and other online threats. Similar to this, also keep up with software updates as many of these updates automatically update and defend against known risks. This isn’t just for the standard home computer, but also for all other electronic devices which can be susceptible to these threats.


Protect your personal information. Make sure you secure your accounts with strong passwords which do lend themselves to possible compromise. Use both upper case and lower case, along with various numbers and characters. (Just make sure you write down the password and put it somewhere safe)


Connect with care. When in doubt, throw it out. This includes links, tweets, posts, and other online advertising that you do not recognize. These are often used as tools to compromise your computer. Understand your own WI-FI (Wireless Server), and who or what may be able to access it from the outside.


Be Web Wise. Keep pace with new ways to stay safe online. Check trusted websites for the latest information and share with friends, family, and co-workers so that they too stay web wise. Think before you act. Be wary of communications that demands quick response, immediate action or personal information. Always back up files of photos, documents, or music.


Be a good online citizen. By keeping yourself safe you are keeping those you are connected with safe.


Help authorities fight cyber crime. Report stolen finances or identities to the internet Crime Complaint Center ( as well as contacting your local law enforcement agency.




Assembly candidates weigh in on water concerns

Representative Joel Kitchens and his Democratic opponent Kim Delorit Jensen both know a lot can be learned from the Total Daily Maximum Load study taking place in northeast Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is conducting the TMDL study on a number of waterways in the area, including the Ahnapee, Kewaunee, East Twin, and West Twin Rivers to get a gauge on the maximum amount of a pollutant allowed to enter and still meet quality standards. The four waterways were all on the 2018 impaired waterways list. Both agree farmers play a role in changing the narrative. Kitchens says the information learned from the study can give farmers ideas of what to do next.

Jensen says activists and government leaders need to come together and have a conversation on how to move forward.

The Wisconsin DNR hosted its fourth and final webinar on the current progress of the TMDL study on Thursday. You can listen to the full interviews with Kitchens and Jensen on our Podcasts page at

COVID wrecking dinner plans

Several restaurants throughout Door and Kewaunee Counties are blaming the coronavirus for shutting down their establishments for at least a few days if not the rest of the year. Chop in Sister Bay and Donny’s Glidden Lodge in Sturgeon Bay are closed until at least October due to positive tests on their staff.  



MacReady’s Artisan Bread Company in Egg Harbor cited the rising cases for its decision to close for the weekend. Northern Grill, Analog, and Grasse’s Grill in Sister Bay have been open during the fall months in the past, but all three closed their doors for the season just after Labor Day, thanking customers for their support during the pandemic-riddled season on social media.



In Kewaunee County, some restaurants like The Grove in Kewaunee switched to carry-out only for a period of time while it evaluates sanitation procedures and other steps to mitigate the spread of the virus.

Positive COVID-19 test counts have gone up drastically since the beginning of the month, growing from 188 to 461 in Kewaunee County and 134 to 298 in Door County as of Friday morning.

New Eagle Tower taking shape

The work has begun on the new Eagle Tower structure at Peninsula State Park in Fish Creek.  Crews started construction on the wooden framework for the ramp that leads to the tower last month and began on erecting the 60-foot tower on Wednesday.  Friends of Peninsula State Park contributed $750,000 toward the $3.4 million Eagle Tower Project.  Business Manager Steve Strucely shares the next step in the tower project.  


The old Eagle Tower was taken down in 2016 after studies by the Wisconsin DNR determined that it was unsafe.  The new tower and walkway are expected to be open for the spring of 2021, according to Strucely. 



Photo credit: Chris Holicek


Sturgeon Bay hosts blood drive Friday

Students at Sturgeon Bay High School are helping with a life-saving event on Friday.  HOSA (Future Health Professionals) is teaming up with the Community Blood Center to host a blood drive at the high school.  Many areas have reported a severe shortage of blood donations brought on by the pandemic.  School advisor Natalie Townsend says that three lives can be saved from just one blood donation.  She notes the student will be helping with the set-up for the blood drive.



The blood drive will take place in the multi-purpose room at Sturgeon Bay High School from 8 am until 2:30 pm.  Donors can register online as openings still remain.  An additional benefit to donating blood is that the testing for COVID-19 anti-bodies will be done as well.  Townsend adds that this is the first of four blood drives the HOSA club will host this school year.  


Small groups allowed back at Tanum Forest

Drive-in and Facebook services will remain for now at Tanum Forest Lutheran Church in Sturgeon Bay, but Pastor Peter Mannoja believes some people need a little bit more. Like many churches, Tanum Forest shut its doors back in March due to the pandemic and has kept them closed for safety purposes. They recently reopened for small groups under 10 for its grief and divorce care support groups. By providing socially distanced space in its fellowship hall, checking symptoms at the door, and requiring masks, Mannoja feels they can reach out to those who have been hurting for the last six months.

You can reach out to Tanum Forest Lutheran Church to join one of the support groups. Mannoja is happy with what they can offer now despite the unknown in the future and that his traditional Lutheran church is okay with the changes that have been forced to be made. The church council will decide in the future when it is safe to welcome people back inside for services.

Henry ready to lead Sturgeon Bay Police force

Lt. Clint Henry worked 24 years in law enforcement for the opportunity to become the new chief of police for Sturgeon Bay.  The 15-year veteran of the Sturgeon Bay Police Department was selected by the Sturgeon Bay Police and Fire Commission last Friday to take over for Arleigh Porter who is retiring on October 2.  Henry says he looks forward to the opportunity and continuing his involvement with the community. 



Henry was born and raised in Sturgeon Bay having graduated from Sturgeon Bay High School in 1992.  Working two years as a Park Ranger for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Henry became a police officer for the Marshfield Police Department, before coming back to Sturgeon Bay in 2005, Henry was also a drug investigator.  He joined the Sturgeon Bay Police Department in 2005 as a sergeant and was promoted to Lieutenant in 2011.  You can listen to the entire interview with the future Sturgeon Bay police chief on the podcast page at    


How to aid a Forestville family displaced by fire

Efforts are underway to help a Forestville family that lost their home to fire on Tuesday.  Joey and Tracy Starr, their 15-year-old son and 11-year-old daughter were away from their house on Maplewood Road when the fire was discovered by a farm worker hauling silage.  The home, two dogs and three cats were lost to the fire.   The Starrs are temporarily living in another building on their property. Rachel Lustila, a family relative, has established a “Go Fund Me” page to help them rebuild.  She says neighbors have also helped and the family needs clothing.



Donations are being accepted at the Starr House Fire Recovery page at



(photos submitted, photo of Starr family include son Logan, 15 and daughter Haily, 11)



Starr's family dogs.  The two yellow dogs did not survive.


Please help out if you can and share this post! Anything is greatly appreciated ??

Posted by Rachel Lustila on Wednesday, September 23, 2020


Cases of COVID-19 continue to rise in area

The surge of positive tests for COVID-19 continued in Door and Kewaunee counties on Thursday.  Door County reported nine more cases with one new recovery.   Active cases are up to 124 with the positivity rate being 11.8 percent.  Kewaunee County added 24 more coronavirus cases with 20 new recoveries.  Active cases went up four to 128 in Kewaunee County with a positivity rate of 16.9 percent.  On Thursday Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported over 2,300 coronavirus cases and six more deaths.   The Centers for Disease Control disclosed that Wisconsin currently has the fourth-highest number of new COVID-19 cases in the country.



Names released from weekend Gibraltar crash

The Door County Sheriff’s Department released the names Thursday of the drivers involved in a two-vehicle crash that killed a woman in the town of Gibraltar. On Saturday afternoon, 82-year-old Fern Hacker of Chicago rear-ended a sports utility vehicle driven by 33-year-old Megan Pues of Hortonville while she waited to make the turn off of State Highway 42. Hacker was airlifted to a Green Bay hospital after being taken to Door County Medical Center where she later died. The autopsy revealed she died as a result of her injuries. There is no other information being released at this time, including the status of Hacker’s passenger who was also injured in the crash. Pues and her passenger were not injured in the incident.


Click here to read the original story from Tuesday



Southern Door taking year in stride

Southern Door School District is doing what it can to keep its school year on track despite having five students test positive for COVID-19 earlier this week. The district, like others in the county, has taken a more proactive role in contact tracing by looking at class schedules and seating assignments on buses. Inside the building, the district has plexiglass in the classrooms and Vickman says the students and staff have been great about wearing masks and social distancing from each other.  The district’s Fly Like an Eagle Reopening Plan also requires students and staff to do a self-symptom check before they ever come to the building. Vickman commended the students for taking these changes seriously so the schools can remain open.

The district is doing synchronous learning, allowing remote students to tune into the same lessons their peers are seeing in-person. Vickman added that preparations are underway for next week’s homecoming with the necessary precautions.

Volunteer fire departments push for new equipment

While some fire departments around the country can tap into a municipal budget to get new equipment, most like the Casco Fire Department have to light a grill. According to the National Fire Protection Association, approximately 85 percent of local fire departments are either all or mostly staffed by volunteers. That saves municipalities and taxpayers about $140 billion a year, but it forces firefighters to be fundraisers too. Casco Firefighter Dan Andres says every person who responds to a fire is a volunteer and having good training and equipment is reliant on community support.

Most of the fire departments in Door and Kewaunee Counties are staffed with volunteers and have had great community support behind them. The Southern Door Fire Department raised $48,000 earlier this year to purchase new jaws-of-life equipment. The Ephraim Fire Department has a similar goal in mind with their fundraising. The Casco Fire Department hopes to replace its turnout gear over the coming months with help from events like this weekend’s cookout happening at its station.


Picture courtesy of Casco Fire Department

Election ruling creates uncertainty for some area cities

A Federal District judge has ruled that Wisconsin clerks must continue to count absentee ballots they receive through November 9th, six days after the election is held. Municipalities across Door and Kewaunee Counties are split on whether it will have an impact. Village of Sister Bay Clerk Heidi Teich says that there aren’t enough voters in her jurisdiction to require election day-level staffing for an additional week.


City of Kewaunee Clerk Terri Decur says she is waiting for Wisconsin officials to weigh in on the matter.


Decur says it feels a lot like April when rules changed almost daily. Legal challenges for that contest went all the way to the United States Supreme Court. Judge William Conley has stayed his own order from going into effect until September 28th. The Wisconsin GOP has filed an appeal.


Under the Stars Night Market canceled for rest of 2020

Destination Sturgeon Bay has canceled the Under the Stars Night Market for the final four dates it was supposed to run this year. The outdoor shopping concept debuted over the summer on Third Avenue between Michigan and Jefferson Streets on Saturday night and was met with a lot of enthusiasm. Originally slated to be done at the end of August, the market was continued into October. Marketing Director Carly Sarkis says that the COVID activity level in Door County has reached a level that made a public event harder to justify.


The market was designed with safety in mind, including well-ventilated outdoor spaces, required masks, and hand sanitizer stations. Sarkis says no cases had ever been traced back to the events. She expects it to return next year, possibly in the West Waterfront area, depending on how development there progresses.


Area COVID-19 cases continue to spike

Door and Kewaunee Counties saw another big uptick in positive tests for COVID-19 on Wednesday.  Door County reported 25 more cases and one new recovery so active cases are up to 116.  Kewaunee County added 20 more coronavirus cases with 21 new recoveries.  Active cases stand at 124 in Kewaunee County.  At Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, Health Director Sue Powers revealed that there have been 13 people hospitalized with COVID-19 since March in Door County.  Kewaunee County Health Official Cindy Kinnard reported three current hospitalizations as of Tuesday.  Statewide, the Department of Health Services says 1,762 new cases were detected. That is up about 20% from what was announced a week ago (1,408). 



Forestville fire displaces family

A family is displaced and without several pets after a Forestville fire Tuesday morning. Southern Door Fire Department was called to a fire at 7057 Maplewood Road at 8:40 AM. At that point, heavy smoke was already pouring out of the first floor. A farmworker hauling silage noticed something was wrong while driving by and alerted authorities. Chief Gary Vandertie says that personnel were forced up to the second floor of the residence to keep the blaze from spreading. The cause of the fire is not yet known.


Vandertie says the family consists of school-age children and their parents. The kids had already been dropped off, and no one was in the home when the fire started. Unfortunately, several pets did not survive.
Vandertie also wanted to highlight another incident involving a pickup truck rear-ending a silage hauler at State Highway 42/57 and Emerald Drive, which happened Tuesday evening. He would like to remind motorists that they should expect extra farm traffic relating to the ongoing harvest. 


Rare deer disease found in Northeastern Wisconsin

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources recently reported the deaths of seven deer in Oconto County from Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease, and are asking the public across the region to be on the lookout for potential spread. The illness is more common in the southern and western parts of the United States, with only sporadic, localized outbreaks reported in Wisconsin. The worst of those killed a little over 300 deer in Dane County. District Wildlife Supervisor Jeff Pritzl says EHD requires dry conditions to spread.


A midge is a biting insect similar to a gnat or small fly. It dies out with the first hard frost. That’s already occurred on the western side of the bay, but not in Door or Kewaunee Counties. Another potential area of concern is the Forestville flowage. Water has receded there by design as the dam has been opened to facilitate a drawdown. What is left are mudflats and increasing vegetation that could provide a fertile habitat for midges. 

EHD is characterized by sudden onset, with death happening in just days. There are no telltale symptoms that present on the outside of the body like a rash or similar feature. Pritzl is hoping to get the word out quickly so that the disease can be contained before an outbreak occurs. Oconto County is as far north as the state has ever seen the illness. Human beings have never been affected by EHD, even if they have eaten meat from an infected animal.


Literacy group aids in-person and virtual tutoring

Literacy Partners of Kewaunee County is stepping up efforts to keep its current tutors and recruit more despite COVID-19 challenges.  Many of the current volunteers are 40-years-old and older.  Most of them prefer teaching in one-to-one meetings with clients as opposed to doing virtual sessions because they're not comfortable with apps or online options.  Coordinator Anne Laurent says the organization is working to address those concerns and benefit clients and tutors.




New tutors are welcome to join Literacy Partners of Kewaunee County.  More information can be found at

Late season boating comes with dangers

More people are on the water in Door County this fall, and that comes with potential dangers not present in warmer months. Lou Pasquesi of Door County Sail and Power Squadron says that hypothermia kicks in when the body’s temperature goes below 96 degrees. That’s not too far from average. He says that with cold nights, the water temperature is down to around 60 degrees. Being immersed in cold water has a more sudden impact compared to exposure to chilly air temperatures. Shock sets in quickly if a person goes overboard.


Hypothermia attacks muscle function, so it is imperative that a life vest is worn at all times. Pasquesi says his advice applies even more forcefully to kayakers, given that they are more likely to be alone. He would also recommend that kayakers actively practice how to get back into their vessel from open water since it is easy to overturn in them. Rough winds or the wake of a passing boat are all it takes.


Photo from America's Boating Club of Door County website.


County's harassment policy gets high marks

Jodi Traas, a Senior Risk Analyst with Wisconsin County Mutual Insurance, which handles liability for government at different levels across the state, gave a presentation to the Door County Board of Supervisors Tuesday morning on harassment within the workplace. She said that she has done work with over 50 counties in the state, and Door’s policy is as good as it gets. Traas said she wouldn’t change any aspect of the document, even though it’s now 11 years old. Strong guidance helps fuel a strong culture, and less harassment at work creates benefits for employers, says Traas.


Traas’ talk is part of a series by the Wisconsin Counties Association on good governance. They will happen monthly with additional training occurring when needed. Traas also works with school districts, including Gibraltar, and will be back in the area in November to do a seminar on implicit bias training.


The history of the Peshtigo Fire goes virtual

The history of the “Great Fire of 1871”, known locally as the Peshtigo Fire, lives on with a special virtual presentation from the Belgian Heritage Center.   Historian Barb Englebert Chisholm of Sturgeon Bay will be featured at 1 pm Saturday, October 3rd on a live stream.  Chisholm, a fifth-generation American of Belgian descent with ancestors who survived the devastating fire 149 years ago, will dress in character as her great-great-grandmother.  Chisholm will share a 20-minute story of the Englebert family’s survival.  Belgian Heritage Center Co-chair Joe Alexander says although there won’t be any in-person viewing of the presentation, commemorating the Peshtigo Fire is vital as is the message of perseverance.



The Peshtigo fire took place on October 8, 1871, and swept through northeast Wisconsin, including much of the southern half of the Door Peninsula.  The Belgian Heritage Center will be offering a drive-thru booyah pick-up from 11 am until 1:30 pm on the day of the virtual presentation, October 3rd.


(Photo courtesy of Belgian Heritage Center from 2019 presentation) 


Grocery shopper patterns changing with pandemic

Since the pandemic hit in March, local supermarkets have seen considerable changes in the buying routines of shoppers.  Even after the Safer at Home Order ended, trips to the grocery stores have trended down compared to before COVID-19.  Alex Stodola, store manager at Stodola’s IGA in Luxemburg, says people are filling their carts even more and limiting visits to once a week, rather than two or three times.  He notes that people are definitely purchasing more produce and frozen foods instore.



Produce sales are up 11 percent nationally this year, according to the Produce Marketing Association.  The American Frozen Food Institute reports that frozen foods sales remained up almost 18 percent last month.  Stodola adds that online shopping has leveled off but is still strong since implementing the digital option back in March. 

COVID-19 cases continue to spike in area

Door and Kewaunee counties continue to see a surge of positive tests for COVID-19.  
Door County confirmed 29 new cases on Tuesday with a positivity rate of 50 percent.  There were four recoveries with active cases now up to 92.  Kewaunee County reported 13 new cases of the coronavirus with a positivity rate of 11.3 percent.  The active cases stand at 125 with three hospitalizations in Kewaunee County and 19 new recoveries noted.  Governor Tony Evers issued a new mask order on Tuesday as COVID-19 cases continue to spike throughout the state.  Wisconsin reported an all-time high for hospitalizations on Tuesday with 474, according to the Wisconsin Hospital Association website. 



Election brings fair maps to forefront

Voters in 11 counties including Door County are weighing in on gerrymandering during this fall’s election. The advisory referendum questions if drawing legislative and congressional maps should be left to a non-partisan review board. The Door County Board approved the question to be added to the November ballot in June and has previously supported efforts to end gerrymandering through a resolution. Supporters of redistricting look to the Iowa model for drawing district lines, which relies on a non-partisan review board to do the heavy lifting before the state’s legislatures vote on it. Opponents say it should continue to be a duty of the legislature and the governor elected by the people, not by appointees. During Wednesday’s virtual presentation, Mike Brodd of the Door County Fair Maps Task Force hopes people see why redistricting reform is needed.

Co-sponsored by the Door County Library and the League of Women Voters of Door County, the session answering questions about the redistricting efforts and the referendum is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. via Zoom.



Virtual event gives second chance to fundraiser

It is already about second chances, but the United Way of Door County hopes its virtual event this weekend gives new life to its efforts locally. The organization is hosting its annual second-chance prom Saturday night, but it will take place virtually due to COVID-19 concerns. That means its tables of silent auction items will be moved online, decorations will be replaced with Zoom call backgrounds, and the dance floor might double as your living room. While planning for the virtual event has presented its own challenges, executive director Amy Kohnle believes attendees will still have fun while supporting a great cause. is partnering with the United Way of Door County to help make the event a reality, which will take attendees back to the Roaring 20s. You must call the United Way of Door County to secure your Zoom link for the event. More details can be found below.



Kewaunee dedicates Native American statue

The city of Kewaunee is giving a nod to its past with a statue dedicated last week.  Sculpted by Dr. Bill Faller and funded by the Kewaunee Rotary Club, the new statue features two young Menominee Indians fishing for sturgeon on their ancestral lands. The statue originally depicted the young men fishing for trout, which was thought to have a deeper connection to the area. Mayor Jason Jelinek hopes having members of the Menominee Nation weigh in on the statue and be present at last week’s statue dedication builds more bridges between them in the future.

The statue entitled “Bring Forth Sturgeon” sits near the water in Kewaunee’s Harbor Park. The dedication comes over 10 years after Kewaunee High School ditched the Indians moniker after a complaint was filed with the state.


Picture from City of Kewaunee



Governor extends mask mandate, issues new public health emergency

People above the age of five will have to wear a mask indoors and in enclosed spaces for another 60 days following a new face coverings order from Governor Tony Evers on Tuesday. The mask mandate, which was paired with a new public health emergency, was supposed to expire on September 28th. The reopening of schools and college campuses are thought to be driving a recent surge in positive COVID-19 test results and the emergency order. Wisconsin currently has eight of the top 20 cities in the country in terms of COVID-19 case growth, six of which are home to University of Wisconsin campuses. In addition, the emergency order says there have been at least 76 facility investigations that have occurred at elementary, middle, and high schools since their years got underway earlier this month.  The state has also seen its daily number of cases grow almost threefold since the end of last month, from 678 on August 31st to 1,791 on September 21st. Some of the state’s highest totals have occurred in the last week, including a record 2,533 on September 18th.


Read the new Public Health Emergency here

Read the new Mask Coverings mandate here

Chicago woman dies in Gibraltar crash

A rear-end collision in the town of Gibraltar killed an 82-year-old Chicago woman and injured another person over the weekend. According to the release from the Door County Sheriff’s Department on Tuesday, deputies responded to the scene just north of Cottage Row Road on State Highway 42 Saturday afternoon. The initial investigation shows the woman driving a sedan struck a sports-utility vehicle from behind as it waited to turn into a business. The driver of the sports-utility vehicle, a 33-year old Hortonville woman, and her passenger had no apparent injuries. The woman driving the sedan and her passenger were transported to Door County Medical Center for treatment of their injuries. The woman was then airlifted to a Green Bay hospital where she later died. The Door County Sheriff’s Department was notified of the death on Sunday. No other information about the victims is being released at this time until family members are notified. State Highway 42 was closed for about 45 minutes on Saturday before it was reopened shortly before 5:30 p.m. Door County Emergency Services, Gibraltar Fire Department and Gibraltar First Responders also responded to the incident.


Picture taken from an incident earlier this year by the Door County Sheriff's Department

Fans like televised Packer gatherings, not empty stadium

Packers fans in Door County are adapting well when it comes to watching the games with others.  The empty stands at Lambeau Field, however, are hard for many to accept.  Stone Harbor Resort has held game day gatherings and fans have adjusted to social distancing, the loss of buffet dining, and other COVID-19 precautions.  Though General Manager Nancy Bertz says fans don't like seeing the green and gold play without cheering throngs.



Bertz says Stone Harbor will likely continue placing TV's on the outdoor patio after the pandemic passes.

Record-setting visitors to Door County Parks

The use of the 19 county parks in Door County has seen a drastic increase this year as more people are enjoying the outdoors.  Parks Manager Burke Pinney estimates that twice as many people are utilizing the parks than in past years.  Interestingly, the biggest indicators for people visiting the parks are the amount of trash removed and how many times the outhouses need to be pumped out.  Pinney asks for visitors this fall to follow all the rules set down by Door County Parks.



Pinney noted boat launches were repaired at Murphy County Park and Lily Bay County Park when high water levels washed out the ramps earlier this spring.  The 19 county parks are open one-half hour before sunrise until 11 pm unless otherwise posted.

St. Joseph restoration project finishes this week

A $230,000 restoration project on one of the oldest churches in Sturgeon Bay is being completed this week.  Work on the St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Sturgeon Bay began one year ago and included masonry repairs on the twin gothic steeples.  Barb Wagner, administrative assistant at St. Joseph’s, shares the work that is being completed this week on the building.



The repairing of the rose stain glass window located in the choir loft is the finishing touches on the largest restoration project in the recent history of the church.  The project came in at the budgeted $230,000 and was solely raised through donations by the church and community members.  St. Joseph’s parish began in 1865 and the 108-year-old church building is under both the National and Wisconsin Historic Registry.


(photo courtesy of St. Joseph's)

Area sees 60 more COVID-19 cases

Positive tests for COVID-19 continue to jump in Door and Kewaunee counties. Kewaunee County confirmed 42 more positive cases since Friday (404 total) with 35 new recoveries, while Door County reported 18 more cases (235 total) with five recoveries.  Kewaunee County’s positivity rate was 26.9 percent of the test results from over the weekend.  Kewaunee County Health Officer Cindy Kinnard says the troubling increases are due to community spread and spread within households.  She emphasizes that people need to social distance themselves while continuing to wear masks and consistently wash their hands. Door County showed a two-thirds positivity rate with only 27 test results confirmed since last Friday.   Active cases stand at 131 in Kewaunee County and 67 in Door County as of Monday.








Two grades go 100% virtual in Sturgeon Bay

A lack of staffing is the reason why two grades are going virtual at Sturgeon Bay School District. In an email from Sturgeon Bay Superintendent Dan Tjernagel, the district learned that a fifth grade and an eighth-grade student from the same household tested positive for the coronavirus. Even without a positive test, a lack of staff availability was going to force the fifth grade at Sunrise School into virtual learning. That is also why the seventh grade at T.J Walker Middle School will also go 100 percent virtual for a period of time as well. Tjernagel reiterated that staff availability and the lack of substitute teachers could force other grades to go 100 percent virtual even if there are no additional positive tests. The district also learned on Friday that one more high school student tested positive for the coronavirus, which required 15 high school students and one staff member to be quarantined. Tjernagel noted that seven of the 15 close contacts occurred through a non-school community sports team.

Heise named 2020 Rural Health Ambassador

Door County Medical Center’s Dr. Jim Heise is being honored for his work helping the community get through the pandemic. The hospital’s chief medical officer is the recipient of the 2020 Rural Health Ambassador award from the Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative. Dr. Heise and Door County Public Health Director Sue Powers were weekly staples during the early stages of the pandemic, producing Facebook Live videos where they gave updates on the pandemic and answered COVID-19 related questions from the public. In a previous life, Dr. Heise was in the video production field, but even he admits he never thought he would lean on the medium so much in his medical career.

Since the pandemic started, Door County Medical Center’s COVID-19 pandemic videos on Facebook had approximately 75,000 views in addition to other outreach efforts in print, television, and radio. Heise says communication will continue to be a key as the community addresses the pandemic moving forward.

Gibraltar ready for school reopening

Gibraltar Superintendent Tina Van Meer is learning a lot as her school district waits to safely reopen. The district has been remotely learning since the school year started on September 8th. It has not been immune to some of the challenges other districts have faced like quarantining teachers that have had close contact with positive cases. The building has also been outfitted with touchless faucets and bottle stations, sanitizing areas, and will be finishing up work on an air filtration system in early October. Van Meer says its backpack program to get school materials to those who do not have strong Internet connections shows the lessons they have learned.

The earliest school could return in session is Thursday, but only if the number of new cases over a two week time period in the county is at 28 or below. Last week it was 70. Van Meer says the school board and the community will see the money spent on its COVID-19 mitigation strategies at its annual meeting next week.

Farmers, motorists look to share the road

With farmers in Door and Kewaunee Counties crisscrossing the area this fall for harvest season, the likelihood of an accident goes up.  According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, over 574 agriculture deaths were reported in 2018, making it one of the most dangerous industries in the country.  National Farm Safety and Health Week highlights the little things motorists and farmers can do to make this busy time of the year safer. Jacob Brey from Brey Cycle Farm a couple of suggestions on how something as simple as passing a farm implement can be done better.

With the theme of Every Farmer Counts, the National Safety Council this year is focusing on topics such as tractor and rural roadway safety, farmer health, and emergency preparedness. The UW Extension has tackled the topic of mental health throughout the year as suicides among farmers have risen in recent years due to a number of different factors.

Tax receipts coming in ahead of projections

Door County Government is beginning the budgeting process for 2021, with good news out of the gate. In the spring, guidance being given to counties was to plan for an eight to 12 percent decline in sales tax revenue compared to a year ago. 2020 is actually up compared to a record 2019. That is due to strength in collections before COVID-19 forced economic challenges, though. By May, taxes were coming in behind the same month in 2019, which continued throughout the summer. Typically, a majority of sales tax is recognized in the second half of the year. Given those trends, 2020 receipts may end up down compared to the prior 12 months. 

Administrator Ken Pabich says that considering the strength of 2019, a small decline would be seen as a win. The CARES Act will supplement Door County’s budget by providing $460,000 in stimulus funding, roughly ten percent of annual sales tax revenue. Pabich says that will not affect next year’s budget. The baseline assumption for 2021 is that there will be no further outside assistance.


Budgeting work is currently being done at the committee level. The Board of Supervisors will not cast a vote on the overall funding level for the county government until November.


Wisconsin Lifeline a quicker link to suicide prevention

People in Door and Kewaunee counties pondering suicide can get quicker referrals to needed services, even if they call the national suicide hotline.  That's because such cases are now immediately sent to the new Wisconsin Lifeline Call Center. While there were four small call centers around the state, someone looking for help in Wisconsin could be dealing with a counselor based in California. Joanette Robertson, with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, says Wisconsin Lifeline also helps tailor responses to each caller's need.




Wisconsin Life can be reached by dialing 800-273-TALK(8255). Linking people with local suicide prevention resources will be easier starting in 2022 by calling 988 for mental health emergencies.

Door County real estate remains a seller's market

Shorewest Realtors’ Ame Grail says Door County’s real estate market is seeing unprecedented conditions that favor home sellers. It is a rare combination where the number of homes listed is down while buyer interest has skyrocketed compared to 2019 levels. Grail shares the numbers.


Grail says that given Door County’s sizable percentage of rental and vacation home properties, owners are in an exciting position. They should start considering what price would get them to sell, even though they may not be actively looking to do so. If more people realize that today’s market can fetch that amount, inventory will rise, and conditions will find a more sustainable balance. 

Inventory constraints could be a temporary thing. Nationwide, the Census Bureau reports that single-family housing starts were up last month by 12.1% compared to August of 2019. 


Utility shutoff moratorium extended to November 1st

The Public Service Commission has voted to extend the moratorium on utility services through October. Effectively, that pushes the date back to next spring. From November 1st through April 15th, all water, gas, and electric shutoffs must be approved by the PSC before they occur. Sturgeon Bay Utilities General Manager Jim Stawicki says that most customers are not falling behind. The number of delinquencies is below average, but those who have fallen behind are racking up big bills. Some customers are thousands of dollars behind. Sturgeon Bay Utilities has encouraged customers to reach out if they need help with their accounts for months. That is still the recommended course of action, but SBU says that few are following through on it. Stawicki chalks it up to human behavior. He says a certain percentage of the population won’t pay if they don’t have to. He warns that eventually, the tab will come due. Stawicki says that could come in the form of increased rates for everyone, but most likely will be felt by landlords first.


The rate a utility charges is regulated by the state, which means it is difficult for the companies to absorb unpaid bills. The option to put the delinquencies on the tax rolls mitigates this and is implemented in two steps. The first has letters going out to both the landlord and tenant in October. That gives property owners the chance to pay by November 15th. If they do, the landlord can withhold the tenant’s security deposit to cover the tab and file a lien against their assets like other creditors if necessary. The Public Service Commission has not said whether the timeframe for this process will be altered due to COVID-19 as well.


SBU's Billing Department can be reachedby  telephone (920-746-2820) or email (


Flu shot clinic welcomes residents for first time

The Algoma Community Wellness Center will host clinics for the influenza vaccine on September 30th and October 14th, welcoming residents for the first time. In the past, inoculations were only available for school district teachers and staff, who operate out of an adjoining building. Operations Manager Zach Blahnik says surrounding communities are welcome too.


To register, Blahnik encourages the use of Sign-up Genius. The link can be found below. There are no set appointment times, at least for the first clinic. Most teachers get their shots as time permits throughout the day, and it isn’t known yet how many community members will take advantage of the opportunity. Flu shots are covered by all major insurance plans. Blahnik says that if there are crowding issues at the September 30th event, changes could be implemented for the second clinic. The Wellness Center is teaming up with the Door County Medical Center, utilizing a staff nurse who is already scheduled to be at the location each Wednesday. The clinics run from 9:00 AM to noon.




*Photo courtesy of Algoma School District Webpage.


Youth apprenticeship coordinator wanted

The Door County Economic Development Corporation wants to improve teen apprenticeship opportunities.  So, it's looking to add a coordinator for the Ahnapee Regional Youth Apprenticeship program.  The successful candidate would focus solely on  Door County schools and businesses.  Kewaunee County programs would be handled by Jennifer Johnson at Luxemburg-Casco High School.   Executive Director Steve Jenkins says the program's successes indicate another person is needed to move it forward.




The Door County coordinator's responsibilities would include recruiting local businesses to hire student apprentices.

Witness ecological restoration first-hand Saturday

Crossroads at Big Creek is about to embark on a large-scale restoration of the nine-acre preserve it has nicknamed The Cove. Located near Utah Street in Sturgeon Bay, the land has been designated as a point of significance by the Wisconsin DNR regarding migratory bird patterns. Crossroads has set up projects over a three-year timeline to help The Cove Preserve continue to serve that critical ecological function. Naturalist and Program Director Coggin Heeringa says an open house will happen Saturday, September 26th from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM, coinciding with National Public Lands Day.


Several landscape firms will be on hand. Not only will they be providing information about the future work at Crossroads, but they have presentations planned that could prove useful in sprucing up your yard. The full press release is below.



Crossroads at Big Creek will celebrate National Public Lands Day 2020 with a socially-distanced Open House at The Cove Preserve (817 South 20th Place) on Saturday, September 26, from 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. During this outdoor event, the community can observe one of the initial land restoration projects which will take place at Crossroads during the next three years.

Cream City Conservation Corp, an organization based in Milwaukee committed to ecological restoration and racial equity, will work with Crossroads staff and interns to plant 166 native trees and shrubs on what is called the “upper terrace” of The Cove Preserve.


At 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 and 2:00 pm, Dan Collins and Nancy Aten of Landscapes of Place will present 20-minute “Teach-Ins” on ecological restoration. They will give an overview of the plan for The Cove and answer questions – all in a safe, outdoor, socially-distanced setting. Archaeologists from Midwest Archaeological Consultants will also be on hand to describe the research they have done at The Cove.


About six years ago, using individual donations and grant funding, Crossroads at Big Creek purchased the 9- acre parcel that we now call The Cove Preserve. The land was listed as “six buildable lots.” At the time of acquisition, our goal was to protect the water of the estuary so pike, suckers and other fish could continue to spawn in Big Creek.


We did not know then that the land was an archaeological site, now state-registered. We were vaguely aware that trails on the site passed through an ephemeral wetland, but we did not expect it to be a rare sedge meadow. And, although we knew that waterfowl used The Cove during migration, we did not know the property would be designated as “a stopover of significance” in the Wisconsin DNR Migratory Bird Conservation Plan.


Clearly, The Cove was more precious than we knew, but it had been degraded over the years. And since the installation of our Kayak Launch/Wildlife Observation Platform two years ago, the  land also was becoming more heavily used as a recreational destination.


Again, due to the generosity of the community, Crossroads was able to raise the funds for a drive-through boat unloading and parking area, carefully sited to avoid artifact-rich areas and to prevent siltation and pollution of the estuary. Our objective was to encourage and safely accommodate visitors while protecting the archaeological site and the body of water connecting Big Creek to the Bay of Sturgeon Bay and beyond.


That project is complete. This fall, we turn our attention to creating high-quality habitat for birds and other wildlife. So, this Saturday, we plant trees.


Ironically, planting trees is a strategy to meet our original goal of protecting the water. Trees are celebrated for filtering air, removing greenhouse gasses and for releasing oxygen. They literally cool the air around them. Less appreciated is their ability to improve water quality.


During heavy storms, which seem to be happening with increasing frequency, tree leaves break the fall of raindrops.


A large raindrop actually shatters when it hits a leaf. Rather than pounding and eroding the soil, the shattered raindrops are more like mist, gently drifting to the ground below.


Some rainwater clings to foliage and falls gently as the leaves rustle in the breeze during the hours following a storm. Gently falling rains does not create gullies, nor does it carry silt, microbes and fertilizers into the water.


We hope Open House visitors will be inspired by our example and become involved in environmental stewardship at Crossroads and elsewhere.


During the Open House, people who have been participating in Crossroads Habitat Trail Challenge can pick up their finisher’s gift – a choice of a native tree seedling from Evergreen Nursery, donated by the Climate Change Coalition of Door County, or a copy of the field guide “Door County Wildflowers” by Fran M. Burton and Aurelia M. Stampp, thanks to the generosity of the Burton Family. 


On Saturday evening, the Door Peninsula Astronomical Society, in collaboration with Crossroads and the Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium, will celebrate International Observe the Moon Night at the Crossroads Astronomy Campus (2200 Utah St.).


Organizers are suggesting that participants enjoy the night sky in small groups, not to exceed five or six people (masked if not from the same household), and that groups take advantage of the large open area to spread out.


 Bathroom facilities will be available but masks will be required. DPAS uses red lights in the Astronomy Campus so as not to interfere with night vision.


Because the observatory is closed to the public and sharing equipment is not recommended, this is a BYOB – Bring Your Own Binoculars event. Special moon-viewing opportunities will also be available.


Each group should bring snacks, insect repellent, and deck chairs (most serious amateur astronomers favor reclining lawn chairs), but it’s also fun to lie out on blankets or sleeping bags.

 Members of the Door Peninsula Astronomical Society will be on hand with their green laser pointers. They will point out the visible planets, trace the constellations, and answer your questions.

Until further notice, the buildings at Crossroads at Big Creek are closed, but the restrooms, trails and our kayak launch are open every day, all day. We encourage the community to use our preserves, as always, free of charge, for recreation, for learning and for the physical and mental health benefits of outdoor exercise.


All upcoming programming will be offered outdoors adhering to social distancing. Masks recommended.


*Photo courtesy of Crossroads Facebook page.


Door County Treatment Court begins in October

Door County is picking up on a trend seen across the region as it prepares to roll out its version of Drug Treatment Court. Department of Health and Human Services Director Joe Krebsbach says that the new system will try to fix a problem associated with more traditional criminal justice. A wall exists that doesn’t allow for courts to see the complete picture. Mental illness and criminality are often tied closely to substance abuse, so a solution requires a combination of a legal and care aspect in many instances. The project has been years in the making, with input provided from various community organizations. Krebsbach says treatment court is evidence-based, and they will be poring over the data, tweaking the process where necessary for over a year before it begins handling a full caseload.


All participants will be forced to plead guilty or no contest to be eligible for the program. Any probation granted would have enrollment in treatment court as a condition, and the process could last up to two years, according to a press release. Krebsbach says treatment courts have proven effective in jurisdictions as close as Brown County. He knows they don’t work wonders, though, and relapses are to be expected. He says breaking away from addiction is a long-term challenge. The full release can is below.




After nearly three years of planning, training, and fund raising, the Door County Treatment Court will begin operations in October, 2020. The mission of the Treatment Court is to use an evidence-based judicial process to enhance public safety and restore sober, productive, and law-abiding citizens to the community.


Treatment Courts are built upon a unique partnership between the criminal justice system and the treatment community, one which structures treatment intervention around the authority and personal involvement of a single Treatment Court Judge.  Treatment Courts are also dependent upon the creation of a non-adversarial courtroom atmosphere where a single Judge and a dedicated treatment court team of court officers and staff work together toward a common goal of breaking the cycle of drug abuse and criminal behavior.  Currently there are more than 90 treatment courts in Wisconsin alone, with many more in states across the county.  


The creation of the Treatment Court in Door County has been a collaborative process among various stakeholders, including the Judiciary, Law Enforcement, the Department of Health and Human Services, The Department of Corrections, the District Attorney’s Office, and the Public Defender’s Office. Funding for the Treatment Court was made possible by Door County and by grants from the State Department of Justice.


The Treatment Court will focus on eligible offenders whose criminal behavior is associated with ongoing, habitual substance use. All participants must plead guilty or no contest to their charges and then agree to be placed on probation, with participation in Treatment Court as a condition of probation. It is expected that participants will be in the program between 14 months to 2 years. Any unsuccessful participants will be returned to court for sentencing.


The Treatment Court is not designed for every offender. Violent persons, sex offenders, and enterprising drug dealers are not eligible. Only offenders with a high risk of recidivism and who have a substantial substance use disorder will be eligible. As such, the Treatment Court is a tool to be used in appropriate cases to enhance public safety and to provide effective rehabilitation.



Parents facing stress like never before -- Mental Health Minute

Managing the stress of the COVID -19 pandemic has made life for parents of school-age children a challenge never before experienced says Sturgeon Bay Psychologist Dr. Dennis White.  The changing of school schedules on short notice, balanced with parents working outside the home, has impacted the careful planning that was done coming into the school year.  Dr. White says all teachers and parents are facing extremely stressful times.



Dr. White notes that multiple stresses are coming down on parents like no other time.  He likens last-second schedule changes to the frustration of aiming at a moving target. You can listen to Dr. White’s entire Mental Health Minute below. 



Egg Harbor reforms Zoning Board of Appeals

It has been five years since the Village of Egg Harbor needed its Zoning Board of Appeals, which means it takes a bit of time to make sure it is adequately staffed to hear about a height variance request. Most issues that could potentially go before the panel are settled at the Plan Commission level through conditional use permits. That’s not the case regarding the proposed condo development at the Mueller Mini Mart. Even after scaling down plans to a two-story building with 14 units, architectural designs require an elevator shaft that rises above the Village’s height restriction. Administrator Ryan Heise says the board has added new members in recent weeks, and they’re hard at work studying for their new role.


The hearing should be held in early-to-mid October. The public art scene in Egg Harbor has added some new landmarks. Heise shares the following press release about the works of Milwaukee’s Richard Edelman being installed throughout the Village. A dedication ceremony is expected next spring.



Milwaukee based artist Richard Edelman and his wife Nina are donating a series of art pieces to the Village of Egg Harbor, and its expanding public art scene is thriving. Edelman is no stranger to the Village, having worked with the community over a decade ago on a piece entitled “Blue Sail,” located at the Village Marina. Edelman and his wife Nina have loved their involvement with Egg Harbor since that time and are honored to be included in the community again. The pieces that will soon be in route to Egg Harbor are entitled: THREE DANCERS, and LITTLE DANCER AGED 14. 

Kathleen Beck, Chair of the Egg Harbor Public Arts Initiative (PAI) has been working with the artist, along with the entire committee, to sort through the details of the pieces and placement. Mand-Beck says, “The Public Arts Initiative of Egg Harbor is happy and grateful to have been instrumental in working together behind the scenes with Richard and his wife to secure two amazing new sculptures for the Village.  They will be egg-citing additions to our growing permanent collection of public art for everyone to enjoy!”

“I know very little about art, just enough to recognize the significant generosity and quality of work that Richard is providing the community,” says Village Administrator Ryan Heise. “The Village has done well to build a reputation for public art, and the momentum continues to build, largely thanks to the efforts of the PAI group.” 

LITTLE DANCER AGED FOURTEEN- is to be placed at the north end of the off-street trailhead on Horseshoe Bay Road. Richard Edelman explains the sculpture, and how it was selected; “The Arts Committee urged that the sculpture be unpainted and to rust in harmony with the beautiful nature which surrounds it. This sculpture employs the exact same crescents and circles used in the THREE DANCERS sculpture. LITTLE DANCER AGED FOURTEEN is based on a sculpture of the same title by Edgar Degas of great historical importance in that it celebrated a humble stage dancer in Paris, rather that the then typical great general or politician. This figure celebrated the everyday person in our world, much as the trail leads us through the common inheritance of the natural world.”
According to Edelman, The THREE DANCERS sculpture is an expression of the freedom, joy and celebratory nature of dance in particular and the arts in general. The three pure primary colors of cyan, magenta, and yellow are used to assert the primacy and centrality of the arts in our lives. While each of the figures is in a formally difficult position -an arabesque, a swan, and an en pointe- they balance delicately by joining hands in space. A light landing in the midst of tension is a central theme. What more fitting location for these sculptures that the magnificent Peg Egan Center for the Performing Arts, which provides a wonderful venue for the performing arts in Door County and beyond. 

With renovations to Horseshoe Bay Road and Church Street slated for 2020 and 2021 respectively, the pieces will be prominent and welcome additions to the Village.  

Many of Edelman’s works can be found on his website: 

Photo credits: Ryan Hainey, RH Photography 


Little Dancer Aged 14


Three Dancers


Door County seeing mostly mild COVID-19 cases

Director Sue Powers says that Door County has seen few severe instances of COVID-19 in recent months. As of Friday, there was one hospitalization out of 54 active cases. Powers isn’t sure of the exact reason, but she thinks that a recent theory proposed by Dr. Jim Heise of the Door County Medical Center could have some validity.


Last week, Kewaunee County Public Health Director Cindy Kinnard said there were two hospitalizations because of COVID-19, a similar profile to Door’s. Kewaunee County had 124 active cases on Friday. 
The State of Wisconsin’s Department of Health Services released new guidance on September 9th, recommending a 14-day quarantine for any potentially exposed to COVID-19, with no exceptions for any industry except those who provide necessary functions. Powers says that the order is nothing new, and Door County was already following those protocols.


Westbound Maple Street closed for three weeks

Road work on the west side of Sturgeon Bay will have a stretch of Maple Street closed until Thursday, October 8th. City Engineer Chad Shefchik says that traffic between Columbia and Bayfield Avenues will be rerouted. The affected roadway is not typically busy, situated on the border between the City of Sturgeon Bay and the Town of Nasewaupee. Shefchik details the work being done.


Shefchik says that road plows were having trouble with the uneven pavement in recent winters. Bayfield and Columbia are open without restriction. There is other construction nearby on State Highway 42/57 with one lane closed eastbound near County Road PD. The City of Sturgeon Bay is not handling that project.


Door Peninsula Astronomical Society moonlighting next Saturday

Door County is planning a celebration of International Observe the Moon Night on Saturday, September 26th. The Door Peninsula Astronomical Society is hosting an outdoor event near their observatory on the grounds of Crossroads at Big Creek near Utah Street. The group is labeling it as “bring your own binoculars.” This year’s date comes just days before a full moon. Assuming there is no cloud cover or thick, smoky haze, President Dave Lenius says it should be bright and easily viewed in the night sky. Laser pointers will be utilized by volunteers to help highlight some of the sky’s most important features.


The lunar missions will be part of the presentation, a little over 51 years after Neil Armstrong took his giant leap for mankind. Last year’s milestone anniversary spiked interest in the moon, and while outdoors attractions like state parks are benefitting during the COVID-19 pandemic, planetariums have been shut down. Lenius says other outside, socially distanced viewings like the one held for August’s Perseid meteor shower have been well attended.


Photo courtesy of


Streaming introduces Midsummer's Music to a new audience

Midsummer’s Music, utilizing mostly string instruments in a socially distanced setting, has put on 30 performances to an internet audience the past six weeks. Marketing Director Russ Warren says that has greatly expanded the audience.


Warren is also appreciative of The Violin Channel, a popular website and social media presence, for hosting the group on their feed. The average viewership for each performance is over 2,000 people. Warren says that traditional in-person attendance varied depending on the venue and the number of instruments needed for each show. A private home could have only a handful of concertgoers, and area churches hold as many as 80. Midsummer’s Music has done only one performance for a live audience. It was held outdoors with precautions taken, and Warren says it was a great success. He doesn’t expect a return to normal until the end of next year but hopes to incorporate more outdoor concerts for summer 2021.

Wind instruments like flute and clarinet are a significant part of chamber music, but the group has shied away from using them due to the potential for Covid-19 spread. That forced the group to rework its schedule entirely compared to the celebration of Ludwig van Beethoven that was planned. The famed composer’s 250th birthday is in December. Expect to see most of those selections be performed next year instead. 


Photo of Russ Warren courtesy of


900 trees set to take root in Door County

The Climate Change Coalition of Door County (CCC) is planting more trees across the area than ever before. Grants from Cellcom and the Wildlife Conservation Society have allowed CCC’s partner organization, the Lakeshore Natural Resource Partnership, to purchase conifer saplings in record numbers. Various landscaping companies have donated over 200 more, with the total equaling nearly 900 trees. Katie Krouse says the plants were chosen specifically because they are common to the area and easy to grow.


In a press release, the CCC cites trees’ ability to protect from soil erosion and groundwater pollution, among other benefits. Plants can be picked up at The Ridges Sanctuary in Baileys Harbor, Egg Harbor, and Sturgeon Bay’s Door County Land Trust location. Additionally, Gibraltar Elementary students will be involved as well as businesses that have signed the Door County Climate Declaration.




Planting trees is one of the easiest and most powerful ways to combat global warming, and this fall the Climate Change Coalition of Door County (CCC) is once again helping Door County do its part. The CCC is distributing nearly 900 trees through local schools, environmental organizations, churches, youth programs and local businesses this month.


With funding from a Cellcom Green Gift Grant and a Climate Adaptation Grant from the Wildlife Conservation Society to the Lakeshore Natural Resource Partnership, the CCC is distributing 650 trees, along with more than 200 donated by Lakeshores Landscape and Design, Door Landscape and others. Distribution began Sept. 21.


Members of the public are welcome to pick up trees beginning Sept. 28 at the Ridges Sanctuary, Baileys Harbor; Greens’n’Grains in Egg Harbor; and the Door County Land Trust, 23 N. 5th Ave., Sturgeon Bay.


The trees are native conifers, including white cedar, black spruce, red pine, balsam fir and white pine. Trees from the landscaping firms have gone to Gibraltar Elementary School students; Friends of Gibraltar Project Coordinator Vinnie Choumeau is spearheading the school project.


Participating faith groups include the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Door County, Stella Maris Roman Catholic Parish, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, and Shepherd of the Bay and Prince of Peace Lutheran churches.


Crossroads at Big Creek and the Northern Door Children’s Center are also participating. Businesses who have signed the Door County Climate Declaration, pledging to adopt sustainability principles in their operations, are receiving trees as well. And trees will be available to attendees at CCC’s outdoor screening of the acclaimed documentary Blowout at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 25, at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, Sturgeon Bay.


Tree planting is one of the most effective ways to help the environment. Trees provide essential habitat, clear pollution from the air, prevent soil erosion, protect groundwater, and reduce energy consumption through windbreaks and shading. Perhaps most importantly, trees are the lungs of the Earth, breathing in carbon dioxide and breathing out the oxygen on which life depends. By this sequestering of carbon dioxide, they are thus a critical way to address climate change, which is caused in large part by excessive carbon dioxide produced by burning fossil fuels.


Sturgeon Bay looks to fill council seat

With District 2 councilmember David Hayes’ resignation effective at the end of the month, the City of Sturgeon Bay will be seeking applications for the vacancy.  District 2 serves a large section of Sturgeon Bay’s east side.  People interested in applying for the council seat should send a brief statement about their background and interest in serving by October 8.  Those candidates will appear and speak at the Sturgeon Bay Common Council meeting on October 20.  The Council will then vote on the replacement at that meeting.  Mayor David Ward was appointed to the Council prior to being elected Mayor back in 2016.  He says it is important to fill the District 2 aldermanic position soon.



Candidates must reside in District 2 and be at least 18 years of age.  The person appointed to fill Hayes’ seat will serve out the two-year term through April, 2022. 

Kewaunee County adds over 20 new COVID cases again

Against just one recovery, Kewaunee County added 21 new COVID-19 cases on Friday. That brings the number of active cases to 124, continuing an exponential pattern seen over the past several weeks. Total cases for Kewaunee now stand at 362. 

Door County was up six, compared to three recoveries. The total increases to 217 with 54 of those being active cases. The number of tests pending rose to a record high of 487.

The State of Wisconsin set a new single-day record with over 2,500 new cases. There were seven new deaths. The overall recovery rate has slipped to 86%.



Kewaunee Schools going all virtual for two weeks

The Kewaunee School District will be going to all-virtual learning starting next Monday for two weeks over concerns related to the spread of COVID-19.  School Superintendent Karen Treml says the extremely difficult decision made on Friday came after realizing too many students and staff were being impacted by the virus and quarantining.   She says the school planned for instances like this in preparation for the school year.



Treml says if in-classroom learning begins again October 5th the Kewaunee School District would implement Model B.  That plan would have two-thirds of the students returning for in-person learning to promote better social distancing in the schools. 


Letter sent to parents in the Kewaunee School District



Henry named new Sturgeon Bay Police Chief

The City of Sturgeon announced Friday afternoon that Lieutenant Clint Henry will be the new Police Chief.  After a long-closed session meeting, considering the interviews for the position, the Police & Fire Commission approved the hiring of Henry to serve as the next Chief of Police for the City of Sturgeon Bay.  Lt. Henry has served on the City’s police department for over 15 years and held different positions including Drug Investigator.  Current Police Chief Arleigh Porter announced his retirement back in July with his final official day being October 2.  You can find the press release below.


City of Sturgeon Bay News Release 



(photo courtesy of Sturgeon Bay Police Department)



Frostman resigns as Secretary of Workforce Development

Caleb Frostman, State Workforce Development Secretary has resigned his position after being asked by Governor Tony Evers to step down on Friday.  A former Sturgeon Bay resident and executive director of the Door County Economic Development, Frostman was appointed by Gov. Evers in January 2019 and was confirmed nearly one year after that.  In a press release on Friday afternoon, Gov. Evers pointed out that it was unacceptable that Wisconsinites continue to wait for the support of the unemployment system.  Gov. Evers blamed antiquated technology and processes by Republicans to make it harder for people to get unemployment benefits.  He noted that “it is clear that we must have change if we are going to address these problems to get folks their benefits faster”.  DOC Deputy Secretary Amy Pechacek will lead the transition until a new secretary is appointed.  You can find the complete news release at   Secretary Frostman could not be reached for comment.  The Governor's news release is below.


Gov. Evers Asks for Resignation of Workforce Development Secretary
 Resignation effective immediately, DOC Deputy Secretary Pechacek to lead transition
MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers today announced he has asked for and received resignation from Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Secretary Caleb Frostman. Secretary Frostman’s resignation is effective immediately. Department of Corrections (DOC) Deputy Secretary Amy Pechacek will lead the transition until the new secretary is appointed.
“People across our state are struggling to make ends meet, and it is unacceptable that Wisconsinites continue to wait for the support they need during these challenging times,” said Gov. Evers. “It is clear that our unemployment system has faced historic levels of claims these past few months, hindered in part by antiquated technology we inherited, and processes designed by Republicans to make it harder for folks to get these benefits.”
The DWD has faced unprecedented unemployment claims during the COVID-19 pandemic, far exceeding Great Recession levels. Since the pandemic began, Gov. Evers has worked to provide additional staffing resources to the DWD to assist with the substantial influx in claims, calls, and adjudication processes. More than 130 DWD employees have been reassigned to the Unemployment Insurance Division. In total, the DWD now has more than 1,500 individuals working on UI cases, a 250 percent increase from 600 individuals previously.
“We have continued to add additional state resources to support the DWD, but it is clear that we must have change if we are going to address these problems to get folks their benefits faster. I am confident Deputy Secretary Pechacek has the leadership and skillsets we need to begin to identify solutions to these issues and to get to work making sure folks across our state can get the resources they need. I appreciate Secretary Frostman’s service to our state and wish him well in his future endeavors.”


Sevastopol Schools to 50 percent capacity through October

Sevastopol School District has only had four positive case of COVID-19 in the last two weeks, but dozens of quarantined individuals are forcing a change. In a letter sent to parents on Friday, Sevastopol will go back to the A/B Model it used the first two weeks of the school year until at least October 30th when the first quarter ends. This means the school will be at 50 percent occupancy with two groups of students attending in-person classes and learning remotely on alternating days. The school board made the decision after 53 students were forced to quarantine because of the four positive COVID-19 cases. The hope is that by operating at 50 percent capacity, there will be more room to socially distance, fewer people will have to quarantine if there is a positive test, and allow students more opportunities to learn in-person.


Click here to read the letter sent to parents

Rueckl's curiosity leads to involvement

Dave Rueckl’s businesses have always been impacted by agriculture, but he didn’t know how much until he started asking questions. He has been delivering oil to farms for over 40 years while the area’s water quality has an impact on his sportfishing business. His discussions with farmers landed him at the first Peninsula Pride Farms annual meeting a few years ago, where he was able to learn how some of the members’ practices had a larger effect on the area as a whole. Rueckl says he learned that farming practices like cover crops do not just have a positive impact on farmers but for his sportfishing business, citing improving water conditions over the last couple of years.

He has noticed the biggest improvements in water clarity and run-off control. Rueckl says despite the slow start due to the pandemic, his sportfishing business had a very good year. Salmon numbers were a little lower due to stocking cutbacks, but Rueckl calls the rainbow trout fishery this year “world-class.” He encourages other non-farmers to talk to farmers to learn more about their practices and to address their concerns. Rueckl recently joined the Peninsula Pride Farms Board as a non-voting business member.


Picture courtesy of his Facebook page

Kitchens, Jensen meet in virtual forum Saturday

Voters in the First Assembly District will have one of their first opportunities to hear directly from the candidates on Saturday when the League of Women Voters of Door County hosts an online forum. The organization is encouraging voters to tune in after it is posted to hear the candidates’ answers to questions about the issues facing the district and the state. Incumbent Republican Representative Joel Kitchens hopes voters reflect on what he has been able to help accomplish in his previous terms.

His Democratic opponent, Kim Delorit Jensen aims to show voters how her business experience has prepared her for a new role.

The online candidate forum will be recorded by the League of Women Voters of Door County and posted on its Facebook page and website following its conclusion. will be profiling the candidates in the coming weeks as well.

Senator confident in postal service

U.S. Senator Ron Johnson believes U.S. Postal Service is prepared to handle this fall’s election despite concerns about delivery delays. Concerns have been raised in recent months about the USPS’ ability to keep up with what could be a record for mail-in voting due to the pandemic. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy implemented a number of changes when he took over in July in an effort to make the service more cost-efficient including restrictions on extra trips and removing some mail sorting machines. Johnson sat on a hearing with DeJoy as a member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. He believes DeJoy should be commended, not condemned for the moves he has made to improve the U.S. Postal Service’s financial outlook for the long haul.

Johnson says almost half of the $8.8 billion in operating losses the U.S. Postal Service accrued last year was due to unscheduled and penalty overtime. He defended the decision to remove some mail sorting machines, citing a decrease in first-class mail and an increase in parcels. Johnson says election officials and voters have to account for the delivery process before they mail in their votes as close to over one million absentee ballots are mailed this week.

Positive case spurs confusion at Sturgeon Bay Schools

One positive case of COVID-19 at Sturgeon Bay High School sent the rest of district searching for who else may be affected. Sturgeon Bay School District was notified of the positive test late Wednesday, which forced two other high school students attending classes in person and two more learning virtually to continue their studies in quarantine. The positive case also led to seven students and one staff member at T.J. Walker Middle School and five students and two staff members at Sawyer Elementary School to be quarantined as of Thursday afternoon. Sturgeon Bay School District Superintendent Dan Tjernagel emailed Thursday evening that one staff member who worked with the affected student will be getting tested to be safe and will be out for a bit. Adding to the confusion was a letter sent to parents that the affected high school student had been out of class since September 8th. Initially, more students and staff members at the high school were notified they were supposed to quarantine before further investigation by the Door County Public Health Department was able to reduce that number. Tjernagel says moving forward, school districts and their medical partners will have to improve their communication with each other.

He says schools may play a bigger role in contact tracing down the road since they have information on the student’s schedule, how to contact parents, and which staff members they may have worked with in classes. Tjernagel added more conversations need to happen before that occurs since they do not have the medical background other contact tracers may have now. Luxemburg- Casco and Sevastopol also reported positive COVID-19 tests this week.

Farmers reaping benefits of favorable weather 

Area farmers are taking advantage of favorable growing conditions this summer to start a successful fall harvest, according to Rich Olson from Olson Family Farm in southern Door County.  Olson says local farmers should be on target to get the crops off in the next few weeks.  He notes that this summer’s weather made a big difference compared to the soggy challenges that last year presented.



Olson adds that the soybean crop is only a couple weeks away from being combined.    He is optimistic of a better crop this fall.  Soybean production in 2019 was down about 24 percent from 2018, according to the USDA numbers released earlier this year.  He notes that green “snap” beans are already sent to the canneries.  Winter wheat should be planted soon as a cover crop.





Southern Door schools get big safety grant

The Southern Door County School District was one of six schools in the state to receive a grant through the School Violence Prevention Program.  The grant of $156,853 was through the Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services with the selection being done last week.  School Superintendent Patti Vickman says the school applied for the federal COPS grant this past spring and is designed to enhance the school’s safety measures and equipment.   A community group called EPCOT, the Emergency Planning Collaborative Operations Team consisted of District Staff and representatives from the sheriff’s office, Emergency Management, B.U.G., and Southern Door Fire Departments, Emergency Responders, and Door County Medical Center.  The group helped identify some critical safety needs that could not be funded by district money or state grants.  Vickman shares some of the planned safety improvements.



Vickman added that because the Southern Door School District is not located near the sheriff’s department or a fire station the safety supplies are important in case of an evacuation or lockdown.   Hopes are to replace a 30-year-old intercom system next year with a digital set-up that will help with their safety needs.  This Saturday the school will be live-streaming a dedication that showcases new spaces the school constructed from the 2018 referendum.

Scammer identifies as local clergy

A scammer using the name of a local clergy member has victimized a town of Sevastopol resident.  The Door County Sheriff’s Office received the complaint on Wednesday and found that the unknown suspect contacted the person through text messages requesting the purchase of gift cards for several hospitalized women suffering from cancer.  The scammer represented himself as a pastor who was too busy to buy the gift cards.  He convinced the Sevastopol resident to purchase the cards and reveal the serial numbers while scratching off the security strip and sending a photo of the gift cards.  Lt. Bob Lauder of the Door County Sheriff’s Department wants to remind people that many schemes used by criminals will tug at your heart-strings to help out.



Lt. Lauder asks the public to report any suspicious calls or contacts to the Sheriff’s Department and to never give personal information, gift cards, or data to someone you cannot verify.  The scammer in this case used an untraceable phone number and the victim cannot be reimbursed.


On Wednesday 09/16/2020, the Door County Sheriff's Office was called to an address in the township of Sevastopol to...

Posted by Door County Sheriff's Office on Thursday, September 17, 2020


Another spike in local COVID-19 numbers

The area, especially Kewaunee County, saw another surge in positive tests for COVID-19 on Thursday.  Door County reported seven more cases and a positivity rate of 10.9 percent and one recovery so active cases are up to 51.  Kewaunee County added 29 more coronavirus cases with four recoveries but the positivity rate remained high at 34.5 percent.  Active cases are up to 104 now in Kewaunee County with two hospitalizations, according to Health Officer Cindy Kinnard.  Both counties have seen a big jump in positive tests this week, with Door adding 35 (211 total) and Kewaunee reporting 103 (341) more cases.  The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported over 2,000 new confirmed coronavirus cases for the first time on Thursday with three additional deaths in the state.




Alderperson cited in Sunday incident

Heated words exchanged on Sunday turned into a citation on Thursday for a Sturgeon Bay city alderperson. David Hayes, who also serves as the chairperson of the Door County Democratic Party and was a local delegate for August’s Democratic National Convention, was cited for disorderly conduct during an incident at Martin Park. According to reports, Amanda DuQuaine was hosting a petition drive to recall Governor Tony Evers when Hayes responded to a constituent concern about the event taking place at the park. Charges were filed by DuQuaine after she said Hayes used vulgar language towards her and a group of other people at the event. Captain Dan Brinkman told that staff interviewed a number of witnesses over five days before concluding that Hayes would be cited with disorderly misconduct, which carries a fine of $263.50. Hayes can contest the municipal citation if he so chooses at a court date set for October 19th. In a message to sent to, DuQuaine said “I am glad he is being held accountable for his actions. Nobody should ever have to deal with harassment from anybody for having opposing political views, especially a city official.”

CARES Act provisions making giving easier

Charities in Door County are starting to see an impact from a few provisions inserted into the CARES Act earlier this year. In the package that provided trillions of dollars for coronavirus-related aid, it included a charitable deduction for up to $300 for individual taxpayers that does not need to be itemized. The CARES Act also increased the cash limits an individual can make from 60 percent of their adjusted gross income to 100 percent and corporations from 10 percent to 25 percent. Door County Community Foundation President and CEO Bret Bicoy says it has encouraged donors to be even more generous.

Bicoy expects it to be a rough winter not just for families and individuals in need of support but also the charities that provide it. Bicoy advises charities to be honest about their situation and remind donors of the important work they do. The United Way of Door County and Go Bo! Foundation are two examples of charities that have had to switch their popular fundraisers this fall to virtual events to support their efforts.

Civility proving tricky during political season

Civility surrounding the 2020 election is proving to be elusive in Door County. The Sturgeon Bay Police Department is finishing up its investigation into an incident between city alderperson and Democratic delegate David Hayes and Amanda DuQuaine, who helped organize a petition drive to recall Governor Tony Evers at Martin Park Sunday. On Tuesday, the Sturgeon Bay Police Department announced it was charging 19-year-old Quincy Gibson with a misdemeanor for graffiti on the Door County Republican Party headquarters in August. Local party officials have accused supporters on both sides of vandalizing or stealing political signs in recent weeks. Shirley Senarighi from the Door County Civility Project believes emotions are running especially high this election season due to racial tensions and

Recent Pew Research Center polling shows people with opposing political viewpoints to be among other things untrustworthy and close-minded. Senarighi hopes that keeping an open mind, more people will realize that civility is a two-way street. You can read more of Senarighi’s thoughts on civility during the election season below.


Picture courtesy of Door County Civility Project 


Letter to the Editor:

Golden Rule 2020: A Call for Dignity and Respect in Politics


The Door County Civility Project Steering Committee Members, holding different political views, have come together to express concern about the polarization and incivility that is tearing our country apart. We are also deeply troubled by the rhetoric being used in the 2020 political campaign season causing further division among the people in our nation.

We join with the National Institute for Civil Discourse in believing that guidance for this national dilemma can be found in the teachings of our faith communities. We believe that that if enough people follow the Golden Rule “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” it will help generate the respect and civility we so desperately need in our country.

We can each play an important role in helping to heal America and bridge the divisions in our country in the remaining weeks prior to and following the November 3rd election.  We invite you to:

Pray for the healing of the divisions in our country

Promote the use of the Golden Rule in our personal political discussions and election activities in 2020 by these actions:

          • Listen patiently and with an open mind—especially when there is disagreement

          • Use language that communicates views without exaggerating; language that is strong,

            precise and truthful

          • Look for areas of mutual agreement

          • Encourage others, including our political leaders, to be civil.

We can also do our best not to:

          • Use inflammatory words or derogatory names

          • Make broad generalizations about individuals or groups

          • Assault the character of others

          • Question another person’s beliefs, values or patriotism

          • Describe those who hold political beliefs different from my own as enemies.


No matter how objectionable you may find one another’s views, the virtue of civility demands our steadfast pledge to ensure the public expression of ideas so long as those expressions in no way cause physical harm to other people. Make your commitment now to protect the freedom of the conscience and the free expression of ideas.  Join others NOW in promoting civility in our political discourse.  


Shirley Senarighi

Door County Civility Project



Senator seeks funds for restaurants, performing arts venues

With restaurants and performing arts venues in Door County among the last ones able to fully reopen because of the pandemic, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin is signing onto legislation that could help fill the gap until that time comes. In June, the Democratic Senator from Wisconsin signed onto the Real Economic Support That Acknowledges Unique Restaurant Assistance Needed to Survive (RESTAURANTS) Act, a $120 billion bill designed to help owners recover some of the revenues they lost from being closed early on during the pandemic. A month later, she also signed onto the Save Our Stages Act, which would provide similar support for independent performing arts venues to the tune of approximately $10 billion. Without the direct federal assistance, about 90 percent of independent performing arts venues and 85 percent of restaurants could close. Senator Baldwin hopes these bills can move along even without being tied to a larger coronavirus aid package.

According to Newsweek, a new $1.5 trillion proposal from the Problem Solvers Caucus called the “March to Common Ground” earmarks $290 billion for small businesses and paves the way for another round Paycheck Protection Program loans.


Picture taken prior to COVID-19




Third teacher tests positive at Luxemburg-Casco Schools

Two classes of Luxemburg-Casco Primary School students will learn from home for the next two weeks after a third teacher in the district tested positive for COVID-19.  Parents and staff were notified of the test Wednesday afternoon. Since the infected person shares students with a teacher in the same grade for instructional purposes, 36 students will be quarantined due to the district’s protocols. The affected teacher could come back to school as soon as Monday if symptoms had subsided for at least a few days. Superintendent Glenn Schlender says the staff’s past experience teaching virtually is important whether they are at home or in the classroom.

A Luxemburg-Casco High School teacher tested positive last week for COVID-19, but no other staff members or students had to quarantine as a result. Schlender added all three staff members that have tested positive for COVID-19 this school year are doing fine.


New growth at Algoma Hardwoods site

The former Algoma Hardwoods plant is showing signs of new growth under new ownership.  The nearly 300,000 square foot facility has been used for storage space and currently has two tenants.  Co-owner Chip McDonald, of the McDonald Group, says one tenant, Microstar, operates a beer barrel leasing program.  McDonald says by taking responsibility for those kegs that allows local microbrewers to improve their profits.




Another tenant, Omega Recyclers, is leasing 60,000 square-feet at the Algoma site.  Co-owner Tim Effert says that helps his company handle the metals and plastics for day-to-day business.  He also says it can now take on larger recycling opportunities they previously couldn't because of space limitations.




The new owners also say part of the former Algoma Hardwoods site could be used for residential development and as a community gathering space.


*Photo courtesy of

JAK's Place open to the public for group activities

Through the spring and summer, those needing comradery to help deal with mental illness had limited options at JAK’s Place in Sturgeon Bay.  Program Director Sam Burriss says that an outdoor seating area and fire pit allowed those picking up the traditional Tuesday meal to find fellowship.


Both the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association and the Centers for Disease Control have pointed to recent studies showing elevated levels of depression and suicidal tendencies in children and young adults. Burriss says the center has a youth group that has been able to meet outdoors weekly, putting it in an excellent position to get out in front of that trend. The group also has a weekly men’s meeting on Fridays since they tend to be more susceptible to severe depression. Another group that has gotten going in recent years that is tied to JAK’s Place meets at McDonald’s on Egg Harbor Road in the parking lot. Indoor activities restarted in early September.

The organization is set for its largest fundraiser of the year, happening mostly virtually on Tuesday, September 22nd. Burriss says JAK’s Place has modeled its fundraiser to run similarly to the efforts of Third Avenue Playhouse from earlier this year. The event is capped off with a spaghetti dinner. Burriss encourages those who want a plate to purchase tickets in advance.



Smoky sky having a limited health impact

There is no health threat from the milky skies of the past couple weeks. Western United States wildfires have seen their smoke billow across the country, hanging over Door County and creating gorgeous reddish, orange sunsets. As of now, that is as far as the impact goes. Meteorologist Scott Coultice says particulates and ash have remained well above the earth’s surface.


Winds should pick up in a normal west to east pattern in the coming days as a cold front barrels through the region. That could potentially bring more smoke into the vicinity and usher in the best chance for the ash clouds to reach ground level. Coultice says he still thinks that scenario is unlikely. Temperatures will be in the 30’s Friday morning, so gardeners should begin to make plans to bring in plants susceptible to frost. 


Kewaunee County races past 300 total COVID-19 cases

Another 22 COVID-19 cases were reported in Kewaunee County on Wednesday afternoon, bringing the total to 312. That compares to eight recoveries, meaning the number of active cases jumped by 14. Seventy-nine active cases are a new high registered by Kewaunee since the pandemic began in March.

Door County only added four new cases. The number of active cases fell to 45. Door County results may not be complete as pending tests rose to 435. That compares to a number closer to 250 for the past several weeks.

Across the state, 1,408 new cases were reported, which remains significantly higher than historical levels, but in line with recent results. 



Door-Tran asking for help

Nicole Voight is facing a nearly impossible math problem in her first year as Interim Executive Director of Door-Tran, but finding a way to make it work. Most volunteers are older or otherwise part of a demographic that is at high risk from COVID-19. Only a quarter of its usual roster of volunteers is currently helping out. In July, those ten drivers had nearly as many passengers as 2019, ninety-two versus 94. Protocols require a thorough cleaning of each vehicle after a rider has been dropped off at their destination, and passengers cannot share a trip. Voight says Door-Tran has been able to pull it all off without extending its hours, but help would be greatly appreciated. That is especially true in northern Door County.


Drivers are reimbursed 50 cents per mile, making it essential for the organization’s bottom line to be able to maximize efficiency and find volunteers who live in proximity to the service’s riders. If someone needs help going from Washington Island to Green Bay for a medical appointment, that’s $80 round trip. If Door-Tran is forced to use a Sturgeon Bay driver, add in another $40 just for picking up and dropping off. Voight says southern door has better coverage than the northern end of the county. All riders are asked to contact Door-Tran 48 hours beforehand.


Merger talks expected to last into 2021

Donna DeNardo, President of the Board for the Door County Land Trust, says that merger discussions with The Ridges Sanctuary have slowed in recent weeks. The initial thought was that talks would be wrapped up by the end of the year, but DeNardo expects a decision won’t be made until March.


DeNardo says that public comment is welcome, but she is hoping for it to be very specific and related to the matter at hand. She says that ideas like changes to trail fees or allowing dogs on the property aren’t germane to the merger issue. If there is a theme to the comments received so far, Denardo says it revolves around making sure The Ridges remains a vibrant enterprise and doesn’t get lost in the shuffle of a larger organization. When asked if the merger talks came about due to financial concerns, DeNardo said that was not the case. It was spurred on by the resignation of Ridges Executive Director Steve Leonard.


Photo of Door County Land Trust board courtesy of the organization's website.


Door County census count nears completion

After a slow start, census workers have canvassed over 90 percent of Door County properties. There are two weeks left to visit about 950 homes that did not send back their census form in the spring. Dan Powers, from the League of Women Voters and was a member of the Complete Count Committee, says that Door County’s response rate was so low in April due to a couple of factors. One was COVID-19. As forms were mailed out to second homes and rental properties, Door County government was recommending that seasonal residents stay home until more was known about the pandemic and how to fight it. Powers says that many homeowners were not aware that they were supposed to submit a form for all of their properties. 


Compared to the 48% overall county response rate, the City of Sturgeon is estimated at 75 percent. Seasonal residents and vacation homes make up a much smaller portion of its properties. Work is scheduled to be wrapped up by September 30th. Powers is not employed by the Census, but as a member of the Complete Count Committee, he gets regular updates on its progress.


Photo courtesy of


Sevastopol Schools time capsule revives 1982 memories

Construction crews working on the Sevastopol School expansion project unearthed what appeared to be a plastic ice cream bucket. In fact, it's a time capsule buried by retired teacher Mike Madden and students in 1982.  The pail's lid was sealed only with electrician's tape, which proved to be ineffective in protecting newspaper articles, photographs, and film negatives.  While time may have taken a toll on some of the capsule artifacts,  Sevastopol alumnus Holly Kohls says they've regenerated nearly 40 years of almost forgotten memories.




The 1982 time capsule is one of about a dozen that Madden students have buried over his teaching career.  The unearthed time capsule is giving him a renewed perspective.




That leaves only about a dozen more Sevastopol School time capsules and their memories to be rediscovered.


Vandalism suspect identified

The Sturgeon Bay Police Department released the name of the man alleged to have vandalized the Door County Republican Chapter campaign headquarters on Egg Harbor Road. The announcement came Tuesday although the incident occurred August 30th. 19-year-old Quincy Gibson is facing a misdemeanor charge for graffiti. Gibson was never arrested but has been cited in the matter. 


Sturgeon Bay lays out budget process

The Sturgeon Bay Common Council was updated on the 2021 budget process during a relatively fast-moving Tuesday night meeting.  The thirty-minute meeting included City Administrator Josh Van LIeshout sharing the timeline for the upcoming budget process.  Workshops will be conducted on September 28 and October 5 as the council meets as a “committee of the whole” to hammer out any changes or adjustments to the proposed 2021 budget.  On October 12 a public presentation will be held in Council Chambers before a public hearing on November 2, then the council can take action for approval.  The Sturgeon Bay Common Council also passed a joint resolution on Tuesday to proclaim October 2 as Manufacturer’s Day in Sturgeon Bay and Door County.  Finally, on behalf of Fishing League Worldwide and Major League Fishing, Destination Sturgeon Bay Executive Director Pam Seiler presented a partner award to Mayor David Ward and the City of Sturgeon Bay for the collaborated effort of hosting two major fishing tournaments earlier this summer on short notice. 

Dippel recognized for academic achievements

A Sturgeon Bay High School senior has been named a Commended Student in the 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program.  Isabella Dippel took the Preliminary SAT and the qualifying test for the scholarship in 2019.  Dippel says she is grateful to the community for receiving the scholarship given to students for their exceptional academic promise.



Dippel is currently looking at the BFA programs and wants to study musical theater and ultimately become an actress.  She shares some of the past traveling opportunities she has already experienced as a 17-year-old.



Dippel was one of 34,000 commended students nationwide out of more than 1.5 million students who entered the 2020 competition.






Kunkel's Korner reopens under new ownership

It took only one month for a popular Kewaunee restaurant location to open its doors again.  Kunkel’s Korner reopened for business last Wednesday under new ownership.  Seth and Angie Hoeffner of Mishicot purchased the building from Mark and Stacy Kunkel last month, shortly after it closed on August 9.  The Hoeffners have been operating the Clubhouse Family Restaurant in Mishicot for the past four years.  Seth says the deal for Kunkel’s Korner came together quickly.



Besides keeping the name, Hoeffner plans to have a similar breakfast menu along with a few favorites from the Mishicot location.  Seth makes the twenty-minute commute to Kewaunee daily while Angie will continue to run the other restaurant.  Kunkel’s Korner is located at the main intersection in Kewaunee and has been a popular meeting spot for diners over the years going back to when it was Larry & Mona's Restaurant in the 1980s and 90s. 


NOTE:  The new Kunkel's Korner ownership will accept customers wishing to redeem Big Deals certificates that have not expired yet. 





COVID-19 cases continue to spike in Door and Kewaunee

Positive tests for COVID-19 continue to jump in Door and Kewaunee counties. Kewaunee County added 19 more positive cases on Tuesday (290 total) with eight new recoveries, while Door County reported 12 more cases (200 total) with three recoveries.  Kewaunee County’s positivity rate skyrocketed to 56 percent on Tuesday with only 34 test results returned.  Kewaunee County Health Officer Cindy Kinnard says the increase in cases is caused by larger group gatherings like parties, camping, and weddings. She says the demographic showing the biggest increase of adults testing positive are middle-aged.



Kinnard emphasizes that people need to be socially distant while continuing to wear masks and washing their hands consistently. Door County showed a positivity rate of 8.2 percent which is down half from Monday’s number.   Active cases show to be 65 in Kewaunee County with one hospitalization and 48 active cases in Door County. 



Fall brings roadway concerns

With the changing colors and the shorter days come more concerns for area motorists. Fall usually means an increase in wildlife activity crossing roadways. In Kewaunee County, car versus deer accidents are on par with last year’s pace of right around 220. Many motorists use their high beams more during the fall as a precaution to protect themselves from possible collisions. Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski says that is okay to do, but you also have to be aware of other motorists.

With the fall also comes more traffic from the agricultural community as they head out to their fields to harvest their crops, spread nutrients, and plant different species of cover vegetation. Next week the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety commemorates National Farm Safety and Health Week to educate people about one of the nation’s most dangerous industries. According to Wisconsin State Farmer, there were 175 traffic-related accidents involving farm equipment in 2018, resulting in over 70 injuries and seven deaths.  Joski says motorists and farmers need to work together to keep each other safe.

He also recommends farmers make sure they do a good job cleaning up after leaving the fields as complaints about dirt clumps on area roads rise during the planting and harvesting seasons.




After being away with the Guard last recently, I finally got the chance to get back to my morning runs and realized how quickly we have gone from the early morning sun rises of summer to the dark mornings of fall and winter. This realization prompted me to focus this week’s article on the use of headlamps.


 Now that the days are getting shorter and the nights longer, it is a good time to discuss lighting on vehicles. This provides us with a reminder and opportunity to make sure your vehicle as well as any trailer lights are operational. While preventative maintenance on your vehicle equipment will make you and your occupants safer, it will also eliminate the potential for being stopped for defective equipment. It is also important not to rely on those automatic headlamps as they may or may not pick up on such conditions such as fog or early morning mists which have a definite impact on visibility.


In this article I would like to discuss high beams and low beams. I don’t have many pet peeves, but one of them is definitely when people do not dim their headlamps when they meet another vehicle. Wisconsin state Statute covers this in 347.12(1)(a) “Use of Multiple Beam Headlamps”


Whenever the operator of a motor vehicle equipped with multiple beam headlamps approaches an oncoming vehicle within 500 Feet, the operator shall dim, depress or tilt the vehicles headlights so the glaring rays are not directed into the eyes of the operator of the other vehicle.


This paragraph does not prohibit an operator from intermittently flashing the vehicles high beam headlamps at an oncoming vehicle whose high beam headlamps are lit.

This statute goes on to apply the same distance (500 feet) in regards to dimming your headlamps when following another vehicle.


I have had people who believed that flashing your headlights at an oncoming vehicle was illegal, and I hope this clears up the misconception. The proper use , or in some cases the improper use of high beams becomes the source of many complaints, and the proper understanding and use will go a long way in maintaining harmony on our roadways.


One of the main reasons we use our high beams is to increase our response time in the event that a deer or other wildlife may wander onto the roadway and into our lane traffic. For those who are interested, I will start to post the weekly car deer counts in my upcoming articles. Let’s all try to avoid these collisions with wildlife through the proper use of our headlamps.




With all that we as a nation and community have been dealing with over the past few months, and the changes we have made in our daily lives, one of the few things that have not changed is the need to plant, grow, and harvest the food that feeds us all. It is somewhat comforting that amidst all of the uncertainty; Mother Nature keeps time and rewards those who have worked so diligently to both be stewards of the land and providers for their families.   

       While many are making plans for the most effective and efficient way to conduct this year’s harvest, there is always one denominator which no human can predict nor control and that is rain. What we do know is that if becomes a wet fall, it will make for some challenging harvest conditions which will no doubt have an impact on the lives of our farming neighbors as well as on our roads.

       Many times the need to transition from field to field brings with it the potential for negative interactions with other motorists, and the need to pay close attention to the rules which apply to both Implements of Husbandry as well as the average motorist.

       For those who will be operating the equipment in pursuit of this year’s harvest, please familiarize yourself and any operators you may have working for you with the most current laws pertaining to Implements of Husbandry and the lighting equipment required. Make sure you have communicated with your local road authority regarding weight limits or the need for road closures.

        For those engaged in the harvesting, please be attentive to the material, otherwise known as mud, which you are displacing and make every effort to minimize the amounts left on the road. This may mean a piece of equipment left on site to clean in between each and every load. The law that pertains to the placement of foreign material on the roadway is: 346.94(5) Placing Injurious Substances on Highway; which states “No Person shall place or cause to be placed upon a highway any foreign substance which is or may be injurious to any vehicle or part thereof.” Although we have seen a vast improvement in the vigilance of keeping our roads clean, we do still respond to complaints of material on the road and in some cases have had to issue citations.

         As long as we are on the subject of state statutes, here’s another one which is quite relevant; 346.51(1) “Improper parking on/off roadway”. Whether you are using the road to off load a piece of construction equipment, or using the road to transfer loads from a field, it is your obligation to observe proper safety practices.

        This may mean putting out warning signs, cones, or even deploying flag persons. Almost daily we receive complaints of roadways being obstructed by individuals or companies who have equipment on the road, creating a situation where vehicles are crossing into the opposite lane of traffic. Responding officers arrive and work with the business or individual to rectify the situation.  Unfortunately if the area cannot be made safe the only other option is to shut down the operation until it can be made safe. If you know you are going to be off loading or staging equipment on a roadway, please plan ahead, by checking the area to see the level of warning devices you may need. Check with the Town Official for that area if you are going to be on a town road and the County Highway Superintendant if on a county road, or state highway. Again, we have approached this issue from an educational perspective for many years, and the time has passed where ignorance of the law will be accepted.

          In the end the responsibility for a potential accident because of poor planning, or a failure to provide proper warning will fall to the individual or business creating the hazard. If you are traveling the countryside and observe what you feel is a traffic hazard, please call law enforcement, and we will respond. Together we can keep our roads safe.

       For those in the general public that may find themselves in proximity to the harvesting process, please use caution when operating around these pieces of equipment as they have many blind spots, and may be stopping or turning for movement in and out of field driveways and side roads.

        Having been fortunate enough to have grown up in the farming community, I know the sense of urgency that comes with both planting and harvesting; however no shortcut or increased speed will make a difference when someone becomes injured, and any potential savings will pale in comparison to the cost of tragedy. As I promised in last week’s article, I would start updating you on car deer accidents. So far this year we have had 223. Last year at this time it was 227. Keep your eyes open and on the road. Let’s try to keep that number low for 2020!

Sevastopol records second positive COVID test

For the second time this week, Sevastopol School District is reporting a positive COVID-19 test. The affected student attends the high school and was kept home Monday and Tuesday while they waited for results. Ten other students were told to self-quarantine until they can come back to school on September 28th as a precaution. With help from seating charts, Sevastopol Superintendent Kyle Luedtke says being able to keep track of their students as they go from class to class helped make contact tracing in this case much easier.

Luedtke reiterated only students considered to be in close proximity of the affected person will be contacted individually by the Door County Public Health Department. Sevastopol School District will remain operating under Model #1, which allows full in-person attendance of its student body except for those in self-quarantine or in full remote learning.  One section of first grade at Sevastopol is also in quarantine after a positive test was reported over the weekend.

Students make special masks

A new program at Algoma School District is giving kids more confidence while helping people protect each other from COVID-19. The AbiliTees Project is the brainchild of Algoma Special Education aide Amy Schoenberger as an extra way to connect with her students. With help from her husband’s side job as a screen printer, six special needs students help power The AbiliTees Project to print logos on face masks. Schoenberger says the program is giving the students a sense of purpose and the ability to form relationships with members of the community.

Schoenberger says the students do a lot of other tasks around the high school including shredding paper for the secretaries and filling office supply orders. The AbiliTees Project will be in the Algoma Community Wellness Center on Fridays from 9:30-10:30 a.m. selling the facemasks for $5. Schoenberger hopes they will have different projects for the upcoming months.


Learn more about the program by clicking here


Photo submitted

Absentee voting back on track

Clerks in Door and Kewaunee Counties have been given the go-ahead to mail out ballots to absentee voters. Efforts were slowed down last week after the Wisconsin Supreme Court said they would listen to a case concerning Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins and his attempt to get on the November ballot. The high court ruled 4-3 on Monday that Hawkins and his running mate Angela Walker waited too long to ask the Wisconsin Elections Commission to review a possible issue with their paperwork. A Brown County judge denied rapper Kanye West his spot because he did not file the paperwork. Door County Clerk Jill Lau and Kewaunee County Clerk Jamie Annoye said on Friday that this was a best-case scenario as it saves them thousands of dollars in reprinting and recalibration costs. Lau told last Friday that they will still be hard-pressed to meet the September 16th deadline to get ballots in the mail.

Lau instructed Door County’s municipal clerks to not stuff the envelopes until they knew Monday’s decision while Annoye said they had just recently ordered theirs in anticipation of the Supreme Court’s decision. Over one million absentee ballots have been requested by Wisconsin voters for the November 3rd election.


Photo from Door County Government website

Sturgeon Bay gets updates on budget process and revaluation

The Sturgeon Bay Common Council will receive an update on the revaluation of the community Tuesday evening.  Administrator Josh Van Lieshout says the revaluation started back in April and should be completed by the end of the month.  He shares the reason behind revaluating the community.



 The City of Sturgeon Bay last went through a revaluation in 2004.  Residents will receive a letter from the city assessor informing them if a change has been made to their assessment.  The last revaluation of city properties was in 2004 and cost the city about $140,000.  A number of inquiries into dark store properties, brought the issue to light, according to Van Lieshout.  The Sturgeon Bay Common Council will also get an update on the 2021 budget process that should be finalized by November.   A joint resolution naming October 2 Manufacturer’s Day in Sturgeon Bay and Door County is on the docket as well.  The resolution will recognize the manufacturing sector’s value and economic contributions to the Door County community.  The meeting starts at 7 pm in Council Chambers at City Hall on Tuesday.

Help of Door County offering diverse jail support programs  

A local organization is working with law enforcement to provide programs in a jail designed to help curb recidivism.  Help of Door County has support groups that meet within the Door County Jail.  Executive Director Milly Gonzales says one new program is being started for those who identify as Latino in the community.



Other curriculums offered at the Door County Jail include “Building Strong Families” and “Healthy Relationships” for both men and women who are incarcerated.  Gonzales notes that the Operation Fresh Start program through the Door County Sheriff’s Department and Sheriff Tammy Sternard is an effort to provide a path forward for inmates and end recidivism.  A regular support group is provided every other Tuesday with social distancing being followed.  You can contact Help of Door County for more information.  

Kewaunee restaurant closes temporarily due to COVID-19

Port O’ Call in Kewaunee has temporarily closed due to three employees testing positive to COVID-19.  Owner Randy Vandenack says no employee was allowed to work at the restaurant after testing results came back.  He says the Kewaunee County Health Department has been working with the business during the process.



Vandenack adds that the three employees worked different shifts and different departments at the restaurant and did not contract COVID-19 while working at the business.  Plans are for Port O’ Call to reopen on Thursday, September 17.  

Area COVID-19 cases surge again

Door and Kewaunee counties saw another spike in positive tests of COVID-19 over the weekend.  Kewaunee County added 33 more positive cases (271 total) with 20 new recoveries, while Door County reported 12 more cases (188 total) with ten recoveries.  Kewaunee County’s positivity rate was 30 percent on Monday while Door County showed a positivity rate of 22.2 percent.   Active cases show to be 54 in Kewaunee County and 39 in Door County.  The Department of Health Services reported no new coronavirus deaths in the state on Monday.  The percentage of tests that came back positive was nearly 20 percent in the state.




Dispensation for Sunday mass obligation disappearing

Sunday was the last free pass for area Catholics who have not attended weekly mass the last six months. The Diocese of Green Bay, which covers Catholic churches in Brown, Door, and Kewaunee Counties, lifted its dispensation for the obligation to attend Sunday mass after it was originally issued in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.  The weekend of September 19th and 20th will mark the first time area Catholics are obligated to go to mass in person while other dioceses will lift their dispensation later this month. The Green Bay diocese will also allow as many people that want to worship do so as long as they are able to social distance. Father Edward Looney of St. Francis and St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Brussels and St. Peter and St. Hubert Church in Rosiere hopes his parishioners that have not been able to come to mass recently know they can do so safely.

Looney still encourages parishioners who have symptoms or have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19 to stay at home.  For those still uncomfortable with going to mass, you can hear Father Looney on 104.1 WRLU every Sunday at 8 a.m.


Photo submitted

Assisted living centers weathering COVID concerns

Assisted living center administrator and owner Tama Bagley has plenty of reasons to smile despite coronavirus-related restrictions. Anna’s Healthcare in Sturgeon Bay has not reported any positive COVID-19 tests among her residents or employees. They are taking the necessary precautions to keep people safe such as appointments for visitors, monitoring symptoms, masking, and spending some time outdoors. Bagley says it takes a lot of time to organize the schedules and to make sure residents are getting the care and the socialization the need. She believes it has been worth it.

Nursing homes across the country have been getting new rapid-testing machines for their facilities as a part of a Trump administration initiative to have regular testing for staff. Bagley says there may be a time when they need that, but they are making do with the two to three day wait for test results for staff members and residents who may be showing symptoms. She adds they are currently looking into what visits in the fall and winter when the flu season complicates the COVID-19 picture.


Picture from Anna's Healthcare Facebook page

Apple season off to a strong start

Apple lovers in Door County are happy to see the trees full of fruit this year. Pickers at Wood Orchard have been busy picking apples over the last few weeks, highlighted by their popular SweeTango and Honey crisp varieties. Other early-season varieties like Paula Reds and Zestars are also ready to be picked in the area while Macintosh and Cortland apples may still be a few days away. Orchard owner Steve Wood says the last month has been really good for his crop.

This past weekend marked the first of many for pick-your-owns at Hillside Apples in Casco. Owner Bill Roethle says many of his customers were happy to get outside and enjoy a fun family activity.

Wisconsin is still expected to follow a nationwide trend of a smaller apple crop this year. The United States Department of Agriculture predicts this year’s apple crop to be down about 3.5 percent compared to last year at 253.6 million cartons.

First Sevastopol School COVID-19 case reported

Sevastopol School District officials learned over the weekend that one of its primary school students tested positive for COVID-19. Parents received notification of the result on Sunday as the district worked with the Door County Public Health Department with contact tracing. In-person classes will remain in session for all students except for those who opted for remote learning and the one section of first grade affected by the positive test. Superintendent Kyle Luedtke says those students will be quarantined and learning remotely until at least September 24th.

In the letter sent to parents, Luedtke stated if you did not receive a call from the  Door County Public Health Department that you were not within close proximity of the student and do not need to quarantine. The school district performed additional cleanings of the specific areas used by students in the affected class as an extra precaution. Sturgeon Bay and Luxemburg-Casco School Districts each had their opening weeks altered due to positive tests on their respective staffs while Gibraltar Area Schools will remain in virtual learning through at least Wednesday due to Door County’s COVID-19 activity level being considered “high.”

More to Kewaunee COVID story than the number of cases

This week, Kewaunee County saw active COVID-19 cases jump to over 40, a trend that has been on fast forward since Monday, August 31st when 22 instances were reported in a single afternoon. Further examination shows a more nuanced picture. Public Health Director Cindy Kinnard says that as of Friday, there was only one hospitalization. Most cases are mild or asymptomatic and will be rolling off in the coming days. Kinnard says some of that has to do with demographics and who is testing positive. Luck also plays a part.


Cases are related to a growing comfort level among families in getting together. Kinnard says golf outings, holiday barbecues, and weddings are the types of events leading to positive cases. For the first time, transmission is occurring within extended families. Kinnard says community spread remains muted. 


Sister Bay businesses still successful without Marina Fest

Louise Howson, from the Sister Bay Advancement Association, says the consensus among village businesses is that traffic for Labor Day weekend was better than could have been reasonably expected, especially compared to some of the predictions immediately after the onset of COVID-19 in the spring. Howson points out that the whole county shared in the success, and recent calls suggest it should continue.


Fall Fest has been canceled, pushing its 75th anniversary to 2021, but holiday events are still on schedule in Sister Bay. Howson expects this year's light display to be beefed up, adding in new elements for residents and visitors to enjoy. She says it was already the county's biggest and, given the quiet calendar due to COVID-19, the village felt a celebration is needed. The light display can be viewed safely in accordance with mitigation guidelines without a lot of adjustment.


Legislative Committee tackles racism

Thursday’s Door County Legislative Committee meeting dealt mostly with how the local government should respond to a discussion that has enveloped the state and country in recent months. Before sending a final draft of the statement for approval from the Board of Supervisors as a whole, the committee sought to define racism and its effects properly. Kara Counard pushed to include language that tied racism to power dynamics within society. This is important as a vote in favor of the committee’s statement would end up having practical effects on how government is run. It could lead to changes in the strategic plan, implemented in hiring and elsewhere through protocols implemented by the Administrative Committee. The other option is to involve outside organizations, says Administrator Ken Pabich.


The committee also sought to label racism as a public health crisis. Other items discussed included support for the Sturgeon Bay Historical Committee’s plan to repair the tower at Potawatomi State Park.


Sevastopol Schools to review pandemic precautions

The Sevastopol Board of Education will review COVID-19 school reopening precautions currently in effect when it meets on September 17th.  The district already requires students and staff to mask during school hours.  For the first two weeks of the school year, the district alternated in-person attendance with half of the student population on designated days while the remaining students came in on their designated days. Superintendent Kyle Luedtke says no cases of COVID-19 have been detected since all students returned to in-person classes. He says the district wants to see whether further adjustments are needed.




Sevastopol School Board members will also see whether pandemic adjustments are needed for extracurricular activities.




The Sevastopol School Board meets at 7:00 PM, September 17th at the school offices on Highway 57.

Ecotourism in focus at Destination Door County

Ecotourism could be a new source of green for the area economy. Destination Door County’s Cambria Mueller said the initiative starts at home. 


Destination Door County will be teaming with Leave No Trace for marketing and education and hopes to tie it into attractions like the Niagara escarpment and various state parks. That is separate from the efforts to comply with being a Green Tier community, a voluntary program in conjunction with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. The committee brought up the need for summer staff dedicated solely to Green Tier initiatives and discussed the potential for internships with high schoolers through the Ahnapee Youth Apprenticeship Program and local college students.


Hispanic advocates applaud census decision for illegal immigrants

Undocumented immigrants nationwide, including those living in Door and Kewaunee counties, can be counted in the 2020 census.  That decision came from a federal court, and stops efforts by the Trump Administration to keep illegal immigrants from being counted for reapportionment purposes.  The three-judge panel ruled an administration memo calling for the exclusion of undocumented residents is illegal.  Imelda Delchambre with the Hispanic Resource Center of Door and Kewaunee Counties supports the court's ruling.




Delchambre says some families have held off from taking part in the census for fear of tipping off immigration officials.

Local shoppers not losing tempers over masking

Shoppers in Door and Kewaunee counties are keeping their cool when shopping in stores where masking is required.  Law enforcement agencies have not had to respond to incidents of people creating disturbances when told that masking is required by local retailers.    Police agencies won't patrol stores to enforce masking requirements.  However, Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski says action will be taken against those who make a scene when asked to leave by store management.




Belligerent customers opposed to masking have gone on rants in other communities nationwide.  One man at a Walmart in Alaska got within inches of a masked store employee's face.  It was captured on video and has since gone viral on social media.  

DNR leaving door open to Potawatomi Tower

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is working with the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society to find common ground on the future of the Potawatomi State Park Tower.  Recreation Partnership Section Chief for the Wisconsin State Park System Missy Vanlanduyt says the DNR is continuing to go down the path of deconstructing the tower but won’t make any concrete decisions until at least November.  She says everything is in a holding pattern until the Wisconsin Historical Society determines the historic significance of the tower, which may or may not impact any decisions. 



VanLanduyt adds that Dr. William Tingley, who was contracted by SBHS to determine the structural viability of the tower, has recently been authorized as a contractor but engineers for a restoration project would have to be state-approved as well.  The DNR has discussed several options on the tower with lawmakers and the SBHS other than deconstruction.  Other options given include restoration or repair of the tower while adding an accessibility component.  A master plan from 2018 included potential new observation towers built that would need approval through a new state budget.  Another option is to carefully deconstruct the tower and sell it to the SBHS for $1 where they can reconstruct it on non-public land.  Vanlanduyt also noted that the tower could remain standing as a visual representation after being secured with no public accessibility.     

NWTC avoiding COVID-19 problems seen elsewhere

Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, including its Sturgeon Bay campus, is avoiding restrictions being put in place at other higher learning institutions in the state. Wisconsin-Madison began two weeks of virtual instruction for all students, along with quarantines of two dormitories this past week as cases mount. Dr. Aliesha Crowe, Vice President for Student Advancement with NWTC, says the school was quick to close off the busiest areas of campus, so further measures were not needed. It also limited the size of its classes, even adding sessions to allow enrollment to stay steady.


Crowe says the stability that NWTC has offered compared to in-state universities, combined with an attractive price point, has helped enrollment in recent years. An increasing number of students are using Northeast Wisconsin Technical College for general elective courses that can transfer to four-year universities after they have completed their associate's degree.


Some taverns and restaurants continue game day gatherings

Green Bay Packers game day gatherings are still on at some Door County bars and restaurants. They'll just be a bit different. The COVID-19 concerns that will keep fans out of Lambeau Field at least until the November  1st game against Minnesota won't keep some popular gathering spots from hosting fans. Stone Harbor Resort General Manager Nancy Bertz says game day events are being spread out a bit more and fans will see some menu changes.




Bertz says fans won't have to wear masks while eating or drinking, though at all other times, and at other areas inside Stone Harbor, masking will be mandatory.

Kewaunee County flu shots available in early October

Public Health in Kewaunee County has scheduled influenza vaccine clinics in early October at the Ahnapee Town Hall in Algoma and the Kewaunee County Fairgrounds in Luxemburg. Walk-ins are not encouraged, and the department is asking those planning on attending to register ahead of time by calling (920) 388-7160. Only the adult flu vaccine will be available, with the children's variety administered by appointment at the department's office on Lincoln Street in the City of Kewaunee. 
The first set of clinics is Friday, October 2nd, in Algoma from 10 AM to noon and Luxemburg 1:00-3:00 PM. On Tuesday, October 6th, the times are flipped. Health Department staff will be in Luxemburg in the morning and Algoma that afternoon. 

The vaccine is covered by most insurance, including Medicare Part B. For others, the price is $30.00 to be paid in cash or by check. 





September weather determines fall color quality

When the leaves turn colors across Door County, it is guaranteed to be a good show for residents and visitors alike, but certain weather now can make the display unforgettable. Program Director and Naturalist Coggin Heeringa says the chemicals which turn leaves yellow and orange are always present, hiding under the surface until fall. Sunlight is needed, though, for maples and dogwoods to blaze red.


You can see the phenomena in your own yard. Trees that face south will see that portion turn red while the undergrowth and northside become yellow instead.Temperature doesn’t play a significant factor in fall color unless it is too cold. A series of frosts and hard freezes can cause leaves to fall to the ground, leaving them crunchy and brown prematurely. 


Bowhunting season begins in Door and Kewaunee Counties

Saturday marked the start of the fall bow hunting season across the State of Wisconsin. Locally, enthusiasts were greeted with cold, rainy conditions that stressed the need for proper safety. Conservation Warden Chris Kratcha reminds hunters about the dangers they face when entering and exiting their tree stand. Hands should be free of a weapon to allow for three points of contact when utilizing a ladder at all times. Proper planning during set up is important, says Kratcha.


While in the stand, the Department of Natural Resources recommends a harness be worn at all times. There are no significant rule changes for this season compared to recent years. Hunters are not required to physically tag deers, but kills must be registered. Kratcha says most do it online, but phone is an option as well. According to Kratcha, a majority of hunters find calling in a deer to be more difficult than registering via the internet. All registrations must be completed by 5 PM the day after the deer has been killed.

Kratcha expects the mentor program to be a popular option because it has been difficult to enroll in hunter education courses since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March. Door County has held only one class, and it filled to capacity quickly at 30 students. Kratcha says in the coming months, Brown County will have several internet field day events, and local hunters can get their certification elsewhere even if they intend to only participate in the area. 


Photo provided by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.


Wi-Fi on loan at Algoma Library

The Algoma Public Library is moving beyond just e-books, and other online offerings of its catalog, the internet itself is now available for loan. Using funds from the WPPI COVID-19 Community Recharge Grant program administered by Algoma Utilities, Wi-Fi hotspots will be available on a first-come-first-serve basis for up to one week. Library Director Cathy Kolbeck says the branch has five hotspots, but that translates to several dozen internet connections.


The hubs can only be signed out by adults, 18 and older. The library encourages borrowers to use them for work, school, or even just personal use. That includes the revamped InfoSoup online library. Kolbeck says last month's program update initially had some kinks that needed to be worked out, but everything is running smoothly now.


*Photo courtesy of the Nicolet Federated Library System web page.


Community testing yields few positives

Less than a handful of positives came out of the community testing held in Sturgeon Bay on August 27th by the Door County Medical Center and Bellin Health, but Public Health Director Sue Powers says that isn’t a huge surprise. The four new cases, from around 530 participants, follows a trend seen at other large-scale events from around the state. Back in June at the Door County Justice Center, over three days, the National Guard found zero cases. Powers says that no matter the amount of people tested or the inclusion of those without any symptoms, it still provides only a snapshot of one moment in time.


Powers says most of the cases in Door County are related to family gatherings and being too comfortable in groups while outdoors. She acknowledges that transmissions are less likely while outside, but there is still risk involved. Having three or four cases within extended families adds up over two weeks. Powers says that the compounding effect isn’t being captured during community testing, but can be seen in the numbers reported to the state. It is too early to know what the start of the school year will mean for overall COVID-19 activity in the county.


Clay Banks gets state disaster fund for road

After months of waiting to get financial help in repairing a scenic road in southern Door County, the Town of Clay Banks received good news on the Wisconsin Disaster Fund they applied for earlier this year.  Record high water levels caused severe erosion this spring that under washed and damaged South Lake Michigan Drive.  Town Chair Mike Johnson says he signed and mailed-in the paperwork earlier this week and expects to receive the reimbursement of state funds soon.  The total cost of road repairs completed was over $33,000 with the state covering 70 percent or approximately $23,000.  Johnson adds that the township worked closely with Door County Emergency Management to recoup some of the costs of roadwork from the Wisconsin Disaster Fund.  


Popular restaurants close due to COVID-19

A number of eateries across Door County closed this week due to links to positive COVID-19 tests.


Bearded Heart Coffee, Donny's Glidden Lodge, and Sister Bay Bowl announced on social media that they had a member of their staff test positive for the coronavirus. All three said the staff member that tested positive is doing well, but they are working with the public health department to ensure a safe reopening.


No staff members at Trixie's in Ephraim has tested positive for COVID-19, but one person was linked to a positive case. They will stay closed until potential exposure tests are completed." width="500" height="589" style="border:none;overflow:hidden" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowTransparency="true" allow="encrypted-media">


Cuculi remembered with Youth Bowling Scholarships

The legacy of one of the best bowlers in Door County history will live on September 26.  Pat Cuculi, who passed away two years ago, will be memorialized with a Two Man Baker Doubles Tournament at the bowling alley he ran for 25 years.  Apple Valley Lanes in Sturgeon Bay is hosting the tournament that will benefit the Patrick J. Cuculi Memorial Fund for Youth Bowling Scholarships.  Pat’s daughter Michelle Pfannenstiel says her dad was all about getting youth involved in the sport he loved.




Cuculi operated Apple Valley Lanes from 1985 until 2010 before selling the business to Michelle and her husband Mike. Cuculi competed at the highest level on the PBA Senior Tour and was inducted into the Green Bay and Sturgeon Bay Bowling Hall of Fames.  The deadline to sign up for the bowling tournament is September 19. 




Sturgeon Bay's Under the Stars canceled this Saturday

The popular gathering in downtown Sturgeon Bay on Saturday evenings will have to wait another week.  Due to the forecast of rain on Saturday, Destination Sturgeon Bay announced Friday that the Under the Stars Night Market has been canceled with hopes of better weather next Saturday.  Marketing and Events Director Carly Sarkis says the event has really been received well by all involved.



Sarkis says other than this weekend, the weather and atmosphere at the Under the Stars event has been great.  The weekly night market which started in July is scheduled through October 17. The virtual auction on the Cherries Jubilee street art projects that are now displayed at Martin Park will end next Saturday, September 19.


Area COVID-19 cases up 10 on Friday 

Door and Kewaunee Counties saw another uptick in positive tests for COVID-19 on Friday.  Door County reported six more and a positivity rate of 9.3 percent and no new recoveries so active cases are up to 37.  Kewaunee County added four more coronavirus cases with two recoveries but the positivity rate remained high at 28.5 percent.  Active cases are up to 41 now in Kewaunee County.  Both counties saw one of the biggest seven-day jumps in positive tests this week, with Door adding 30 (176 total) and Kewaunee reporting 39 (total 242) more cases.  Wisconsin reported a positivity rate of 13.75 percent which is slightly lower than earlier this week.  Four more deaths were reported in the state on Friday. 




Shed fire contained quickly

A backfiring lawnmower caused a machine shed to go up in flames Friday afternoon just east of Forestville.  The Southern Door Fire Department was on the scene at 7207 County J shortly after 3:30 pm Friday.  Assistant Fire Chief Randy Massart says the fire started from a lawnmower that backfired and ignited a grassfire that spread into the 30 x 40-foot shed and caused several gas cans to explode causing major damage to a tractor inside.  Fortunately, no one was injured and a good number of volunteer firefighters were able to get to the location quickly.



The quick action to extinguish the fire prevented the blaze from spreading to a nearby home and barn.  The Southern Door Fire Department was on the scene for approximately 45 minutes with assistance from the Brussels-Union-Gardner and Algoma fire departments.




Habitat building on future

In the middle of the woods in Baileys Harbor, Door County Habitat for Humanity is building more than just its 43rd home. Construction Supervisor Chuck Stone is happy with the progress being made on the home being built for the Martin family despite the late start it got on construction. The location of the home required the organization to make sure the proper electrical and septic equipment was installed, something it has not had to worry about during their past home builds in Sturgeon Bay. Stone says building in northern Door County has opened the door for a new base of volunteers to show up to work. He hopes they stick around for future builds.

Stone expects they will be able to have the house fully enclosed within the next week so they can take their work inside. He added they are on pace to finish in the late fall to early winter. On Thursday, Door County Habitat for Humanity raised thousands of dollars for their home build and restoration projects at its annual golf outing at Idlewild Golf Course.

College campuses fighting against COVID outbreaks

Campuses like the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay are trying their best to offer the college experience also protecting itself from COVID-19 related outbreaks. According to the Wisconsin State Journal, UW-Madison has shifted to virtual learning for the next two weeks after 46 different outbreaks were tied to the campus. The university has also locked down two of its dorms after several positive cases popped up in each. UW-Green Bay has had eight positive cases of its own since it began its own testing on campus September 1st according to its COVID-19 dashboard Friday morning. Those numbers only reflect approximately 1,280 students and staff members. The university has instituted a number of safety precautions in response to the coronavirus including an indoor mask mandate, on-campus testing, and limiting its in-person classes and programming. Chancellor Michael Alexander says they have made thousands of decisions over the last six months to get to this point with the help of university, health, and government officials. He is pleased with the reactions staff and students have shown since classes started last week.

Despite the pandemic, Alexander says the university saw its fifth straight year of increased enrollment while the system as a whole saw a one percent decrease. A New York Times survey of 1,500 public and private colleges showed over 51,000 positive cases of COVID-19 at just over 1,000 campuses.


Picture courtesy of UW-Green Bay

Absentee voting decision puts clerks in bind

Thursday’s state Supreme Court decision regarding ballots for the November elections is putting extra stress on municipal clerks in Door and Kewaunee Counties. The Wisconsin Supreme Court voted 4-3 to halt sending out absentee ballots because of possible additions to election materials. Rapper Kanye West and Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins are both in court trying to get added. Kewaunee County Clerk Jamie Annoye says the ballots have already been ordered. A reprint would cost the county another $3,000 plus additional time and money spent reproofing the ballot and recalibrating voting machines. She says without a quick decision from the courts on whether West and Hawkins should be added, it is unlikely local municipal clerks will have their ballots ready to send out for absentee voting.

Door County is sitting on $7,000 worth of ballots waiting to be sent out. Clerk Jill Lau suggests Monday could be the earliest any are able to be put in the mail even without a reprint.

Wisconsin law dictates ballots need to be mailed out by September 16th to absentee voters, which could be more than a million statewide.

Corn crop harvest close to full tilt

Some fields in Door and Kewaunee Counties need just a little bit more time based on the results of Tuesday’s corn dry down event in Rio Creek. Sixty-seven samples were accepted during the event with an average moisture level of 70.22 percent. Kewaunee County UW-Extension Agriculture Agent Aerica Bjurstrom says the recommended moisture level for corn to be harvest is about 65 percent. Farmers are four weeks ahead of last year’s schedule after a wet spring delayed planting and a damp fall pushed back the harvest. Even with the rain the area has received in the past week, Bjurstrom says farmers should be able to harvest their cornfields in the near future.

Bjurstrom cited good pollination for the high quality of corn she was able to see at Tuesday’s dry down. Statewide, 78 percent of the crop is rated as good to excellent according to the USDA. The UW Extension office will hold a second corn dry down event on September 15th at the Door County Cooperative from 9 a.m. to noon. Members of Peninsula Pride Farms met with county land conservation departments and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources on Friday to discuss best practices during this time when many farmers are beginning their harvest and nutrient application seasons.


Screenshot from video below taken by Extension Kewaunee County Agriculture Program



Homeowners upgrading their houses more

Home improvement projects have become even more popular this year as people spend more time around the house.  According to a Bankrate poll, 59 percent of homeowners have already invested $500 or more on improvements around the house this year during the pandemic.  Jeff Dorner, president of the Wisconsin Builders Association and project manager at Van’s Lumber and Custom Builders in Dyckesville, says that the inquiries for quoted jobs are a daily occurrence at work.



Dorner adds that the only issue facing the building world is the price of materials is going up and the availability of prices is not there.  He estimates that the cost of treated lumber has more than doubled in the past few months due to the closure of plants that produced the chemicals to treat the lumber.  Structural sheeting for walls and roofing is also in short supply. 


State Historic Preservation Office weighs in on tower 

The Sturgeon Bay Historical Society is hoping the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources will clarify two issues facing the future of the Potawatomie State Park Tower soon.  President Christie Weber says one of the issues centers on the DNR accepting the findings of Dr. William Tingley who is from outside the state on the structural viability of the tower.  Tingley’s firm is called Wood Research and Development from Jefferson, Oregon, and has done state-approved work in Wisconsin in the past, according to Weber.



Another issue that the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society is trying to have the DNR clarify is that Tingley’s study took into account historical preservation.  The State Historic Preservation Office sent a letter stating that they determined the Potawatomi State Park Tower is eligible for historic status back in December of 2019.  The 88-year-old Potawatomi State Park Tower has been closed to the public since December of 2017.  The Wisconsin DNR had three studies that determined the tower had too much wood rot and decay to be saved.  Tingley's findings commissioned by the SBHS showed that the current tower could be restored for $250,000 beginning as early as this fall, according to Weber.   


Letter of Dr. Tingley's past approved work in the state of Wisconsin


Destination Door County warns of phishing scam

Destination Door County is warning business partners about an email asking for company information to aid marketing efforts.  Organization officials say it's a phishing scam.  The email asks whether business owners or managers would like to acquire an email list of potential clients or business professionals.  It asks simple questions like a target industry, target geography, and target job titles.  Phil Berndt, Destination Door County Membership Director, says responding to such questions could lead to the loss of more sensitive information.



Berndt says Destination Door County will never ask for such information.  Partners should contact the organization directly if they have questions about email contacts.  An example of the emailed letter is below. 







Area COVID-19 cases continue to escalate 

Door and Kewaunee Counties saw an increase of 21 combined positive tests for COVID-19 on Thursday.  Kewaunee County had a spike of 13 new cases and a positivity rate of 28.3 percent while Door County reported eight more and a positivity rate of 7.7 percent.  Door County reported four more recoveries while active cases increased to 31.  A total of 41 active cases remain in Kewaunee County while four recoveries were noted.  Wisconsin hit a new record high for the most COVID-19 cases in a single day with 1547.  Ten more deaths were reported in the state on Thursday.






Liberty Grove moves forward with land purchase

The Town of Liberty Grove is set to purchase approximately 13 acres behind its town hall for future use. Town electors voted 14-6 Wednesday night to buy the property at less than $40,000, which is less than fair market value for the area. Proponents say the land could address area needs like a compost site or attainable housing. Opponents say the town is already spending a lot of money on a recent acquisition of land in Gills Rock where work cannot begin in earnest until 2021. Liberty Grove Town Chairperson John Lowry says now the discussions on what to do with the property can begin.

Lowry added the parcel could be added to a tour being organized by the Door County Economic Development Corporation for contractors to build attainable housing in the area.

Senators differ on proposed coronavirus package

Thoughts on new coronavirus-related aid package fall on party lines when it comes to Wisconsin’s United States senators. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell proposed the approximately $500 billion bill earlier this week, which is about one-seventh of the amount requested in the House-sponsored HEROES Act that passed four months ago. The bill before the Senate included an extension of a federal unemployment benefit and more money for the Paycheck Protection Program, schools, and coronavirus testing. Democrats like Senator Tammy Baldwin says the bill does not go far enough to recognize the struggles caused by the pandemic on the economy and Wisconsin families compared to the $3.4 trillion HEROES Act.

Republicans like Senator Ron Johnson says the bill takes into consideration the billions of dollars unused in previous bills. He is also happy there will be more transparency in the PPP loan distribution process so the businesses that are really hurting get the money they need.

The bill faces an uphill climb in the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives where Speaker Nancy Pelosi has already said it does not come close to addressing the problems and is heading nowhere. 



The bill ended up failing in Senate 52,-47 mostly along party lines.



Shrine celebrates Filipino culture

The National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help will celebrate the world’s third-largest Catholic population this weekend when it hosts its first annual Filipino Ina Weekend. The weekend of worship coincides with a similar celebration in the Philippines that attracts close to two million followers. The Penafrancia Festival and Divino Rostro, which takes place between September 11th and 20th in the Bicol region of the country is considered the biggest Marian pilgrimage in Asia. Shrine Rector Rev. John Broussard hopes local Filipinos make their own pilgrimage to Champion this weekend.

The National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help is hosting a farm to table luncheon on Saturday and two novenas for Divino Rostro and Our Lady of Penafrancia as a part of its Filipino Ina Celebration. The weekend also includes the Harvest Blessing Festival, which prays for the upcoming harvest of the region’s grapes.



Luxemburg-Casco teacher tests positive for COVID-19

In-person classes are still in session after a Luxemburg-Casco High School teacher tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this week. In the message sent to parents, staff, and students Wednesday afternoon, the unidentified teacher is in isolation and will remain there until they are symptom-free for at least 24 hours.  Contact tracing performed by the Kewaunee County Public Health Department determined no staff or students are believed to be classified as a close contact. Speaking to earlier this week after a primary school teacher tested positive before class was in session, Superintendent Glenn Schlender said they are confident with the protocols they have in place for a number of “what if” scenarios.

The school district is encouraging all students and staff to self-monitor themselves for possible symptoms of COVID-19.  Sturgeon Bay School District has sent two second grade classes and the entire first grade into virtual instruction after positive COVID-19 tests were reported at Sawyer Elementary School.

Bank branch consolidations an industry evolution

Some larger Wisconsin banks are merging some of their local branches, though that doesn't mean fewer offices in Door and Kewaunee Counties.  Tim Treml, President, and CEO of the Bank of Luxemburg, believes it's part of a banking industry evolution. Green Bay-based Associated Bank, announced last week the consolidation of 14 branch offices statewide by mid-December.  Treml says even as mergers, online, and mobile banking become common many financial institutions are still committed to community banking.




Treml says his customers make use of online and mobile banking but person to person contact is desired for major financial needs.

Miller Art Museum exceeds funding goal

An annual fundraiser that supports the Miller Art Museum in Sturgeon Bay went better than expected. The 15th annual Art and Treasures sale generated close to $16,000, far above the $12,000 goal.  This year's event was held at an off-site location on Third Avenue due to COVID-19.  Museum Executive Director Elizabeth Meisner-Gigstead says those funds will support the traditional in-person programs and virtual exhibits.




The Art and Treasures sale is also the Miller Art Museum's most popular event, drawing visitors from out of town as well as locally.


Photo courtesy of the Miller Art Museum Website.

Door County businesses in line for federal aid

The Door County Economic Development Corporation has received approval for $550,000 in CARES Act funding from the United States Department of Commerce, which will make its way to local businesses. The establishment of the revolving loan fund has been in the works since May. DCEDC Executive Director Steve Jenkins says applicants are welcome from all industries, but small businesses are the target for the relief. The federal government defines a small business as having fewer than 500 employees. Jenkins says that local companies can expect more information in the coming weeks as far as what they will need to provide to receive a loan. Jenkins says DCEDC is seeking clarification from Commerce’s Economic Development Administration on some issues.


A revolving loan fund means that as companies pay the money back on agreed upon terms, the economic development corporation can enter into new agreements with other applicants. 




U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $550,000 in CARES Act Funding to Capitalize Revolving Loan Fund to Help Small Businesses in Wisconsin Respond to Coronavirus
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $550,000 CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to Door County Economic Development Corporation, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, to capitalize and administer a Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) that will provide critical gap financing to small businesses and entrepreneurs adversely affected by the coronavirus pandemic in Wisconsin.      
“President Trump is working diligently every day to support our nation’s economy following the impacts of COVID-19 through the CARES Act,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “This investment will provide small businesses in Wisconsin with the necessary capital to rebound from the coronavirus pandemic and, in turn, create a stronger and more resilient regional economy for the future.”
“This investment comes at a crucial time to help Wisconsin’s and our nation’s economy come roaring back and provide hard-working Americans with new opportunities,” said Dana Gartzke, Performing the Delegated Duties of the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. “Small businesses are the lifeblood of our communities, and EDA is pleased to invest these CARES Act funds in Door County Economic Development Corporation to capitalize and administer an RLF that will serve coronavirus-impacted businesses in the city of Sturgeon Bay and Door County.”
Door County Economic Development Corporation, a current EDA RLF grantee, is one of the more than 850 existing, high-performing EDA Economic Development District, University Center, Tribal, and RLF grant recipients invited to apply for supplemental funding under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
The CARES Act, signed into law by President Donald J. Trump, provides EDA with $1.5 billion for economic development assistance programs to help communities prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus pandemic.
On May 7, Secretary Ross announced that EDA is accepting applications for CARES Act Recovery Assistance funding opportunities.
EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance, which is being administered under the authority of the bureau’s flexible Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) (PDF) program, provides a wide-range of financial assistance to eligible communities and regions as they respond to and recover from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. For complete information, please visit our recently updated EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance page.
About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.


Door County's COVID-19 activity level back to high

Both Door and Kewaunee Counties reported new COVID-19 cases Wednesday afternoon. Door’s total rose more, up five to 162. There were no recoveries, and active cases are at 27. Door’s COVID-19 activity level is now classified as high by the State of Wisconsin Department of Health Services.


Kewaunee County’s total is at 225, increasing by three. Several recoveries were also registered, causing the number of active cases to fall by four to 32. 


In the State of Wisconsin, 857 new cases were announced, but the positivity rate fell to the lowest level of the week, at 9.7 percent.



Algoma bird celebration goes virtual

The entire month of September is a celebration of World Migratory Bird Day in the month of Algoma, with the event occurring virtually this fall rather than the traditional April date. The theme for 2020 is “Birds connect our world.” Bird City Algoma member Sue Hepp says the organization is looking for personal stories. It could be anything from hand feeding to rescuing or caring for an injured bird. Videos are already pouring in.


Submissions can be found on the group’s website. The traditional April gathering comes complete with guest speakers and vendors, but that had to be canceled due to COVID-19. Hepp says that to retain its title of Bird City, Algoma must put on some kind of event yearly. The virtual celebration fulfills that obligation.




Smaller turkeys could be big business for Thanksgiving

An Associated Press article last week said Americans would need to redefine Thanksgiving for 2020, having smaller gatherings connected by technology rather than the traditional holiday feast. Tadych’s Econofoods Store Manager Jon Calhoun says that he hasn’t heard from customers yet on the issue, but the industry is gearing for changes already. Bird will still be the word, but your turkey may have shed a few pounds from year’s past.


Calhoun says modifying a staple like Thanksgiving dinner takes months of preplanning. Easter hit early on in the COVID-19 pandemic, and consumer buying habits didn’t have time to adjust. Grocery stores are trying to guess what a modified family meal could look like. 


Business development center thrives during pandemic

The economic challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic are not slowing the successes of the Door County Business Center in Sturgeon Bay.  One of the center's long-time clients outgrew its manufacturing space and has relocated to a larger private facility. That's freeing up nearly 2,400 square feet of space for new entrepreneurs. Steve Jenkins, Executive Director of the Door County Economic Development Corporation, says businesses are optimistic about the future and his organization has the tools to help new ventures succeed.


Jenkins also says business development center tenants are still going strong on their own.

Sawyer School closes two 2nd grade classes due to COVID-19

Sturgeon Bay’s Sawyer Elementary school has temporarily closed two sections of second-grade classes due to a staff member having tested positive to COVID-19.  In a letter sent to parents late Tuesday Evening, Sawyer School Principal Ann Smejkal stated that staff members would need to quarantine and that leaves the school without enough instructors to continue in-person learning for two of the four second-grade classrooms. The letter also states that not all students were in close contact with the infected staff member and that public health would call parents if a student was in close contact.  All activities for those two second-grade classes will be posted online for virtual learning.     Principal Smejkal and Superintendent Dan Tjernagel were not available for comment on Wednesday morning.  



Letter is below.


Attention second grade parents.  Late tonight I received notice that a staff member in second grade has tested positive for Covid.  Due to this, I do not have sufficient staff to have your child attend school tomorrow or until further notice.  I am sorry for the late message but I wanted you to know before morning.  If your child was a close contact to this person you will receive a call from public health.  Not all students were close contacts, but staff members were, thus I am closing  both Mr. Grooters and Ms. Hagen's classes until I have word from public health that we can resume in school learning.  Mr. Grooters and Ms. Hagen will be posting on-line activities in SeeSaw.  They will be in communication with you.  Thank you for your understanding as we attempt to keep everyone safe.


Ann Smejkal, Sawyer School Principal


Statement from Superintendent Dan  Tjernagel

Late yesterday evening a Sawyer staff member who works in a 2nd grade classroom notified Principal Ann Smejkal that the person had just learned of a positive test result.  Our public health liaison could not be reached at that point in the evening, but to try to avoid a situation with families and staff scrambling this morning, Principal Smejkal, our school nurse, and I agreed it was best to move the most-impacted 2nd grade classroom, as well as another 2nd grade classroom that a different staff member shared time with to 100% virtual right away.  Principal Smejkal sent out SchoolMessenger communications to the families with students in the two classrooms last night and communicated with teachers, etc. 


This morning, members of the nurse team, public health, and Principal Smejkal met to make sure all the necessary information was assembled so contact tracing and any appropriate next steps could occur.  

Parents need to know kids are okay –Mental Health Minute

With children returning to local schools in one form or another, a Sturgeon Bay psychologist strongly encourages parents to help their children talk about their feelings on a regular basis.  The positives and negatives of returning to the classrooms are being complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Dr. White says some students look at the return to school as a form of refuge while others fear the bullying that they might have experienced in the past.  He notes that it is vitally important for young children to express their feelings to their parents.



Dr. White adds that parents that are worried about their child should reach out for guidance with the changing landscape of remote therapy and telemental health.  A good start can be a pediatrician because they often have a sense of what is available with recommendations around mental health providers. 


The entire Mental Health Minute with Dr. White is below.




Local musician singing to "young at heart"

A Kewaunee County musician is getting a great response from his new audiences this summer, including a 105-year-old woman in Allouez.  Mike Peterson of Kewaunee, like other entertainers, has been greatly impacted by restrictions set down to deal with COVID-19.  On Tuesday, Peterson was grateful to be able to perform at an assisted living facility and sing to Edna and other residents at Allouez Sunrise.  Not knowing that he was going to be able to perform for Edna for her fourth consecutive birthday, Peterson shares why he loves to continue to entertain for the elderly.



 Peterson sang requested songs of “Side by Side” and “Five foot two, eyes of blue”, and a truly appropriate one for Tuesday.



Peterson says outside arrangements with social distancing and face masking made the special birthday event possible as well as very memorable.


(photo submitted)  


Ephraim Historical Foundation appoints new director

Frequently visiting Door County as a child, Kelly Klobucher, the new Ephraim Historical Foundation executive director, is already comfortable in her new position.  Klobucher, who has over ten years of executive leadership in museums and non-profit organizations, moved from Illinois and started her job as the executive director last Monday.  Growing up in Starved Rock County and most recently served as the Executive Director for the Illinois Association of Museums, Klobucher says Door County should be a perfect fit for her.



Klobucher is an Illinois State University graduate and is a Not For Profit Certified professional.  The Ephraim Historical Foundation was founded in 1949 and oversees five museums that share the heritage and stories of the people of Ephraim.  The museums are not open this summer due to COVID-19 precautions but plan on reopening in 2021, according to Klobucher. 


Listen to the entire podcast interview with Kelly Klobucher here





(photo submitted)


Door and Kewaunee sees surge in positive tests

Door and Kewaunee saw big jumps in COVID-19 positive cases over the weekend as reporting shows Kewaunee County added 19 positive cases (222 total) with 11 new recoveries, while Door County reported nine cases (157 total) with four recoveries.  Kewaunee County’s positivity rate was 18.8 percent on Monday while Door County showed a positivity rate of 8.5 percent.   Active cases show to be 36 in Kewaunee County and 22 in Door County.  The Department of Health Services reported no new coronavirus deaths in the state on Monday for the third day in a row.  The percentage of tests that came back positive was the highest ever at 17.6 percent. 






Gibraltar opens school year virtually

The final first day of school in Door County began on Tuesday with hundreds of Gibraltar students learning from home. Gibraltar Area Schools was the only district to not open the year with some kind of in-person component. The district opted for a threshold plan that will correspond with the COVID-19 activity level for the county and the number of new cases at the schools once in-person classes resume. Gibraltar Secondary School principal Gereon Methner says the teachers worked hard to improve on their digital teaching this fall to include more opportunities to engage with their students. He adds the district invested in their teachers to help them teach more effectively as well.

Methner says 28 is the magic number for families wishing to see their kids go back to the Fish Creek campus for classes. As long as the number of new cases in Door County over a two-week span stays under that number, parents would have the option to send their kids to school. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services updates its COVID-19 activity level every Wednesday, which is when Gibraltar will make its call for classes beginning September 14th.

Baileys Harbor church continuing to serve

Though their doors have been largely shut since March due to the pandemic, the hearts are still open at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Baileys Harbor. Like many churches across the country, Immanuel Lutheran Church has been to worship with people via Facebook Live. Their outreach services have also been keeping busy, helping provide money and food directly to families in need throughout the county. Frank Christensen from Immanuel Lutheran Church says its annual electronics and home appliance recycling drive does a lot to help those initiatives while providing a service to the community.

Immanuel Lutheran Church in Baileys Harbor will host their recycling event on September 19th from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Libraries turning the page for safety

The Kewaunee Public Library is getting a little closer to normal as the need for their services rise. Tuesday marked the first day of a new schedule for the library, which will be open Monday-Friday in the future. Precautions like wearing a face mask, quarantining materials, and a ten person capacity will remain in effect. As for computer usage, Kewaunee Public Library Director Carol Petrina says that is by appointment only.

Petrina says it worked with the Algoma Public Library to develop best practices moving forward to keep its visitors safe and still provide quality programming. Patrons not comfortable with coming inside can still use curbside pickup for materials and use the library’s Wi-Fi from the parking lot. Some libraries like the Brown County Public Library System have had to discourage kids from spending lots of time in the buildings for school work and other reasons due to coronavirus concerns.


Screenshot from Kewaunee Public Library video featured below



Four boaters rescued off Nicolet Bay

Two kayakers and two paddleboarders found themselves paddling against choppy waters Sunday afternoon before they had to be rescued. Emergency personnel were called just after 2:30 p.m. after people at Nicolet Bay Beach spotted the four kids struggling out in the water. Wind speeds were approximately 25-30 miles an hour, creating poor water conditions for the boaters. A Good Samaritan, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Ephraim Fire Department, Gibraltar Fire and Rescue were able to rescue the children without further incident. Gibraltar Fire Chief Andy Bertges says it serves as a reminder to check the weather before you go out and to always have a personal floatation device.

Ephraim Fire Chief Justin MacDonald says they were able to prevent a stray 33 foot catamaran from going further out into the water on their way back from the call. The water rescue was part of a busy weekend for Door County Dispatch workers. Over 250 calls were received over the holiday weekend including 83 between 7:30 a.m. Saturday and 6 a.m. Sunday.

Court dishes out legal win to food truck

The White Cottage Red Door shop in Gibraltar remains closed due to COVID-19, but the past week has been a good one. The retailer took on town hall and won in a case that has received national attention. The store's attorneys included representatives from the Institute for Justice, based in Arlington, Virginia, along with Randy Nesbitt from Sturgeon Bay's Pinkert Law Firm. Judge Todd Ehlers ruled Thursday that the Town of Gibraltar's ordinances put an undue economic burden on food truck operations. White Cottage Red Door had proposed to set up a mobile kitchen in its parking lot and secured all of the necessary permits to begin cooking in 2018. Just as the burners got turned up, Gibraltar passed new restrictions that subjected the food truck to fines of $500 per day. It enacted another ordinance in 2019 that was also struck down.

White Cottage Red Door did not open this season, and will not do so even with the recent court win. The goal is to be back for summer 2021 while serving up some on-the-go meals on the side. More information can be found at the White Cottage Red Door Facebook post below.


Photo courtesy of the White Cottage Red Door Facebook page.


Potential consequences from campaign office vandalism

A week after the vandalism of the Door County Republican chapter campaign headquarters, a suspect has been cited, but potential consequences remain. Volunteers were out early last Sunday, washing away the graffiti and helping to paint over it in other spots. In this particular case, overall damage seems minimal, but the prevention of a future incident is already hitting the GOP pocketbook. Chair Stephanie Soucek has installed surveillance cameras on the property, which is temporarily leased to the Door County Republicans for the election season. Soucek says that given the county's vast geographic footprint and its split political loyalties, a vigorous campaign is needed on both sides. A physical location to help organize volunteers and "get out the vote" efforts helps immensely. Soucek says the worry for her is what happens if vandalism becomes more than a rare, one-off occurrence. There may come a point where landlords shy away from having political organizations as tenants. Another possibility is that insurance could rise until it stops making financial sense to have a campaign headquarters.


Soucek and her Democratic counterpart, David Hayes, have met in the past week to help craft a united statement urging respect for the political beliefs of everyone. Both parties' local chapters operate out of locations on Egg Harbor Road and Jefferson Street in Sturgeon Bay, separated by less than a mile. The Republican Party of Kewaunee County has echoed those sentiments in recent days.


Two Door County blood drives this week

The Community Blood Center will be teaming up with two Door County organizations late this week for events. On Thursday, a drive starts at 10 AM at the Destination Door County office on Green Bay Road in Sturgeon Bay. The Northern Door YMCA in Fish Creek hosts the following day, beginning at noon. The Community Blood Center is unique in that it ensures that blood donated by a community stays local for the needs of your neighbors and friends, rather than being sent across the state or region. YMCA Executive Director Tom Beerntsen reminds those interested that registration is required in advance, as a safety precaution against COVID-19.


Larger cities like Milwaukee began reporting a severe blood shortages since this spring. Door County supplies have fared better, but they are beginning to tighten up.


Wisconsin reports first equine encephalitis death

Just as the Labor Day weekend kicked off, the State of Wisconsin reported the first human death associated with eastern equine encephalitis, a mosquito-borne disease. It occurred in Chippewa County in the western part of the state. The condition is typically rare in Wisconsin, causing only three deaths in over five decades between 1964 and 2018, according to figures from the Department of Health Services. That makes last week's announcement noteworthy. Typically, eastern equine encephalitis is more prevalent along the Atlantic seaboard and the southeastern United States. Mosquitoes get the virus from birds and pass it along to other animals or humans when they bite. It is particularly harmful to horses. The Department of Health Services says it is important to remember that the disease cannot spread between animals and humans or from human-to-human contact. Door County Sanitarian Chelsea Smies is asking residents to limit areas where mosquitoes can breed on your property, and be picky about when you are outside.


Mosquito activity in the area typically remains high through the end of the month. A cold snap this week will reduce high temperatures into the low to mid-fifties, but they are not expected to dip enough overnight for a heavy frost or freeze to occur.


Iowa storm's effects on crop prices still unknown

As harvest season kicks into high gear ahead of an expected cool down this week, Door and Kewaunee County farmers are still waiting to find out what effect last month's devastating wind storm in Iowa will have on crop prices. The derecho produced winds well over 100 miles per hour over a large part of the state's growing acreage. The gusts were stirred up for hours, bursting grain bins, and causing enough damage to garner a state of emergency declaration. Agriculture agent Aerica Bjurstrom says it is still too soon to tell how much of that crop was lost.


Prior to the Iowa storm, predictions were for a record corn harvest across the country. Area farmers are over three weeks ahead of last year's schedule. Many are already making plans to do a second planting season, growing cover crops throughout the winter to help reduce soil erosion.


Sevastopol freshman completes Eagle project

With the help of 45 donors and 25 volunteers, Sevastopol freshman and Troop 1022 Assistant Senior Patrol Leader Ezra Linnan put the final touches on his Eagle Scout project on Thursday. The 100-foot boardwalk through a section of Crossroads at Big Creek will allow people of all abilities to explore a muddy area of the site. The project also includes a boot-washing station so hikers can do their part to not spread invasive species elsewhere. The final touch was a plaque to scouter David Hirn, who passed away earlier this year. Volunteers put in over 100 hours of work into the project while donations surpassed over $3,500. Linnan was appreciative of the support his project received.

While the project is done, the coveted Eagle Scout award is not earned quite yet. Linnan says he still has to earn a couple of merit badges and go through a final review of his project before he achieves Scouting's highest rank.


Pictures provided by Sean Linnan


Sevastopol looks at reining in short-term rentals

The Town of Sevastopol Plan Commission wants to put some restrictions on short-term rental properties. Chairwoman Linda Wait says complaints from residents are mounting, with noise issues being the most common problem. A short-term rental is defined as anything less than 30 days. Hotels, motels, traditional bed and breakfasts, and others would be exempt from the oversight. VRBO and Airbnb are becoming ever more popular, up to 80 locations in Sevastopol and over a thousand in Door County, and they would be covered.

Wait says the discussion was preliminary in nature, and no final regulations have been decided on. She says to expect a thorough vetting process, including a legal review and a public comment period, when the township is ready to move forward. Several proposals were bandied about, including creating a new township position to help adjudicate disputes.


A complete list of suggestions can be heard below.

Photo courtesy of Town of Sevastopol website.

Vaccines finding their way to rural areas

U.S.  Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services Eric Hargan says vaccines will get to everyone that wants one, including rural areas like Door County. Hargan was in Sturgeon Bay on Friday touting President Donald Trump’s new Rural Action Plan, which addresses ways to improve healthcare in such settings. Within the last week, China, Russia, and the United States have announced they have vaccines developed that could be released in the coming months. The vaccines would likely go first to some of the most vulnerable populations including front-line workers. Hargan says they are ordering a vaccine for every American, but there will, as always, be challenges for rural hospitals.

Hargan is hopeful Americans will trust the vaccine once it is released for Americans, citing the exhaustive work the Food and Drug Administration has put into clinical trials. The team behind developing the vaccine initiative called Operation Warp Speed says high-risk populations might be able to get vaccinated by the end of 2020 with mass immunizations by the middle of 2021. Over the weekend, positive tests in Door and Kewaunee Counties went up to 147 and 207 respectively according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. More detailed numbers should be released by the individual counties later in the day.

More help coming to area jobless

Unemployed and underemployed residents in Door and Kewaunee counties may soon receive some additional aid through the federal government.  The Federal Emergency Management Agency approved Wisconsin's application for a Lost Wages Assistance grant.  That will give those who've lost jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic $300 in additional weekly assistance.  Department of Workforce Development Secretary Caleb Frostman says that will help people who lost the $600 in federal supplemental unemployment funding August 1st.




Qualifying recipients will be notified by DWD.  Lost Wages Assistance will be payable retroactive to August 1st.

New look to Juried Annual winners

Curator Helen del Guidice says that it is clear that COVID-19 provided inspiration for the entries in this year’s ‘Juried Annual’ at the Miller Art Museum. It goes beyond themes into materials used.


In a more traditional field, photography tends to be the most popular entry. There are two ways to see entrant pieces. The first is Miller’s new virtual gallery, which can be found on the museum’s website after September 14th. The other option is to visit in person Thursday through Saturday and Mondays at 107 4th Avenue in Sturgeon Bay. 

Del Guidice says that there are few rules for the competition. The biggest being no three-dimensional pieces are allowed, like sculptures. The exhibit will be on display through October 19th.


The winners for all categories can be seen here.




Zoobilee a no go for Bruemmer Park Zoo

The Bruemmer Park Zoo in Kewaunee has canceled its' biggest fundraiser due to the pandemic.  The Zoobilee was scheduled for October 3rd.  David Myers, Kewaunee County Promotions and Recreation Director, says the cancelation came despite some busy weekends this summer.  He says, however, public safety concerns mandated that Zoobilee be canceled.




Myers says zoo officials may meet later this month to consider other safe fundraising options that may be available.


Photo courtesy of Bruemmer Park Zoo website.

Gibraltar schools staff learn ABC's of fire safety

The month of September is starting with virtual classes, but in-person safety training for Gibraltar School District staff. Fire Chief Andy Bertges got some help from his daughter to make sure teachers, administrators, and employees were able to conduct COVID-19 appropriate fire extinguisher coaching. Bertges says it is a back-to-school tradition, and that the modifications for public health were minimal. The lessons taught apply to everyone, says Bertges.


Those tips may be particularly applicable this year. Northern Door County has seen a lot of visitors over the summer months, and that has contributed to a spike in calls for the Gibraltar Fire Department. That echoes data reported by Chief Justin MacDonald of Ephraim and Chris Hecht with Sister Bay/Liberty Grove. 


Ephraim wants better regional planning for events

The Village of Ephraim’s Marinas and Moorings Committee met on Wednesday morning, with the main topic of how to handle overflow traffic from professional fishing tournaments like the one held in Sturgeon Bay last month. Roy Ehlquist from Wilson’s Ice Cream Shop petitioned the committee specifically about having to barricade off a lot dedicated to his establishment from overflow trailer parking at the marina. Members noted that having a nationally prominent event in the heart of the summer season created significant problems. Administrator Brent Bristol says Ephraim’s elevation changes make remote parking difficult.


The issues happened the weekend before the tournament. Once it kicked off, all participants launched from the host city, in this case, Sturgeon Bay. Some ideas that were presented included new signage on the state highway warning fishermen that parking on the shoulder could result in the towing of their trailers by the Department of Transportation. Additionally, an ordinance mandating that the tournament organizers provide transportation from downtown parking to the marina via shuttle was suggested. No final determination was made, and the committee will be reaching out to Gary Nault of Sturgeon Bay to see what kind of regional cooperation can be done.

Major League Fishing was supposed to have the event in Vermont, but COVID-19 restrictions forced it to relocate. The tournament was a smashing success from a results perspective. Several records were set for the amount of bass reeled in, both on an individual and cumulative basis. A return visit is expected from the tour.


Algoma retailing thriving despite COVID-19

Downtown Algoma stores are doing as well as can be expected during the pandemic.  Some shops still see strong sales while others have seen business fall off.  So, the Algoma Area Chamber of Commerce is looking to draw customers downtown through a number of promotions.  Executive Director Kay Smith says the hope is to play off of strong visitor traffic from local attractions to make up for other events that would normally help generate retail sales.




The chamber will host a socially-distanced downtown Algoma Sidewalk Sale from 10:00 AM until 5:00 PM on September 19th.


Photo courtesy of the Algoma Area Chamber of Commerce.

Community embraces Graham Park renovations

Destination Sturgeon Bay says the Graham Park project is still on track for completion next spring. Executive Director Pam Seiler says the centerpiece of the renovation is a fountain being built by local artist Rob Soukup with assistance from marine engineer Tim Graul. That should be the last piece installed.


Graham Park is located on the east waterfront next to Oregon Street. The beautification is the first initiative launched under the Sturgeon Bay “Adopt a Park” program. All of the work is privately funded, much of it small donations from the community. Destination Sturgeon Bay has sold out of tree and bench sponsorships, but brick pavers can still be ordered through Tuesday. Seiler hopes this becomes a model for other parks in the city.



Photos courtesy of Destination Sturgeon Bay.


Libraries take stand for freedom to read

At the end of the month, the Door County Library and national organizations will be taking a stand against censorship with Banned Books Week. Each year, the American Library Association compiles a list of the most challenged books. It creates a curriculum around why they are controversial, as well as why it is crucial for them to be available to the public. Community Relations Librarian Morgan Mann says the ability to navigate uncomfortable conversations is vitally important today, given the current struggle around thorny topics like race relations. Mann says the issue affects books aimed at all age groups and belief systems.


More information can be found here.


US Geological Survey studying depth to bedrock in the area

Residents of western Kewaunee County and southern Door can expect to hear the rotors of a low-flying helicopter in the coming months. The US Geological Survey will be doing aerial depth to bedrock measurements using an electromagnetic apparatus shaped like a torpedo. Traditionally, the work is done by hand using a manual drill, which is costly and cannot cover a large area. Counties tend to fund the work individually, leaving a patchwork of results featuring locations with great data bordering more incomplete information sets. 


The work is being done by USGS, focusing on the western edge of the Niagara escarpment. Surveying is set from Fond du Lac to Sturgeon Bay.  The bid is still out, meaning data collection won’t happen for a couple of months. Physical scientist Matt Komiskey presented to the Door County Land Conservation Committee on Thursday. The aerial method struggles with measurements where topsoil is extremely thin. Komiskey says that means Door County numbers could be unreliable and are meant to be only a part of the overall picture, along with other surveys.


Even in the southern end of the county, depth to bedrock is estimated at around 24 inches, or two feet. Aerial electromagnetic surveying has been used in industries such as oil and natural gas exploration to find new resource deposits. Komiskey says this is a more recent use for the innovative technology.


Sawyer's first grade to go virtual

First graders at Sawyer Elementary School in Sturgeon Bay will have virtual instruction for the immediate future due to a reported COVID-19 test among its staff first reported by WDOR. According to an out-of-office email received from Sturgeon Bay School District Superintendent Dan Tjernagel, parents were notified of the decision at the end of the district's first week of classes. First graders will be remote learning for approximately two weeks, while second graders will be able to attend classes at Sawyer Elementary. 


It was previously reported that the entire school would be closed due to the positive test, rather than just the first grade. regrets the error.


The news came after Luxemburg-Casco Superintendent Glenn Schlender told the USA Today Network-Wisconsin that it had a primary school teacher begin the year teaching remotely after testing positive for COVID-19 before classes were back in session.

Homeowners gamble with their docks

Second homeowners are planning to stick around Door County this fall, and they are electing to keep their docks in the water. With work and school being done remotely because of COVID-19, there is less incentive for families to return to their primary residence after Labor Day, generally viewed as the unofficial end of summer. Judy Kerwin, from Bayside Dock, says the company is hearing from many that they want their piers to remain in place until late September or even October, but that carries with it significant risk. Kerwin says properties on the bay and Lake Michigan can be vulnerable to fall storms.


Just last year, two wind storms on Lake Michigan wreaked havoc in the middle of October. Severe erosion in western Michigan and northern Indiana wiped out dunes and threatened homes. Door and Kewaunee shorefront saw waves over 10 feet. Kerwin warns that if that kind of weather kicks up again, property management companies will be unable to get to everyone in time.


Pandemic aid money en route to child care centers

Child care and early education center in Door and Kewaunee counties will be getting more money to offset losses from the pandemic.  Governor Tony Evers says an additional $30-million in federal CARES Act funding will go to daycare providers through the Department of Children and Families.  Karen Corekin-DeLamer, with the Northern Door Children's Center i Sister Bay, says that money will be helpful in light of falling enrollment.




At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the governor's office says 40-percent of Wisconsin's licensed child care and early education centers closed their doors.

Popular recycling event set for September 12th

Sister Bay and Liberty Grove residents will have a chance to drop off documents, electronics, and other household waste items, rain or shine, next Saturday. The municipalities are jointly hosting a shred/recycle/prescription pill disposal event at the Liberty Grove Town Hall on Old Stage Road. Deputy Clerk/Treasurer Doug Curzon says it provides an excellent opportunity to get rid of items at a reasonable cost. Document shredding and the recycling of most electronics are free. Copiers, printers, large screen televisions, and items containing refrigerants can all be disposed of for under $50. Curzon says the fees are commensurate with the additional costs associated with those items.


There usually are two events per year, but June’s was canceled due to COVID-19 concerns. Additionally, the shred and recycling days have boomed in popularity in recent years, meaning that a heavy turnout is expected on the 12th between 9 AM and 1 PM. Curzon is asking that only residents of the two municipalities attend. If you live in other northern Door County communities, you will be turned away.

Door County Sheriff’s Department members will be on hand to take care of prescription drug disposal. Curzon says he hopes the weather cooperates, although the event will happen no matter what Mother Nature has in store.


Photo from June 2015 event.


New look for Kewaunee Historical Center

The Kewaunee County Historical Society hopes visitors appreciate the new look at the group’s revamped location on Ellis Street in downtown Kewaunee, before taking a step into the past. Vice President Richard Dorner says that, in addition to a new eye-catching awning,  just about every facet of the building’s exterior has gotten an overhaul recently.


While COVID-19 has put a halt to plans for many area historical societies, Kewaunee’s continues to improve the overall visitor experience, even as traffic lags. Inside, new lighting has been installed, and the ceiling has a fresh paint job. Dorner hopes that a new handicap accessible entrance will be in by the end of the fall. The center is open Thursday and Friday, along with most Saturdays. Dorner says even with staff taking precautions, there is still a long way to go before activity at the History Center could be considered normal.

The Historical Society will be taking part in an outdoor artisan market on Saturday, September 12th, put on by their neighbor, The Blue Door Pub. Shoppers can choose from various antiques and memorabilia, with the proceeds set to help fund the new wheelchair entrance.


Photo courtesy of the Kewaunee County Historical Society Facebook page.


Door County Land Trust and The Ridges consider merging

The Door County Land Trust in Sturgeon Bay and The Ridges Sanctuary near Baileys Harbor are considering becoming one organization.  The boards of both organizations have started preliminary talks on a merger proposal.  Land Trust Board President Donna Denardo believes the arrangement would allow the groups to build upon their respective strengths for education, research, and preservation of Door County lands and waters.




The Land Trust and the Ridges have worked together on past resource protection efforts. The Ridges Board President Linda Brooks says preliminary consolidation talks came as a result of discussions about the pandemic.




Public input is being sought before a final decision is made.  Comments will be accepted by emailing or


Land Trust Board of Directors photo courtesy of the group's website.

There's Still Some Great Fishing and Kayaking in the Fall

Sometimes I’m smallmouth bass fishing until early December, but, usually at least into November.  After that last cast of the season, I’m usually OK for about a month, but then I’m already looking forward to opening day next season.  Fortunately, I have fishing articles to write and PowerPoint presentations to update for the various sports shows I speak at, but it’s just not the same as being on the water.  


How does summer go so fast?  And, as I get older it seems to go faster.  Wasn’t it just the other day that I was hitting the waters of Door County to start the season in early May, and, now it’s Labor Day Weekend!  The good news is, don’t put those kayaks and that fishing gear away yet.   September and October, and even into November can be outstanding months to get out and view our Door County beauty from your kayak, and it’s a great time for fishing.  I just read that we are the number one location in the Midwest for viewing the fall colors from the water.  I’ve done it many times and it’s spectacular.  Pick a day with light winds and you have dozens of great locations to paddle and enjoy the beauty.


I’ve talked about this in the past, but as we got into summer many of the bigger smallies go deeper, which is a challenge for anglers in boats or kayaks.  However, as the water cools those smallies begin to come back in shallow.  Probably not as shallow as in the spring, but in a normal fall, you’ll find them in the 8’ to 15’ range.  For my fall fishing, I’m still using the Ned Rig with the Z-Man soft plastics as well as tube jigs.  The local tackle shop carries the items I mentioned as well as knowing some of the better spots for those fall smallies.  


Two points of caution with fall kayaking and fishing from a kayak.  Be sure to wear proper cold-weather gear and be sure to check the forecast related to the wind.  I am only kayaking and fishing close to shore just in case of an emergency.  It’s been great sharing my thoughts about kayaking and kayak fishing with you again this year, and, as always, if you have any questions email me at


(photo of 4.5 pound bass caught and released last week)



Food pantries looking for donations as fall demand starts

The increasing demand for restocking the shelves at the Kewaunee County Food Pantry has the organization reaching out in new and creative ways.  Friday was National Food Bank Day and President Ken Marquardt says he has seen many more new faces utilizing the panty’s services since March. 



Marquardt adds that the pantry could use more canned vegetables because of the short supply experience last summer.  The Kewaunee County Food Pantry has a rummage sale next week from Thursday through Sunday.  All proceeds from the sale will go towards operational costs and purchasing foods from Feeding America that are in short supply at the pantry. 


(photo courtesy of 


Local restaurants planning for indoor dining season

Diners are slowly coming back to restaurants as the fall season approaches. After the “Safer at Home” order ended in May, many local restaurants have creatively used outdoor seating to offset capacity limits for inside dining rooms. A substantial increase in delivery and takeout services with online ordering has helped some restaurants pivot from the pre-COVID-19 economic model to a sustainable business. According to a survey by, national restaurant-industry revenues have recovered about 25 percent of the 50 percent drop in sales in April. Jason Estes of Sonny’s Italian Kitchen & Pizzeria in Sturgeon Bay shares his plan to maximize dine-in as the weather gets colder and inside capacity, limits remain in place.



Estes adds that his and other area restaurants have taken similar measures to try and ease anxiety diners may have about eating out by implementing rigorous sanitization, personal protective equipment for employees, and installing separation between tables. He credits his staff for stepping up this summer to meet the demand since Door County was not able to employ J-1 Visa students from oversees working here.



Tanck "School Forest Award" recipient

An ecological reserve initiative in Sevastopol is bringing teacher Brooke Tanck much deserved recognition.  Tanck, gifted and talented coordinator at Sevastopol, was instrumental in rejuvenating the Sevastopol Schools Eco-Lab into an outdoor learning space.  Superintendent Kyle Luedtke says the passion of revitalizing the reserve, which remained dormant for many years, was a collaboration between Tanck and second-grade teacher Katie Grooters, who nominated her for the Wisconsin School Forest Award.



The Wisconsin School Forest Award is part of the LEAF Program, a K-12 forestry educational partnership between the DNR and the UW- Stevens Point.  The Eco-Lab is located off of Dunn Road in the 67-acres of reserve land.  Tanck will formally receive her award on Wednesday, September 23 during a 2 PM ceremony at the Eco-Lab, weather permitting.


(photo courtesy of      


Door County COVID cases up four as Kewaunee pace cools

Door County reported four new COVID-19 cases on Friday afternoon, bringing the overall total to 146 with active infections at fifteen. That pushes Door back towards a high COVID-19 activity level. There was also one recovery.

Kewaunee County only had two new cases, the total at now at 203. That compares to seven recoveries causing the number of active infections to fall to 28, its lowest level of the week. 

Statewide, Wisconsin reported its largest single-day caseload to date with 1,498 infections. The Department of Health Services said the huge number, 333 above the previous record, was due to a reporting error. Several results from Monday night through Wednesday were not tallied until late Thursday.





Volunteers proving more crucial at Door-Tran

Door-Tran is finding out that despite concerns about the pandemic, people in Door County still need to get around. The number of requested rides have been slowly picking back up as people become more comfortable getting around. Many of Door-Tran’s volunteer drivers have sat on the sidelines since the pandemic started as a part of the at-risk population. Thanks to a loyal stable of volunteers spread throughout the county, interim executive director Nikki Voight says the need in the community is still being met, though they are getting overworked.

Voight says volunteers do get reimbursed for their mileage and are given the necessary materials needed to give their riders and themselves safe. So far this year, Door-Tran’s volunteer drivers have provided the equivalent of $9,200 in donated time. You can contact Door-Tran for more information on how you can become a volunteer driver.

Plan looks to boost rural healthcare

Efforts of rural hospitals could get a boost through a federal initiative announced at Door County Medical Center Friday.  Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Eric Hargan and Rep. Mike Gallagher came to Sturgeon Bay Friday to discuss some of the highlights of the Rural Action Plan. The strategy addresses a number of areas of concern for rural communities including access to mental health services, growth of telemedicine, and chronic disease burden.  Telemedicine has expanded in recent months due to the pandemic, growing from 14,000 beneficiaries in the first week of March to over 10 million now nationwide. Hargan says some of the other action points that are a part of the plan can have a real impact on rural communities.

 Door County Medical Center has seen that aspect as well, going from virtually zero to approximately 2,000 patients.  President and CEO Brian Stephens is happy to have partners at the federal and state levels support their efforts so they can better serve the community.

Stephens credits the work of Door County Medical Center’s physicians for helping with the early success of its telemedicine efforts. Rep. Gallagher hopes the growth of telemedicine serves as a catalyst for current legislation regarding broadband internet in rural areas.



Planting closely following harvest

Farmers in Door and Kewaunee Counties are spending a lot of time in their fields this week thanks to the good weather. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, corn is about a month ahead of last year, and two weeks in front of the five-year average. At eight percent of the corn crop harvest for silage, that puts many farmers as much as three weeks ahead of last year. Many operators are taking advantage of the extra time to plant cover crops like winter wheat and triticale for extra forage and for soil conservation efforts. Agronomist Nate Nysse says Peninsula Pride Farms members have seen some success with different strategies over the years.

Peninsula Pride Farms members planted over 10,000 acres of cover crops in 2019 thanks to a number of cost-share programs made possible by state grants. Farmers wishing to try cover crops this fall can apply for a cost-share grant through the organization before September 15th.


Picture courtesy of Tilth Agronomy




State park attendance, revenues up

Despite not being able to offer daily admission passes until Friday, visitors have been flocking to Wisconsin’s state parks including the four open in Door County. State park attendance in 2020 is about 10 percent ahead of last year’s pace and the DNR has already sold more annual passes than they did in all of 2019. The high attendance and revenue marks occurred despite state parks being completely shut down for about a month due to the pandemic, some like Rock Island State Park not even opening, and camping not being allowed until June 10th. Missy VanLanduyt from the Wisconsin DNR says people have been clamoring for daily passes for a while, but it was not until they got the necessary procedures and equipment in place that they could.

Restrictions are still in place at Wisconsin State Parks including keeping some buildings closed and canceling special events and activities. Those looking to buy daily passes for their state park visits can do so at electronic pay stations, self-registration spots, and drive-up window locations.

Tips on safe holiday travel

For those hitting the road this Labor Day weekend, AAA and local law enforcement are offering tips and advice to arrive safely to your destination.  The COVID-19 pandemic has changed many aspects of travel and could impact the number of visitors to the Door Peninsula.  Door County Chief Deputy Pat McCarty encourages you to always drive defensively and give yourself plenty of room behind the vehicle in front of you.  He says speed is one of the major factors in highway accident fatalities. 



McCarty also advises drivers to plan in advance any travel over the busy holiday weekend and allow plenty of time to get to your destination in and around Door County with the expected increase in traffic.  AAA travel experts are not making predictions this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but do expect more last-minute travel this weekend. 



Safety tips from American Trucking Associaton's America Road Team Captains:


  • Prepare your vehicle for long distance travel. Check your wipers and fluids. Have your radiator and cooling system serviced. Simple maintenance can prevent many of the problems that strand motorists on the side of the road.
  • Plan ahead. Before you get on a highway, know your exit by name and number, and watch the signs as you near the off-ramp. Drivers making unexpected lane changes to exit often cause accidents.
  • Don’t cut in front of large trucks. Remember that trucks are heavier and take longer to make a complete stop, so avoid cutting quickly in front of them.
  • Use a map or GPS. Surprisingly, few motorists plan their routes, even when driving through unfamiliar areas. Knowing the road is essential for safe driving – it allows you to anticipate lane changes and avoid a panicked search for directions.
  • Leave early and avoid risks. Leave early and allow for delays in your travel schedule. Know your limitations; don’t drive when tired, upset or physically ill.
  • Be aware of trucks’ blind spots. When sharing the road with large trucks, be aware of their blind spots. If you can’t see the truck driver in his or her mirrors, then the truck driver can’t see you.


Algoma beach improvements begin next Tuesday

Algoma’s lakefront will have a new look soon.  The City of Algoma will have major work done by Crescent Beach starting after Labor Day.  The project will be re-routing stormwater that is currently running directly into Lake Michigan on the north side of Crescent Beach that is coming from Lake Street.  Public Works Director Matt Murphy shares details of the contracted work that will include two ponds.



Parking lots east of the Algoma Youth Club will need to be reconfigured and extended to the north to make room for the retention ponds.  Robert E. Lee & Associates will be the engineers overseeing the construction site while Peters Concrete doing the construction.  The $260,000 project was totally funded through an EPA grant and is expected to be completed by mid-November.



Swimmer's itch hits Kangaroo Lake

Some people swimming in Kangaroo Lake came out of the water with more than a refreshing dip lately.  The Door County Public Health stated Wednesday that community members reported symptoms of swimmer’s itch, an itchy rash, recently after going into the waters of Kangaroo Lake west of Baileys Harbor.  Door County Sanitarian and Health Educator Chelsea Smies says swimmer’s itch is uncomfortable but can be prevented easily.



Swimmers itch is an allergic reaction to certain microscopic parasites that infect birds and mammals.  The common condition can remain for several days and is found in freshwater lakes and ponds.  Smies advises not to swim where algae bloom is present and after heavy rains.



More information on swimmer's itch is available from the CDC link below.



(photo courtesy of Door County Public Health)




Kewaunee County surpasses 200 total COVID-19 cases; Door County at 142

Door and Kewaunee counties saw another uptick in positive tests of COVID-19 on Thursday.  Kewaunee County added six more positive cases (201 total) with nine new recoveries, while Door County reported three more cases (142 total) with three recoveries.  Kewaunee County’s positivity rate was 13 percent on Thursday while Door County showed a positivity rate of 3.1 percent.   Active cases dropped to 33 in Kewaunee County and remained at 12 in Door County.  The COVID-19 Activity Level has been lowered in Door County to medium this week while Kewaunee County remains high. The Department of Health Services reported four more COVID-19 related deaths in the state with testing reflecting a positivity rate of 7.9 percent.  




Grant keeps pantries moving

Donated food and other items will be able to ride in style after a grant from the Door County Emergency Response Fund. The joint venture between the Door County Community Foundation and the United Way of Door County recently awarded Lakeshore CAP with funds to purchase a used truck to transport items from donors to their food pantry in Sturgeon Bay. Having a more reliable vehicle is even more important now since Lakeshore CAP and seven other institutions in the area joined forces earlier this summer to form the Door County Food Pantry Coalition. Sandi Soik from Lakeshore CAP says the vehicle has made a big difference with how everyone works together.

The Door County Food Pantry Coalition is preparing for what could be a busy fall and winter with people in need of food and other critical items. Since being restarted in March, the Door County Emergency Response Fund has raised over $795,000 to help non-profits and other organizations get through the pandemic.



Award caps Quantum PC's big week

There is more than one reason why Quantum PC Services owner Nathan Drager has a big smile on his face this week. Quantum PC Services was awarded the Small Business Association Wisconsin’s first Rural Small Business of the Year award in a Thursday morning ceremony just outside their front door in Sturgeon Bay. Earlier this week, Quantum PC Services announced it has closed on its future home at the former Door County YMCA Lansing Center. The ceremony for its SBA award was supposed to be in Milwaukee, but Drager says it means a lot to accept in front of the Sturgeon Bay community.

Quantum PC Services is not moving to their new digs quite yet. They plan on renovating a portion of the building for their business in time to move in 2023. The building will still be the home of the Sturgeon Bay Head Start Center and the Door County YMCA will host summer programming there until Quantum PC Services moves into their space.

Methodists finding a way to worship

Pastor Jennifer Emert has had to evolve a lot this year in the way she shares God’s message to her members at Algoma and West Kewaunee United Methodist Churches. Despite other denominations being able to open their doors, the Wisconsin Conference of the United Methodist Church is discouraging indoor, in-person services until the end of the year. Like other churches, Emert has taken services outside, online, and on Zoom since suspending most of their indoor services back in March. Emert knows her congregation is going through the same struggles other churches are in the area when it comes to day-to-day operations. She is encouraged by the amount of engagement they have still been able to have with members and hopes they come back when they are able to open their doors again.

Algoma and West Kewaunee United Methodist Churches invested in new technology, including 10 iPads, to make sure people that wanted to worship with them could do so. She encourages people interested in worshiping with them to follow them on social media for the week-by-week details.


Picture courtesy of Algoma UMC Facebook page

Resiliency curriculum paying dividends

When the COREMatters Project was introduced to Kewaunee County students last year, no one knew how important the skills learned would be in such a short time. The Kewaunee Police Department and the Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department brought the program to classrooms in an effort to prevent bullying and to give kids the skills needed to face adversity. Shortly after the course concluded, students were sent into lockdown due to the pandemic. That is when students could really put their lessons into action, using the analogy of an oak tree to become emotionally stable enough to weather any type of storm with strength and optimism. Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski helps teach the program at Holy Rosary School in Kewaunee and says it is already paying dividends.

Students will once again take part in COREMatters Project training this fall at select Kewaunee County Schools.  The program lasts 13 weeks and provides a positive experience for members of law enforcement and students to interact.




It was about a year ago that members of the Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department, Door County Sheriff’s Department and the City of Kewaunee Police Department began teaching a new program in our area schools which focused on Emotional Strength and Resiliency. The program, titled CORE Matters is a revolutionary approach, based in many of the fundamentals we were all taught at some point in our lives. The program is an effort in the prevention of bullying, and also offers techniques which gives our young people the skills they need to face adversity.

          From the moment I was introduced to this curriculum by the two amazing women who had developed it and the amazing support staff they had implementing it, I felt it was the right approach at the right time. Little did any of us know the true challenges that awaited us in the upcoming months. We now find ourselves both young and old facing challenges we have never faced and the need for emotional strength and resiliency could not be more critical. The good news is, we possess these skills at some level, but too often succumb to our frustrations and anxiety leading us to focus on the negative versus the positive.

         In one of the first lessons we discuss with the students the need to know who they are inside, and how they see themselves. This is important as all of us are challenged each day by those who try to define us or label us without really getting to know the person inside. This self-evaluation includes an inventory of our own personal character strengths and how those strengths reflect in our actions as it is our actions which provide the best window to who we really are as a person. This sense of self awareness allows us to bounce right back when verbally attacked, knowing that those attacking us do not in fact know who we really are inside.

          One of the analogies that is used in the program as it relates to emotional strength and resiliency is that of the oak tree. Our fundamental beliefs and character strengths can be compared to that of the roots. They must be deep and well founded providing the stability and strength to support our every action and decision. We then move to the trunk which is at the core of our being. While it grows and expands, it is also unyielding in what I like to call our “Non-negotiables”. These are again the virtues and beliefs that we hold dear such as integrity, compassion, honesty that must hold solid regardless of the storm. We then get up to the branches. These are more flexible and relate to our need for understanding, empathy and compromise so that we can maintain healthy and meaningful relationships. This component allows us to accept others and their perspectives while not compromising our own. For the oak tree to be rigid at the branches would be just as fatal as if it were flexible in its roots.

          I look forward to reaching out to our area schools once again this year as we, along with the school staff continue to provide these essential lessons that will serve our children regardless of the challenges that await them in life. Let’s all work to be the oak tree and provide strength and optimism to our next generation leading them by our own example.


Picture submitted from last year's COREMatters Project sessions

Near-drowning incident stresses the importance of life vests

Misty Michaud would like to thank the strangers who saved her husband’s life. 33-year old Andrew Michaud and his son were boating on the canal near Potawatomi State Park just after 4 PM on August 23rd. The boy decided he wanted to go swimming, thinking the boat was in shallow water. After a while, he decided to take off his life vest so that it would feel more natural. Winds picked up, and the boy was soon struggling in the choppy water. Andrew threw a floatation device to his son, but it slipped out of the boy’s grasp, and he began to drift away from the boat.

Andrew was able to reach his son after diving in. He could support his son but was unable to keep his head above water. He yelled for help, and kayakers came to the rescue. They were able to get both Andrew and his son onto a pontoon boat operated by two vacationing doctors from Chicago. Andrew’s lips had turned blue, and he had no pulse. Thomas Engel and Rachel Harrison, who are married, were able to resuscitate Michaud before police arrived on the scene. By quarter to five, he was on the way to the Door County Medical Center, where he was then transferred to Bellin Health in Green Bay. 

Andrew Michaud has not only been released from the hospital, but he is back at work, and both he and his son are doing fine. Misty Michaud hopes that the couple who saved her husband haven’t been scared off from the area.


Misty Michaud stresses just how important life vests are at all times when on a boat, even when you think you know your surroundings well.


Anderson House struck by drunk driver

The Sister Bay Historical Society has to repair an existing museum even as COVID has halted its plans to build a new center. To put it mildly, Chairman Fred Johnson says 2020 has not gone as planned. In what was supposed to be the organization’s 25th anniversary, it has been closed and unable to fundraise for critical projects. On August 22nd, an inattentive driver, who Johnson says admits to having had one too many, hopped the curb, ran through a utility pole, and careened into the gift shop area of the Anderson House. The Corner of the Past Museum lost its corner. Johnson says he is hopeful that insurance will help make the Historical Society whole, and that repairs can be completed before a new season next year.

Johnson says this latest incident hurts as it comes at a time when there is little to no money coming in the door. Work was supposed to have started on a new History Center on the north side of the property. That has been pushed back as well, meaning all of the benefits it is expected to bring are another year further away. Johnson says the organization requires storage space.


You can help the Historical Society by donating at its website.




COVID Update – Door County active cases back into double digits

The results of last week’s community testing are beginning to show up in Door County COVID-19 figures, with four new cases reported Wednesday. That brings the total to 139 and, more importantly, has moved the number of active cases to 12. Last week, Door County was analyzing as few as 25 tests per day, one-sixth of yesterday’s 156.

Kewaunee County’s total is now 195, up six in the past day. In the past three days, Kewaunee has seen an increase of 29 cases, pushing the number of active infections to 36. 

The increasing cases locally stand in contrast to statewide results, where the number of cases continues to subside gradually from levels seen at the beginning of August. Wisconsin reported only 545 positive results.




First care packages in months arrive quickly

After being on hold for several months, the Adopt-A-Soldier program for Door and Kewaunee counties is back to work.  A shipment of care packages was sent out to ten area military men and women serving overseas.  Founder Nancy Hutchinson says she was amazed at how quickly one soldier received the special package that was mailed out just over a week ago to the Middle East.



Hutchinson credits the Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department and Sheriff Matt Joski for collecting items and Pastor Mark Englebert and his wife Michelle from Door Bible Baptist Church in Brussels helping to handle the packing and sending of packages.  Donations can be dropped off at the church as the organization looks to have more drop-off sites available in the future. 




Kewaunee County collects 7,000 pounds of household waste

COVID-19 shutdowns meant Kewaunee County residents had some extra time to spruce things up this spring. The “Clean Sweep” household waste collection gathered up more than 7,100 pounds of agricultural chemicals, ammunition, prescription drugs, and other items. Residents made their way to the Highway Department station in Casco, loaded down with unwanted, and potentially unhealthy, materials last week for the event. It is put on annually by the Kewaunee County Emergency Management Department. Director Tracy Nollenberg says the state shutdown order played a role in the amount of disposed items.


Clean Sweep uses grant funds from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. It is separate from electronics recycling events, which happen in Door and Kewaunee Counties, on a regular basis.


Good fall tourist season expected

Early indications are predicting a good fall tourism season in Door County, though it's not certain whether some businesses will have enough workers.  A visitor survey by Destination Door County shows many respondents plan to make their way north during early summer-like conditions and the later fall color season.  Communications Director Jon Jarosh says there's still a question of how many lodges, restaurants, taverns, and wineries will have adequate staff.




Jarosh says summer visitor traffic was still strong even with July 4th celebrations and other events canceled because of COVID-19.  

Door Community Child Development Center opens Tuesday

The Barker Center on Egg Harbor Road is about to be filled with the sound of children again Tuesday, something that was in doubt this summer. COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the operating results of the Door County YMCA, which used to run child care at the site. After closing Barker down in March due to the shutdown orders, the Y announced in July that it would step away from the business permanently. The Door County Medical Center is aiding a nonprofit organization to fill the void. YMCA Chief Executive Officer Tom Beerntsen says it is a shining example of leadership, and he praises the hospital for the good it is doing for Sturgeon Bay.


The YMCA still owns the Barker Center, but it is only tangentially connected at this point to the operations happening in the building. The space is being leased by the DCMC and then sublet to the nonprofit Door Community Child Development Center. Beerntsen says that even though the Y has no direct influence over the child care being provided, they remain a willing partner to ensure the best experience possible for the building’s new tenants.


Corn dry down dates set for Door and Kewaunee Counties

Agriculture agent Aerica Bjurstrom says crops are “in pretty good shape” as harvest nears. Area farmers will get a chance to quantify that assessment in the coming weeks. Corn dry down events have been scheduled at Rio Creek Feed Mill in Luxemburg on September 8th and Door County Co-Op in Sturgeon Bay the 15th. Bjurstrom says the dry downs are tailored to the needs of farmers. 


Farmers are encouraged to bring two samples, and they will be processed on-site for free. Corn with around 65% moisture content is considered ready for harvest. Results are available the same day for the Rio Creek event and the day after the dry down in Sturgeon Bay. Bjurstrom says roughly 100 people bring samples between the two days.

Some drawbacks for area farmers this year include too much rain just after planting, which flooded low-lying areas back in May. Kewaunee County has seen some regions get significantly below-average rainfall through the summertime while others are running right at average.


City takes advantage of refinancing rates

The Sturgeon Bay Common Council was able to approve historic money-saving measures during a fast-moving, 30-minute meeting Tuesday night.  The resolution for awarding the sale of General Obligation Promissory Notes for $4,330,000 at an interest rate lower than one percent, which is unprecedented.  Approved unanimously by the council, the city can now realize over $25,000 in interest savings by refinancing at the low rate.  In other business, the Sturgeon Bay Common Council accepted the bid from Payne & Dolan for shoreline restoration with rock at Bay View Park, better known as the Railroad Spur on the west side.  Councilmember Gary Nault expressed concerns over the bid being more than $40,000 less than other quotes.  After Councilmember David Hayes recommended a future study to look into sheet piling as a possible long-term solution, the motion to accept the lowest bid was unanimously approved for the shoreline restoration. 



Support growing to save tower

People looking to save the Potawatomi State Park Tower gained some momentum.  The Door County Historical Society announced last week that after discussions with the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society, they fully support repairing the 75-foot tower.  Door County Historical Society Executive Director Bailey Koepsel says the repairing of the tower is important from a historical standpoint rather than building a new one.



The 88-year-old Potawatomi State Park Tower has been closed to the public since December of 2017.  The tower was determined, by three DNR studies, to have too much wood rot and decay to be saved.  Koepsel notes that the restoration tower work is pretty standard and would not require an extensive repair.




Door County Historical Society Issues Statement of Support for Potawatomi State Park Tower


The Door County Historical Society (DCHS) has been following the situation regarding the Potawatomi State Park Tower, and after discussions with the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society Foundation, the DCHS is issuing a statement of support.


Potawatomi Tower was built with the sole purpose of helping attract visitors to the newly created Potawatomi State Park and holds the distinction of being Wisconsin’s first purpose-built recreational observation tower in a Wisconsin State Park, Forest, or Recreational Area.


The Door County Historical Society’s mission is to keep Door County’s history and heritage alive for future generations through preservation, education, and programming. The DCHS fully supports Potawatomi Tower being repaired in situ, as outlined by Dr. Dan Tingley, in order to preserve this historic outdoor recreation icon for future generations.


To tear down Potawatomi Tower would truly be a disservice to the communities of Door County and the millions of visitors that peruse the peninsula every year.



Kewaunee and Door County add one case of COVID-19

After Door and Kewaunee counties saw a significant increase in positive tests of COVID-19 on Monday both counties reported only one case on Tuesday.  Door County showed 185 negative tests with the positivity rate of only .005.  Kewaunee County received results of 25 more negative tests with a positivity rate of .04.  No new recoveries were reported on Tuesday from either county.  The state Department of Health Services reported eight more COVID-19 related deaths with increases in all metrics regarding the pandemic including nearly 12,000 test results completed. 





Teen cited for vandalism

The individual responsible for spray painting graffiti on the Door County Republican Party Headquarters early Sunday morning has been found.  According to a Sturgeon Bay Police Department social media post Tuesday afternoon, a 19-year-old Sturgeon Bay man was issued a Misdemeanor citation for Criminal Damage to Property and is scheduled to appear in court on October 5.  The man also admitted to spray painting several Republican political signs on Egg Harbor Road.  The Sturgeon Bay Police credit a witness who described a vehicle seen at the location and other tips for solving the crime. 









Related story:


Housing study open to Kewaunee County residents

Future housing needs in Kewaunee County will be determined with help from residents.  From now until   September 21st,  residents can take part in a study on the county's website that asks about the availability of housing for families, seniors, first-time home buyers, and other people.  The study also allows participants to suggest the types of housing that should be expanded in the area.  Kewaunee County Administrator Scott Feldt says public input can help local and county leaders set policies to promote housing that can also aid economic development.



The Bay Lake Regional planning commission is partnering with Kewaunee County on the housing study. You can take part by logging on to .

Bringing 4-H home

While it works on what future club meetings and events may look like in the future, Door County 4-H is giving families a chance to bring a little bit of the organization home to them.  Explore 4-H is a six week program with a variety of hands-on activities showcasing some of the different activities clubs participate in during the course of the year. Door County 4-H Educator Dawn Vandevoort says they have collaborated with 4-H educators in Brown, Kewaunee, and Manitowoc Counties to make the program a reality in a time where the traditional setting for meetings may be months away. Vandevoort says it is based on the success they had with similar boxed programs they did over the summer.

Registration for $10 Explore 4-H programs begins on September 3rd and is open to all families. Youth organizations across the country are trying to find creative ways to reach out to potential new members and engage current ones since restrictions were placed on meetings and events back in March.



Cemetery still looking for vandals

The Bayside Cemetery Association is still looking for who may have vandalized their property last week. Last Wednesday approximately 15 grave markers were tipped over from their resting place. One tombstone had a piece broken off while others suffered some minor scratches. Two volunteers and a tractor took about five hours to make sure the tombstones were all standing upright after the vandalism took place. Paul Wickman from the Bayside Cemetery Association says contacting the families affected by the incident is hard to do.

Wickman encourages people with any information about the vandalism to contact the Door County Sheriff’s Department.


Picture courtesy of Destination Sturgeon Bay

Citizen complaints could spur ordinance

Another Door County community could be looking into an ordinance setting up new ground rules for short-term rental properties. Liberty Grove Town Administrator Bud Kalms shared with the board last month a number of citizen complaints related to some of the rental properties. Kalms told the town board may follow a similar path to Baileys Harbor, Egg Harbor, and Sturgeon Bay. In those communities, the property owner or registered agent is required to live close enough to respond to any complaints and emergencies in addition to holding the necessary licenses required by the town and the state. The Liberty Grove Town Board is also expected to talk about the impact lower than expected room sales tax revenues will have on crafting its budget for the upcoming year. The meeting will take place Wednesday at the town hall and on Zoom beginning at 7 p.m.


Picture from Pixabay

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