News Archives for 2020-10

Health officials applaud parents for COVID response

Schools have been able to stay open thanks in part to the help of parents according to Door County Medical Center Pediatrician Dr. Amy Fogarty. As of Wednesday morning, the most recent dashboard figures for Door County’s four mainland school districts showed a combined nine positive cases and 175 students and staff members quarantined due to COVID-19 concerns. During her Monday night Facebook Live session with Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jim Heise, Fogarty credits an increase in testing at the hospital and the ability to give school-aged children as a being a big help. She said parents have been acting with extreme caution when their kids show symptoms.

Fogarty said the kids she has contacted because of positive COVID-19 tests have only exhibited minor symptoms, some of which would have not gotten the attention of a doctor. She added she has thanked parents for making the right decision to keep their kids home, noting that the number of close contacts they have had to call has been getting lower.

 

 

Kewaunee County Food Pantry to give away turkeys

Thanksgiving is still a month away but the Kewaunee County Food Pantry has been planning the annual turkey giveaway for several weeks.  President Ken Marquardt says the five-year tradition has grown in popularity and families have been signing up for the past two months.  Smaller families have an option for chicken instead of turkey if they prefer.

 

 

Marquardt estimates that families have signed up for 125 turkeys and 25 chickens so far.  Families need to sign up by this Saturday.   He notes that the facility has seen more families utilizing the pantry of late.  The Kewaunee County Food Pantry is located near the Industrial Park in Algoma and is open Mondays and Wednesdays from 10:30 am until 1 pm.    

 

McMahon excited to lead Boys & Girls Club of Door County

John McMahon is bringing his business experience and local roots to the Boys & Girls Club of Door County.  McMahon was named the chief executive officer of the organization at the beginning of the month and began his position as the leader of the Boys & Girls Club last Monday.  McMahon says he entered the interviewing process late but is excited and passionate to lead the organization.

 

 

 

 

McMahon founded a brewery in Door County in 2012 and won the Door County Economic Development Corporation Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2016. He served on many non-profit boards including Door County Land Trust and the Baileys Harbor Business Association.  The Boys & Girls Club is currently open with limited capacity with about 14 staff members working for the organization, according to McMahon.  You can listen to the entire interview with John McMahon on the podcast page.   

 

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

 


Granary's finalized plans near completion

The Sturgeon Bay Historical Society (SBHS) is moving forward with finalized plans for the Teweles & Brandeis Granary.  The organization was waiting for the lakebed lease from the Board of Commissioners for Public Lands that was approved earlier this month along with the sublease with the City.  Sturgeon Bay Historical Society Treasurer Kelly Catarazoli says construction plans for the granary site are on a holding pattern until American Transmission Company finishes installing a half-mile submarine transmission line under the Sturgeon Bay Ship Channel.  She says the SBHS will be submitting the finalized plans for the granary to the state shortly for approval.

 

 

Catarazoli says the granary will be moved slightly closer to the water which was the original location.  She believes some of the original pilings will be used along with new pilings to secure the granary to its permanent home.   

Another Door County coronavirus death and 3 state records

Door County reported an additional death from COVID-19 while cases continued to swing upward in the area and Wisconsin set one-day records in three areas.

 

The death in Door County is the sixth since the beginning of the pandemic.  Positive tests went up 25 with no recoveries noted.  Active cases increase to 223 with no new hospitalizations reported. 

 

Kewaunee County saw another 11 positive tests on Tuesday with 25 more recoveries noted.  Active cases dropped to 87.  Kewaunee County reported one less hospitalization bringing that total to six.  Kewaunee County Public Health had reported the county’s seventh COVID-19 death on Monday.

 

Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported record-highs on Tuesday for deaths and hospitalizations, as well as confirmed positive tests.  The state had over 5200 new cases with 220 more hospitalizations and 64 additional deaths reported.  

 

 

 

Gibraltar prepares to change up schedule

When Gibraltar Secondary School students eventually return to the classroom, their school day will look a little different than they remember it. Superintendent Tina Van Meer says students will have only two classes a day, an AM and a PM session to limit the amount of exposure students will have with each other as they switch classes.

Despite the challenges of being in the virtual classroom for longer periods, the good news according to Van Meer is that students have been actively participating off-camera by turning in their tests and assignments on time. She adds that once students do return to in-person learning that teachers for specials like gym and art will still conduct their classes virtually to limit exposure. Van Meer hopes students can return to the classroom soon, but based on the current threshold plan they will remain remote learning until at least November 6th.


Door County Public Health begins tracking probable cases

The Door County Public Health Department introduced a new metric Monday as it tries to give a more complete picture of COVID-19 in the community.  The department is now tracking probable cases, which is when a person in close contact of a positive case begins to develop symptoms. If you fall under that category, the department is urging you to get tested. State guidelines say a person can only be classified as a confirmed case if they have been tested by a polymerise chain reaction (PCR) test or a nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT). Currently, people who test positive through an antigen test also get classified as a probable case because in certain situations they are not as reliable. During Monday’s Facebook Live session with Door County Public Health Director Sue Powers, Door County Medical Center Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jim Heise says the results of the test depend on a number of factors including the specific virus it is detecting.

Door County reported 58 probable cases on Monday.  According to the COVID Tracking Project, the state of Wisconsin began tracking probable cases in June separate from confirmed tests.  You can watch the full video online with this story.

 

 

Supreme Court keeps status quo for absentee ballots

Municipal clerks in Door and Kewaunee counties will not have to worry about absentee ballots after Election Day. The U.S. Supreme Court denied an attempt to extend Wisconsin’s deadline for absentee ballots to be received during a 5-3 ruling announced Monday. A lower court previously ruled that mailed ballots could be counted for six days after the fall general election.  Democrats had wanted the extension because of the expected high number of absentee ballots being mailed in, while Republicans said the rules should not change so close to an election. Kewaunee County Clerk Jamie Annoye sides with that assessment, saying it would have caused extra stress on election officials.

October 27th was the recommended day for voters to mail in their ballot to ensure they would get to your municipal clerk's office by Election Day. Annoye said people can still drop them off at the municipal offices through the end of the week or bring them in with you to your polling site on Election Day.

Johnson, Senate confirms new Supreme Court Justice

Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin was one of the 52 votes to confirm the newest Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Justice Amy Coney Barrett officially joined the nation’s highest court shortly after the vote was held on Monday. Johnson met with Justice Barrett last week and praised her as a brilliant legal mind who is committed to applying the law rather than altering it. He says she is the type of judge that conservatives like.

Johnson attended the swearing-in ceremony for Justice Barrett at the White House Monday night and called it a proud moment. His Democratic colleague from Wisconsin, Senator Tammy Baldwin, voted against the confirmation. We talked to her about the Supreme Court confirmation process last week.

 

Picture courtesy of Lia Palazzo, Deputy Press Secretary for Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI)


Overnight street parking ends on Saturday in Algoma

Starting on Sunday Algoma will be enforcing the overnight parking ban of vehicles on the streets.  The ordinance is in place to give the street department the ability to clear snowfall off the roadways safely and quickly.  Algoma Public Works Director Matt Murphy says his crews can get the job done when everyone complies with the 2 am- 5 am no parking law.

 

 

The overnight parking ordinance is in effect through March 31.  Algoma Police Chief Randy Remiker says that for the first two weeks officers will leave notes on vehicles reminding residents of the need to keep their vehicles off the street overnight.  After that, citations and possible towing of the vehicle at the owner's expense may occur.  Remiker notes that parking citations are $25 and double to $50 if not paid within three days.  The City of Sturgeon Bay and Kewaunee will enforce overnight parking starting on December 1. 

 

(CORRECTION:  Earlier story referenced Door and Kewaunee County municipalities besides Algoma) 

 

(picture of Public Works Director Matt Murphy courtesy of City of Algoma)    

Slezewski chosen for Good Citizen Award

Griffin Slezewski, a senior at Southern Door High School has been selected by classmates and teachers as this year’s recipient of the Good Citizen Award.  High School Principal Steve Bousley says Slezewski exemplifies the outstanding qualities of leadership, dependability, service, and patriotism that the award represents.

 

 

Slezewski says he was surprised and honored to receive the recognition.

 

 

The award is sponsored by the Jean Nicolet Chapter from the Daughters of the American Revolution.   Slezewski is the son of Kevin and Tracy Slezewski.  He plans to attend college next year pursuing a business degree and compete in wrestling.

 

Egg Harbor bestowed with Governor's Tourism Award

The Village of Egg Harbor received a Governor’s Tourism Award last week.  Nominated by Destination Door County, Egg Harbor took the initiative in 2017 to bring more sustainable practices by becoming a Green Tier Legacy community.  Village Administrator Ryan Heise shares some of the eco-friendly programs implemented.

 

 

Heise adds that the village is working on the removal of invasive species and installing solar energy at the Kress Pavilion.  The village also streamlined building and zoning codes to make it easier for residents to install solar energy.    Egg Harbor was chosen over six other communities that were nominated for the Stewardship Award.  You can listen to the entire interview with Ryan Heise on the Podcast Page at DoorCountyDailyNews.com.     

 


Door County reports fifth COVID-19 death, Kewaunee has seventh

COVID-19 cases continued to surge in the area with both Door County and Kewaunee County reporting an additional death on Monday.    Positive tests in Door County went up 32 with no recoveries noted.  Active cases increase to 198 with one additional hospitalization.  Kewaunee County reported 45 more positive tests of the coronavirus on Monday while 36 recoveries brought the active cases up to 101.  The death toll now stands at five in Door County and seven in Kewaunee County.   The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported that the state had surpassed 200,000 confirmed positive tests of COVID-19 to date.  Hospitalizations increased 84 with ten additional deaths in Wisconsin on Monday.  

 

 

Toys for Tots undergoes changes

The generosity hopes to still be there, but Kewaunee County’s Toys for Tots will undergo other changes due to COVID-19 in 2020. For starters, registration will only be held over the phone from November 2nd to December 16th. The toy drop-off at 27 locations across Kewaunee County will look the same but pick-up for registered families will not. Families will instead a specific time come in and get a prepackaged bag of toys for their families at Kewaunee’s Holy Rosary Church rather than picking what they would like at an event held at Kewaunee School District. Toys for Tots organizer and Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski says this year is especially important to give back.

We have more details on how you can register your family and donate to the cause posted with the links below.

 

 

Hunters getting outdoors

Hunters in Door and Kewaunee counties are finding no trouble social distancing while trying to get their elusive buck or doe. As of the Wisconsin DNR’s last update, hunters have harvested 580 deer in Door County and 471 in Kewaunee County. About a quarter of those in each county came during the youth deer gun hunt weekend, which took place on October 10th and 11th. The others have come during the current archery and crossbow periods. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Conservation Warden Chris Kratcha says the harvest has been normal so far, but he has noticed more hunters going out into the woods.

Archery and crossbow deer season goes until January 3rd while the gun hunt period is set for November 21st through the 30th. Hunters are hoping for a more successful year in the woods with hunters with the 2019 buck harvest the lowest it has been since 2011 in Door County and 2013 in Kewaunee County.

4-H drives up support for members, volunteers

The banquet hall was replaced with a view on the green at the Kewaunee County Fairgrounds in Luxemburg Saturday afternoon as the Kewaunee County 4-H hosted its annual awards banquet. Restrictions at the state 4-H level limited what Kewaunee County could do to honor its members and volunteers. Rather than doing in front of a computer or mailing out awards, the Kewaunee County 4-H offered a drive-in experience with the back of its exposition hall serving as the stage and 104.1 WRLU playing the ceremony on the radio. Kewaunee County 4-H Jill Jorgensen says it was important to her and the volunteers to honor those who make the organization stand out.

Close to 50 members and volunteers were honored during the Saturday award ceremony, including Key Award winners Daria Ahrens, Brooklen Cloutier, and Aliza Jacobs as well as Wisconsin 4-H Hall of Fame Laureates Joe and Linda Pribek. You can find the full listing of award winners by clicking this link.

 

You can listen to the full broadcast by visiting our podcasts page.

 

 

Nelson announces run for U.S. Senate

The 2020 election is over a week away, but one Democratic candidate is already thinking about 2022. Outagamie County Executive Thomas Nelson announced his run for the U.S. Senate seat currently occupied by Senator Ron Johnson. In a video posted online on Monday, Nelson strongly criticized the Republican senator from Oshkosh for his approach to COVID-19 and the upcoming U.S. Supreme Court confirmation vote of Judge Amy Coney Barrett. Voters in Door and Kewaunee counties have voted for Nelson in the past, first as lieutenant governor in 2010 and as U.S. Representative for Wisconsin’s Eighth District in 2016. Nelson lost both of those races. Senator Johnson said in 2016 he would not run for a third term after defeating Russ Feingold in 2016, but reopened the door to the possibility in 2019 according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Plan Commission weighs two potential developments

The Sunset School redevelopment project was discussed at Wednesday's City Plan Commission meeting. The Sturgeon Bay School District owns the property, and so the final say on any course of action resides with it. The city serves in an advisory role. It considered three proposals, opting to recommend a 23-unit townhome concept. 
S. C. Swiderski (SCS) of Mosinee submitted the plan, which does not include affordable housing. Expectations are for the development to be valued between three and three-and-a-half million dollars. SCS is asking to be gifted the land and have the district pay for demolition of the existing structure. A recent estimate suggests the cost to be $189,000 when factoring in the removal of debris. Administrator Josh VanLieshout says the district had been cautioned by city officials ahead of time that they may not receive any windfall from the property's sale.

 


The commission also looked at the three proposals for a parcel of land on Maple Street. It rejected an affordable housing proposal titled the Village at West Waterfront. The submission relied on Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority funds, which would not be allocated until springtime. Construction wouldn't start until January 2022. The estimated value came in at $1.67 million. All members thought that the location required something more upscale than what was offered.


The second submission seeks to use $1.4 million in community development grants and $740,000 in additional assistance. In total, the building would have 40 units, 21 of those affordable housing. Construction could be concluded as early as June of 2022. Commission members unanimously rejected the building's preliminary design, asking Northpointe Development to look at several modifications.


The third proposal was a grander project, 78 units with no affordable housing. It asked for $2.5 million in financial assistance and included an opt-out clause lasting up to 18 months. That was too long for Mayor David Ward. He said it was conceivable that construction may drag into 2024 given that timeline, and the rest of the commission agreed with his assessment. The panel will deliberate on Northpointe's resubmission at a future meeting.

 

*Photo shows exterior design for townhomes at the West Side School site on Eighth Avenue. The City Plan Commission will be recommending the S.C. Swiderski development to Sturgeon Bay School District who owns the property.

 

COVID-19 takes toll on those suffering from memory loss

Calls have poured in this year to the Memory Clinic at the Door County Medical Center over concerns related to an elderly family member and forgetfulness. Geriatric Outreach Specialist Cristy Wisniewski says it is important to consider the effects of stress on the brain. Thankfully, after a thorough examination, most referrals have checked out just fine. Wisniewski will be presenting on the impact of isolation and changes in routine Wednesday during the Door County YMCA's Virtual Community Healthy Living Fair. 


Wisniewski says stimulation is vitally important for those suffering from memory loss. Before COVID-19, the recommendation was to ramp up exposure for those with early-onset symptoms of dementia or Alzheimer's. Virtual options can replace social interaction for some, but not all.

 


Wisniewski hopes to restart memory cafes in the coming months in an online setting.

 

*Photo of Memory Clinic staff courtesy of the Door County Medical Center Facebook page.

 

FEMA funds aid area unemployed

Residents in Door and Kewaunee counties who were unemployed or underemployed over the summer may qualify for additional assistance.  The Lost Wages Assistance program benefits those who were jobless or worked part-time due to the pandemic.  The additional benefits issued through the Federal Emergency Management Agency would cover the period from August 1st through September 5th.  Jim Golembeski, the Executive Director of the Bay Area Workforce Development Board, says those funds will help offset part of other federal aid that ended in July.

 

 

 

For more information on the Lost Wages Assistance program log on to https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/uiben/lwa/.

Snowplows to be outfitted in early November

County highway and municipal public works departments have not yet started on outfitting their winter plowing equipment. Most are putting the finishing touches on various construction or maintenance projects. In Algoma, work is wrapping up on the retention ponds near the Youth Center. However, another stormwater job still has to be completed on Sixth Street, says Public Works Director Matt Murphy.

 


Murphy doesn't expect any complications with the work. Once that is done, he says the trucks will be harnessed in the first or second week of November. Jon Kolodziej gave a similar timetable for winter outfitting at last week's Door County Airport and Highway Committee. Central and Western Wisconsin have already been hit with significant snowfall, but outside of some flakes scheduled for Sunday, Door and Kewaunee Counties have remained powder free. Mother Nature has the ultimate say in when departments shift their focus.

 

Board of Supervisors to debate Potawatomi Tower resolution

Two items on the agenda for Tuesday's Door County Board of Supervisors meeting come from the Legislative Committee. Chair Bob Bultman says he is particularly passionate about the first topic. The resolution expresses support for the repair proposal put forth by the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society for the Potawatomi Tower. Bultman says it mirrors actions taken by the Town of Nasewaupee and the City of Sturgeon Bay. Representative Joel Kitchens has also endorsed the project in the State Assembly. Bultman says that when you compare the tower restoration to alternatives that have been used at other area landmarks, support is justified.

 


The Board of Supervisors will also be looking at a resolution to condemn systemic racism. Bultman says that topic has been a prominent discussion point in the Legislative Committee for months. The goal is to have something that matters, and adoption could result in administrative changes at the county level. The resolution stops short of calling for a new committee dedicated to the issue.

 

Check smoke detectors as we fall back

The time change takes place early on Sunday, November 1st, this year. The switch from Daylight Savings Time to Central Standard Time leads to an extra hour of sleep and an early sunset. It is also traditionally the weekend to check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to ensure they are functioning correctly. Fire Chief Justin MacDonald says the Ephraim Department suggests residents do it more frequently than that.

 


He says monthly inspections can be difficult for those with mobility issues, but that should not be a deterrent. Ephraim Fire and other Door County departments are happy to provide the service for those who can't do it themselves.

 

Door County Catholic landmark gets recognition

The Wisconsin Historical Society will be installing a historical marker dedicated to the Brussels Cemetery grotto. Father Edward Looney credits Patrick O'Hern, a member of the St. Francis and St. Mary's congregation, with being the point man for the recognition campaign. He was able to showcase several improvements made to the site, including installing a level walking path topped with brick pavers to help make the grotto more accessible to visitors. 


The cave looks similar to its original form, except for one modification. The crucifix was removed two years ago. Looney says the church hired an outside contractor to create a mold to replace the concrete statue, but it failed. The new cross is made from ironwood trees. Looney says other grottos in the state have gotten historical markers, and it is only appropriate for the Brussels one to be held in the same esteem.


The grotto commemorates the apparition of Mary at Lourdes, France. Looney says he has made the pilgrimage to that site and is bringing one of its powerful traditions to Door County.

 


The ceremony will be on October 29th, the 85th anniversary of the grotto's initial dedication.

 

LGBTQ community hopes for growing acceptance in Door County

Members of Door County's LGBTQ community are seeing more acceptance among people and businesses.  They'd like to build on that success. October is LGBTQ+ history month. Open Door Pride Fest has become an annual summer event in Sturgeon Bay for all people.  Organizer Cathy Grier says the festival is among the efforts to help the community overall and friends and family, in particular, better understand LGBTQ issues.

 

 

 

Wisconsin has been a pioneer in equal rights protection laws.  That's inspired other states to enact similar legislation.  Sandy Brown of PFLAG Door County, however, says the Badger State still has a ways to go.

 

 

 

Among the efforts to make Door County more welcoming to visitors with alternative lifestyles and ethnicities is the “We Welcome All” campaign adopted by some local businesses.

WHEDA pilot program details still sketchy

Earlier this week, the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) announced that Door County could participate in a pilot program that would speed up development for affordable housing in the area. Being able to apply more quickly is not the same thing as having guaranteed funding. Sturgeon Bay Community Development Director Marty Olejniczak discussed the issues that still need to be resolved at Wednesday's City Plan Commission meeting.

 


Sturgeon Bay knows first-hand the effects of a WHEDA rejection. Staff had to table development at the Westside School after affordable housing funding was denied for the project. Sister Bay is submitting a project to WHEDA for this year. Municipalities sign off on potential development in the fall with a decision made by the agency in April.

 

Lights of Christmas inspires community

It was the kindness, not the frozen custard that was the sweetest treat served during Wednesday’s Lights of Christmas Program at Culver’s in Sturgeon Bay. This year, the community Culver’s, and Door Stop Amoco donated $3,623.29 to the cause that buys gift cards and other items for community members in need.  Personnel from the Door County Sheriff’s Department, Sturgeon Bay Police Department, Door County Emergency Services, and Sturgeon Bay Fire Department all took part in the event greeting people as they picked up their food at the drive-thru window. It was the first time Sturgeon Bay Police Officer Eric Jose was able to help out during the event, but he has seen the impact the donations have had during his years on the force.

 

 

 

Fellow Police Officer Brandon Shew reflected on a past experience when one boy saw him using the money to buy Christmas presents for a single mother and her child and the generosity that ensued.

 

 

 

Over the last three years, the Lights of Christmas Program event in Sturgeon Bay has raised approximately $10,000. Shew says people who missed out on stopping by can still donate at the Sturgeon Bay Police Department.

After school program goes virtual

Environmental Interpreter Anna Foster says the county’s spike in COVID-19 activity has changed how The Ridges is conducting its after school programming.

 


She says that the lessons remain popular, and there are plenty of outdoor activities at the sanctuary that can help replace the hands-on learning experience. The organization has recently added a new trail at the Logan Creek Preserve. The half-mile path breaks off from the Lake Trail Loop to follow the creek north. A Facebook post from The Ridges touts it as challenging.


The night hikes are also enjoying popularity. Foster says the groups have already developed a close relationship with some of the sanctuary’s nocturnal creatures. She has had a flying squirrel land on her twice. The Ridges is planning a special holiday edition on Halloween proper and is working on doing holiday hikes as well.

 

State waste study has local benefits

Door County has shipped garbage elsewhere since closing its landfill over a decade ago. The county could, however, indirectly benefit from the Department of Natural Resources studies of the types of garbage being brought into 12 state landfills. County Administrator Ken Pabich says the studies' data can help the county better formulate solid waste disposal and recycling policies.

 

 

 

DNR Solid Waste Coordinator Casey Lemensky says the waste characterization studies can also help communities divert items that can be easily reused or that pose a danger out of engineered landfills.

 

 

 

Among those landfills selected for study is one located in Manitowoc County.

Door County Fire Chiefs have limited election role

Compared to its efforts in the spring election, the Door County Fire Chiefs Association's volunteering role will be more limited in nature for the general. Chris Hecht from the Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Department says that he has offered volunteers the opportunity to help out but is not actively tracking what is being done. Earlier this year, the association helped drive people to the polls. More importantly, Hecht says they were instrumental in registering residents with poor internet or limited technological savvy for absentee voting.

 


The organization is devoting most of its effort to food distributions. The events occur in Sister Bay and Sturgeon Bay at various locations.

 

Kids already embracing the Halloween spirit

Destination Sturgeon Bay is already receiving completed entries with over a week to go before scavenger hunt maps are due back. Kids can print a Spooktacular Sturgeon Bay map from home or pick one up at the organization's Third Avenue office. A fully-stocked stand of maps and brochures is in the foyer for those visiting after-hours. Over 40 businesses are participating, divided into three regions. Complete one of the three zones in its entirety for a prize and to be eligible for the raffle happening November 2nd. Marketing and Events Director Carly Sarkis says they're easy to turn in.

 


The DoorCountyDailyNews.com office is one of the locations in the "Outskirts" region. That area has the most returns so far. 


The Door County Historical Society is planning its first-ever Halloween event at Heritage Village from 3:00-7:00 PM on Saturday, October 31st. Executive Director Bailey Koepsel says that in-person events are crucial to the organization's mission. Missing out on Root Beer Fest and others weakens the Historical Society's ties to the community. She says that even small things like the distribution of pre-packaged treat bags go a long way toward rebuilding that bond. Heritage Halloween is billed as a scare-free event suitable for young kids and families. The village buildings will be decorated, with volunteers greeting kids on the porches with captivating ghost stories and other holiday tales.

 

YMCA Virtual Community Healthy Living Fair begins Monday

The Door County YMCA's Community Healthy Living Fair is online only but, in some ways, more accessible than ever. Senior Program Director Mary Claire McHugh says the virtual edition runs five days, starting on Monday, October 26th. The number of vendors involved is down slightly this year, around 20 instead of 30 to 35, but they include some of the area's largest organizations. McHugh says the event will utilize Facebook Live in conjunction with the Door County Medical Center.

 


Christy Wisniewski of the Door County Memory Clinic specializes in dementia and Alzheimer's disease care. She hosts memory cafes for those suffering from mild to moderate memory loss.

 

*Photo from last year's Community Healthy Living Fair, courtesy of Door County Y Facebook page.

 

DOT funds Walk, Bike & Eggsplore project

The planned Highway 42 project in the Village of Egg Harbor in 2023 will also make it easier for people to walk and bike around the area.  The village's Walk, Bike and Eggsplore project is getting $1.38-million through the Wisconsin Department of Transportation's Transit Alternatives Program.  During the Highway 42 project Egg Harbor will extend sidewalks and add bike lanes from downtown to South Trail Road and from County Highway E north to Church Street.  Village Administrator Ryan Hiese says the improvements will benefit residents and visitors.

 

 

 

Work on the sidewalk and bike lane expansions, and new street lights will be done at the same time as the Highway 42 project.  

"Sandwich Generation" faces double stressors

Middle-age adults that are caring for their aging parents as well as their children, face daily pressures that can be intense, says Sturgeon Bay Psychologist Dr. Dennis White.  They are known as the Sandwich Generation and are from 35 to 54 years of age.  Dr. White notes they are caught between two responsibilities while trying to maintain careers, healthy marriages, further their education, and pursue other interests.  The emotional impact can be intense, besides dealing with medical, legal, and financial issues. 

 

 

Dr. White adds that although many caregivers caught in the middle can find it very rewarding, many feel pressured beyond the ability to cope.  You can listen to Dr. White’s entire Mental Health Minute below. 

 

 

Estate plans vital to financial wellness

National Estate Planning Awareness Week is a good reminder for people to take action and review their plans or make sure that one is put in place.  Attorney Jane Seusy of Ross Estate Planning in Sturgeon Bay says it is important to have the right people chosen to handle financial or healthcare matters if needed.  She says everyone should have an estate plan regardless of the size.

 

 

 

Seusy says without a plan in place, if you were not able to make financial and medical decisions for yourself, a judge would assign a person for you.   The first step in establishing an estate plan, adds Seusy, is having a conversation and reaching out to a professional estate planner for information and a consultation.    According to the National Association of Estate Planners & Councils, an estimated 56 percent of Americans do not have an up-to-date estate plan. 

 

(photo submitted)

Special kayak launch coming to Carmody Park

Although the kayaking season might be ending, Door County is looking to upgrade one of their larger parks with a handicap-accessible kayak launch.  Robert M. Carmody Park in the Town of Gardner has a six-lane boat launch with an ADA fishing pier already.  Parks and Facilities Director Wayne Spritka says Door County received over $6,000 in DNR grants to build the kayak launch.  He says there are a couple of options to where it will be situated, depending on the status of the high water levels.

 

 

The project is planned to be completed next spring and will cost about $12,000.  If additional grant money or donations are not received, boat launch revenues would cover the shortfall, according to Spritka.  Carmody Park has three wheelchair-accessible areas on the attenuator pier for fishing as well.  The dock is 350 feet long and 12 feet wide.

 

(Photo courtesy of Door County Parks)

Door County surpasses 700 COVID-19 cases

Door County had 28 new COVID-19 cases on Friday. There have been over 700 confirmed cases in the county since March. No recoveries were reported for a third straight day and active cases rose to 167. 

 

Kewaunee County saw another 19 positive tests with 20 more recoveries noted.  Active cases dropped one to 93.  Kewaunee County reported two more hospitalizations bringing that total to seven.  Kewaunee County Public Health announced the county’s sixth COVID-19 death on Thursday.

 

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services tallied the second-highest one-day total for new cases with 4,378. 42 additional deaths occurred throughout the state.  

 

 

Trying for normal in childcare

A five-year-old child’s excitement around wearing a mask is just part of the different normal at Northern Door Children’s Center in Sister Bay. Outside of one incident when two classes had to be quarantined due to COVID-19 exposure, the center has been able to keep kids in the building and healthy since the beginning of the school year. Teachers and students over the age of five have been masked up and parents have stayed out of the building as part of the Northern Door Children’s Center’s COVID-19 mitigation efforts. They have also instituted rigorous sanitization efforts to keep the building as clean as possible. Education and Community Relations Coordinator Karen Corekin-DeLaMer has noticed the pandemic and worries about future employment have started weighing heavily on some of their families’ minds. She says they try to be cognizant of those possible changes in behavior with different strategies.

Corekin-DeLaMer believes having a place for the kids to come to every day and sticking to a routine has helped them and their parents as well.

 

Photo from Northern Door Children's Center

Masonic Lodge feeds the hungry again

The story of the H.S. Baird Masonic Lodge in Sturgeon Bay recently writing over $9000 in checks to local causes recently actually started at the very pandemic. One of its biggest fundraisers, its annual Steamboat Dinner, was forced to switch to carry out, delivery, and drive-through due to the mandatory closure of businesses and other indoor public gathering places. Despite the change, the Masons had their biggest year ever. Ed Klein from the H.S. Baird Masonic Lodge says they knew then they had to give back in a big way.

With help from the Wisconsin Masonic Lodge Foundation, the organization was able to give $1,250 grants to the school districts of Sturgeon Bay, Gibraltar, Sevastopol, Southern Door, and Algoma to help fund COVID-19 related purchases. It also donated $1000 to Feed Wisconsin in Madison, Feed My People in Door County, and the Kewaunee County Food Pantry. Klein says they are still planning to host their Steamboat Dinner on March 13th, but indoor seating will once again not be available.

 

Photo submitted by Ed Klein

Ephraim to discuss PRAT

Ephraim could become the second community in Door County to enact a Premier Resort Area Tax if its village board decides to put it up for a vote. Currently, seven communities including the Village of Sister Bay have placed an additional tax on tourism-related purchases, ranging between 0.5 and 1.25 percent. The Village of Sister Bay approved its 0.5 percent PRAT via a referendum in February of 2018 and enacted it a few months later in July. State law allows Ephraim and Sister Bay to enact a PRAT despite not reaching a certain threshold of tourism-related infrastructure within its municipality. With large projects like the streetscape in the rearview mirror and looking ahead to others like additional lighting and Anderson Dock maintenance, village administrator Brent Bristol says the board felt the time was right.

Bristol says adding the PRAT had been on their radar for several years. Discussion about the PRAT and upcoming capital improvement plans will take place at the next Ephraim Village Board meeting in November.

Gibraltar looks to waive service requirement

The same reason why Gibraltar Area Schools have not been able to attend classes in-person could eliminate a graduation requirement for its senior class. The Gibraltar Area Schools Board will meet on Monday to discuss potentially waiving the requirement of 30 community service hours in order to graduate. In addition to possible health concerns, the pandemic has dried out many of the opportunities available to students. Superintendent Tina Van Meer says the decision is based on keeping things equitable for all students.

The school board will also weigh in on what the winter sports season could look like for its athletes with its threshold level plan in mind as well as potentially postponing a student trip to Spain next summer when it meets on Monday at 7 p.m.

 

Picture from Gibraltar Area Schools

Sturgeon Bay Police hires fourth CSO 

The Sturgeon Bay Police Department has recently added a fourth community service officer (CSO) to its staff.  Michael Bertrand, a Southern Door graduate and currently attending U.W.-Stevens Point, started his CSO position two weeks ago.  Community service officers are non-sworn civilian employees that have fewer responsibilities and qualifications than other law enforcement officers.  SBPD Community Service Unit Manager Michelle Snover shares the distinction between the two positions.

 

 

Bertrand says he is excited about the opportunity to work with others in the department.

 

 

Bertrand joins Riley Glish, Triston Beauchamp, and Austin Tlachac as the four current CSOs on the Sturgeon Bay Police force.  You can listen to an interview with officers Bertrand, Tlachac, and Snover on the podcast page.

 

(photo submitted:  L-R, Riley Glish, Austin Tlachac, Michelle Snover, Michael Bertrand, Triston Beauchamp)

 

Dennis Statz ready for Sturgeon Bay Common Council

After being selected as the new councilmember for District 2 in Sturgeon Bay on Tuesday, Dennis Statz is ready to get down to business.  Statz was sworn in at City Hall on Wednesday afternoon and will take his seat at the next Sturgeon Bay Common Council meeting on November 3rd.  Taking over for David Hayes, who resigned at the end of September, Statz will serve out the remaining term until April of 2022.  He has lived in Sturgeon Bay for nearly 40 years while serving on many committees and commissions for the city.  Statz says he is optimistic about the city’s future but the issue of finding enough housing in the community is a key concern.

 

 

Statz is currently the chair of the Aesthetic Design Review Board besides serving on the Plan Commission.  Originally from Martinville near Madison, Statz graduated from UW-Madison with a degree in engineering.  He moved to Sturgeon Bay in 1982 with his wife Bonnie.  They own and operate the White Lace Inn and Dancing Bear in downtown Sturgeon Bay.  You can listen to the entire interview with Dennis Statz on the podcast page.   

 

Kewaunee County eclipses 1,000 COVID-19 cases 

Kewaunee County reported another 20 positive tests of COVID-19 on Thursday to bring its total to 1,001.   That was countered with 27 more recoveries dropping active cases to 94.  Kewaunee County reported no new hospitalizations and remains at five.

 

Door County added 27 new coronavirus cases on Thursday with no new recoveries noted.   Active cases increased to 139 in Door County with no new hospitalizations. 

 

Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported over 3,400 new positive tests of COVID-19 on Thursday with 22 additional deaths and 151 more hospitalizations.   

 

 

 

 

 

  

Algoma in search of new city clerk

The City of Algoma will be looking for a new city clerk in November.  The current clerk, Jamie Jackson, will be leaving for a similar position in Two Rivers next month.  City Administrator Jared Heyn says applications and resumes for the city clerk position will be accepted through November 18.  After that deadline, Heyn hopes to have the new city clerk in place before the first of the year.

 

 

Heyn adds that Jackson is staying on in a part-time capacity until after the November election to help with the transition process.  Jackson became Algoma’s city clerk four years ago right at the time of the last presidential election.  You can find more information on the city clerk position for the City of Algoma here.

 

(photo courtesy of City of Algoma)

Farmers rush to plant cover crops

Farmers in Door and Kewaunee counties know time is of the essence when it comes to planting this fall. Temperatures in the 60s would allow plants to establish themselves and grow before winter halts any progress.  Over the next week, temperatures will likely not hit even 50 degrees and overnight lows could be below freezing on some days. Ebert Enterprises Conservation Coordinator Nick Guilette says germination for their cover crops like winter triticale and winter wheat has been an issue due to the dry weather and low temperatures. He encourages farmers to get as much done as possible now even with wet weather on the horizon.

Guilette says some farmers have had success broadcasting seeds on frozen ground if you are behind schedule, but he would not recommend it otherwise. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, approximately 86 percent of winter wheat has been planted, which is about a month ahead of last year’s pace. Farmers plant cover crops like winter wheat in the fall not just for additional forage but also to help improve the soil’s health and prevent erosion.

 

Picture from when Guilette won the CCA Conservationist of the Year award in 2019.

Senator worried for health care with justice appointment

By the end of the year, Senator Tammy Baldwin believes thousands of Wisconsinites could be without health care in the middle of a pandemic. The Democratic senator was a part of a virtual roundtable with state leaders about issues surrounding women and chidren’s health, pre-existing conditions, and young adult coverage. The conversation came the day before the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved the nomination for Judge Amy Coney Barrett to be elevated to the U.S. Supreme Court. The nation’s highest court is also set to listen to arguments to overturn the Affordable Care Act on November 10th. Baldwin encourages people to speak out.

She added that the stories told during the virtual roundtable of how the Affordable Care Act has helped people were especially powerful. Baldwin says voters should study the issue of health care before they head to the polls. Republican Senator Ron Johnson is set to join us for a phone conversation on Friday.

Door County to receive WHEDA funding

Door County will see a boost from a state when it comes to closing gaps in housing availability. The county joins Marinette County and the Chequamagon Bay area as one of three applicants to receive money from the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority through its rural workforce housing program. WHEDA has committed $10 million to the program which hopes to offer closing cost assistance, rehabilitation financing, small business and economic development loans, and community grants and services. State Senator Andre Jacque sits on the WHEDA Board of Directors and says Door County has put a lot of time and energy into this issue.

Thirteen communities applied for the pilot program, which had to show more than 25 percent of their county’s residents live in rural areas as defined by the United States Department of Agriculture. Jacque believes this will help employees who want to relocate to the area be able to find something they can afford.

 

In a press release from the Door County Economic Development Corporation, the organization saluted the design team that helped complete the application by highlighting the work of the 2019 housing study. You can read those comments below:

 

STURGEON BAY, WI - Door County has been selected as one of three pilot communities in Wisconsin as part of WHEDA’s (Wisconsin Housing & Economic Development Authority) new Rural Affordable Workforce Housing Initiative.

In an effort by the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority to address the state’s shortage of rural affordable workforce housing is moving forward with the selection of three pilot communities and new financing tools for homebuyers and developers in rural areas. After gaining approvals from WHEDA’s board, the rural affordable workforce housing pilot attracted strong interest from communities throughout the state. WHEDA CEO Joaquín Altoro said the pilot selection process was rigorous and highly competitive.

The process prioritized applicants with readiness to create solutions that can work across rural Wisconsin. The selected communities identified diverse pilot teams with experienced “conveners”; demonstrated current land-use policies that support affordable workforce housing, and exhibited openness to innovative solutions with new collaborative partners.

WHEDA’s $10 million rural affordable workforce housing initiative including the community pilot and supplemental financing tools are funded by WHEDA operations with no state tax dollars involved. Beyond WHEDA’s investment of funds and staff, it will take the commitment of many public, private and nonprofit partners working together to turn the tide on housing issues in rural communities statewide.

Door County’s continued focus on improving and increasing access to affordable and decent housing in our community continues to be one of top priority, being named as a Pilot Community through this initiative will help to accelerate access to innovative solutions. The DCEDC Housing Study that was completed in 2019 was a key component in Door County’s selection as a pilot community along with the strong collaborations that exist in the community surrounding housing issues.

For the County to get to this point of being announced as a pilot project winner, it took the hard work and dedication of many individuals across the community; special thanks to Bret Bicoy of the Door County Community Foundation, Marty Olejniczak, Community Development Director for the City of Sturgeon Bay, and Mariah Goode & Rebecca Kerwin of the Door County Department of Land Use Services.

Plan Commission delays action on Bay Ship rezoning

A special meeting has been set for October 28th to address a rezoning request from Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding for several parcels along North Third Avenue. Three-quarters of the Sturgeon Bay City Plan Commission must agree before the panel can act on this type of matter. Given the seven-person composition, six members have to consent to meet that threshold. Members Mark Holey and Dennis Statz said they were not committed to addressing the issue yet.


Member Helen Bacon took part in her first City Plan Commission meeting. She felt that since the focus of different government entities gives only a partial picture of the issues at hand, topics discussed Wednesday strayed from the commission's scope. Mayor David Ward agreed, saying that for the special meeting on the 28th, he wanted Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding to present on the regulatory scrutiny it receives to ease neighbor concerns on noise and dust.

 


Ward said he has had discussions with Vice President and General Manager Todd Thayse and others about landscaping work along Third Avenue, but he wants a more detailed plan at the next meeting. Ward's list of topics was accepted by Holey, Statz, and other commission members as being sufficient. 


Thayse presented for Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding. He showcased a modified proposal that left the former winery and the old train station as C-2 (central business district) while changing the dirt lot surrounding the buildings and a narrow easement that stretches toward Bellin Health to I-2 (heavy industrial). He says there are no plans to build on the land. The lot will be paved, and Thayse said the company is working on beautification concepts, potentially displaying historical pieces like anchors and propeller blades laid out on a walking path along the road. 


Resident Hans Christian spoke against the rezoning, arguing that unlike Marinette and other working waterfronts in the state, Sturgeon Bay did not have enough of a buffer between the site and homes. Other neighbors echoed Christian's sentiments due to the noise and silica dust pollution they are forced to deal with. Sandblasting and painting will be moved indoors once construction is completed on the structures approved by the Zoning Board of Appeals recently.

 

Both the train depot and winery would remain zoned as C-2 (central business district).

 

Expanded "forever chemical" testing concerns commercial anglers

A commercial fishing operator from Door County calls plans to test for so-called “forever chemicals” in fish stocks disturbing.  The Department of Natural Resources has ordered a Marinette County manufacturer to test for PFAs in fish from public waters. Testing of fish from ponds on company property showed elevated levels of PFAs in some tissue samples.  Charlie Henriksen, owner of Henrisken Fisheries in Sister Bay, is concerned about new contamination coming after signs of progress in controlling pollutants on Green Bay.

 

 

 

The Menominee River was also recently delisted by the Environmental Protection Agency as a location of concern for chemical pollution.

Wisconsin sets single day COVID-19 death record

Wisconsin set a single-day record for COVID-19 deaths Wednesday at 48. New cases remained high at 4,205.


Door County announced 17 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday. There were no recoveries, so active cases rose to 112. There was also one additional hospitalization, the 31st since the pandemic began in March.


Kewaunee County had only 12 new cases, and two people were released from the hospital, bringing the current total down to five.  Active cases are down to 102.

 

 

 

State park attendance impacted by weather

As the leaves fall out of the trees, visitors still flock to Door County’s state parks under the right conditions. Potawatomi State Park Superintendent Erin Brown Stender says now is an interesting time of the year because people do a wide range of activities.

 


Brown Stender says that regardless of what Potawatomi experience guests choose, weather matters. Under sunny skies, Columbus Day weekend was hectic. The week after saw cold and rain, with visitation estimated to have fallen by over 50 percent. Overall, it has been a strong year for state parks. Brown Stender says you can expect to see 2021 annual passes on sale by December, but in-person purchases could be limited to mostly weekends. The stickers will be available online to buy.

 

Gardner quarry informational meeting date set

The Door County Soil and Water Conservation Department will hold an informational meeting on November 2nd on the proposed Stevenson Pier Road quarry in the Town of Gardner. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, people are asked to join by phone or computer, rather than in person. There are restrictions on who can present to the department. Only parties directly affected by the mine’s potential operations can weigh in, although Conservationist Greg Coulthurst says that the organization has taken steps to extend participation beyond what is required by law.

 


Soil and Water Conservation only looks at reclamation, or the plan to restore the site after the quarry’s operations have wrapped up. For the Gardner location, the developer is looking to lay down eight inches of subsoil, four inches of topsoil, and seed the grounds with a mix of native species. Coulthurst says that it could also potentially be used for farmland. Financial assurance is a stipulation that could be placed on the site, which involves the developer setting aside funds to guarantee the reclamation plan can be carried out.


The quarry would not be close to any navigable waterways, so the Department of Natural Resources does not have the authority to oversee the reclamation approval process. It is conducting a separate review of the stormwater runoff plan. According to the reclamation plan on file, the quarry is projected to be in operation for 20-40 years. It is available here.

 

Sheriff's department limits vacation home monitoring

Vacation homeowners in Door County or residents going on an extended trip need to make their own arrangements for property monitoring.  The Door County Sheriff's Department used to keep an eye on homes at the request of property owners who'd be away for long periods of time.  But Chief Deputy Pat McCarty reminds residents they now need to consider other options. 

 

 

Door County's policy for home monitoring was enacted in October 2019.

Some golf courses see good end to 2020

Golfers will still be able to tee off even as the temperatures start falling.  Some golf course operators say the 2020 season is creating some momentum for success in 2021.  Idlewild Golf Course in Sturgeon Bay, like others, had to take more precautions to protect public health.  Brandon Hansen, Idlewild General Manger, says despite COVID-19, business has been good and there's a reason for optimism next season.

Hansen also believes health precautions will bring back customer traffic to the pub and grill next year. He's also optimistic for the return of tournaments and group golf outings.

Trespassing while hunting already a concern

Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski says they have already seen an uptick in hunters trespassing while tracking wild game. He says the trespassing conversation is usually reserved for the start of the gun season for deer in late November, but it has already reared its head during the bowhunting and small game periods. Many times it is hunters losing track of where they are and stumbling onto property that has changed hands or is no longer public. Other incidents have escalated to hunters challenging law enforcement about their right to be on the land. Joski reminds hunters that they need permission directly from the property owner to hunt on the land before they line up their shot.

Wisconsin law dictates that you also need permission from the property owner if your harvest ends up on someone else’s property even if you shot it somewhere else. Hunters that trespass will usually begin with a verbal warning, but Joski adds it could end up as a citation if they choose to disregard the wishes of law enforcement and the property owner.

 

FROM SHERIFF JOSKI

Although the gun deer season does not open for a few weeks, we do have some other hunting seasons which of course have kicked off over the past few weeks, and I wanted to touch base on a reoccurring issue which we have already started to deal with this fall; trespassing.

             I don’t think there is a hunter out there who does not look forward to this time of year with great anticipation, but this year I have no doubt the need to break out into the great outdoors will be even that much greater. When it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle there is no better resource for physical health than fresh air, and no better psychological therapy than the tranquility and beauty of the outdoors. We just need to make sure that our personal pursuit of enjoyment does not come at the cost of another’s personal property rights.

             The statute that defines trespassing (Wisconsin State Statute 943.13) has many sub sets, but it can be summarized by the following:

“Anyone who enters onto property of another without the consent of the property owner”.

             Seems simple right? Many times what complicates this simple guiding rule are misunderstandings or miscommunications. Let’s start first with physical property boundaries. It is the responsibility of the hunter to know where they are at all times in regards to property lines. Historically, physically posting private property signs was required for enforcement; this is no longer the case. Ask before you enter. Even if you have been hunting on that specific land for years, don’t assume the same person owns the property. Ask before you enter. Also, the same person you had permission from last year may not want you to go on their land this year. Ask before you enter. The common theme here is: ASK BEFORE YOU ENTER!

             In regards to enforcement, it is important to note that before we take punitive action we will always start with a warning. This provides a clear message that regardless of past practice or miscommunication, you are no longer allowed on the property. It also makes it much easier if the trespassing citation goes to court in that it is documented that a warning was given and then disregarded.

             Although I covered this topic in another article, I would like to remind people that if you are using a dog for hunting, that dog is an extension of you. If you cannot be on a property, your dog can also not be on that property. It’s much like trespassing by proxy. ASK BEFORE YOU (Or your Dog) ENTER!

             Regardless of what hunt you are engaged in or even if you are just out exploring nature, don’t tarnish the experience by violating someone else’s property rights.

Trick or treating to look a little different

It will be a little different for trick-or-treaters this year in Door and Kewaunee counties due to COVID-19. Algoma and Jacksonport are not posting trick or treat hours this year while the Egg Harbor Business Association and Fish Creek Civic Association have canceled their Halloween events.  Kewaunee, Luxemburg, Casco, Sturgeon Bay, and Washington Island are allowing trick-or-treating during their posted hours. The Centers for Disease Control is discouraging trick-or-treating and costume parties in the traditional sense, but if you do go, Door County Public Health Director Sue Powers encourages you to take extra precautions.  

Powers encourages those passing out candy to be creative while limiting contact. Some communities are thinking outside the box to celebrate Halloween this year. The Baileys Harbor Community Association, the Brussels Lions Club, and both YMCA locations in Sturgeon Bay and Fish Creek will have drive-thru trick or treating events.  You can head to our events page for a rundown of trick-or-treat hours and Halloween events.

Statz chosen for Sturgeon Bay Common Council

Dennis Statz is the newest member of the Sturgeon Bay Common Council.  During a lengthy two-hour meeting Tuesday evening, the Sturgeon Bay Common Council filled the District 2 seat that was left open after David Hayes resigned at the end of September.  Statz was voted in as the alderperson by a 4-2 margin over three other candidates.  In speaking to the council prior to the vote, Statz shared his credentials.

 

 

Statz will be sworn in later this week and seated at the next meeting on November 3rd.

 

In other action taken, the Common Council denied the appeal of the decision of the Aesthetic Design & Site Plan Review Board regarding the Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding project.  Ross Schmelzer, who owns the building next to one of the Fincantieri structures being expanded, appealed the decision but was not able to attend and requested a delay until the next council meeting.  After a tie-breaking vote by Mayor David Ward to not postpone the agenda item, the council affirmed the Review Board decision but added conditions to address water drainage and noise concerns.

 

In a separate agenda item, a recommendation from the City Plan Commission regarding the area and dimensional requirements of buildings in industrial zoning districts was approved.  The amendment to the Municipal Code would allow height limits for buildings to be increased up to 120 feet and setbacks to existing structures.   That decision will now go to a public hearing on November 3rd before the second reading of the new ordinance.   

 

The City of Sturgeon Bay also formally approved the 2040 Comprehensive Plan. 

Car care tips for colder weather

As temperatures get colder outside, it’s a good time to make sure your vehicle is ready for fall and winter driving.  Mike Boucher, service manager at Jim Olson Ford-Lincoln in Sturgeon Bay, says you should make sure you have good tread on your vehicle’s tires, a dependable battery, and adequate coolant in the cooling system for below zero temperatures.  Proper inflation of tires is important as well.  He says the air pressure in tires can go down considerably faster this time of year.

 

 

Checking to make sure your vehicle’s window wipers are working properly is important as well. Boucher adds that everyone should keep a pair of jumper cables or a jumper pack in the trunk along with warm clothing, blankets, and a small snow shovel.  You can find more fall car care tips here

 

 

 

Over 50 more area COVID-19 positive tests, state sets record high in cases

Local coronavirus cases rose significantly on Tuesday as Wisconsin set a single-day high for COVID-19 positive tests with 4,591 new cases reported.  Door County added 28 new cases with active cases rising to 95.  No new recoveries were noted.  Kewaunee County showed 24 more COVID-19 cases with 106 active cases and 18 more recoveries.  There were three more hospitalizations in Door County while Kewaunee County did not change from the seven reported on Monday.  The Wisconsin Department of Health Services disclosed 33 additional deaths with over 200 hospitalizations from COVID-19 on Tuesday.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coyote sightings common in urban areas

Depending on when you head outside, do not be shocked if you spot a coyote within city limits. Even outside February and March when they are busy making dens and breeding, coyotes in urban areas like Sturgeon Bay are more common than people think. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Conservation Warden Chris Kratcha says that is because there are plenty of rabbits, mice, and other small mammals available to eat. Coyotes tend to do their feeding in the late evening to early morning hours, though that does not mean you will not see one during the daytime. He added that if having coyotes around your home concerns you, there are some ways you can mitigate a chance meeting.

Kratcha says coyotes usually do not want to be by humans, so it is not necessary to call the police or DNR about a sighting. You should call, however, if you notice it is sick or injured.

Culver's finding ways to give back

The pandemic has limited how much local businesses can give back to different organizations, but Culver’s of Sturgeon Bay owner Austin Hildebrand is still trying to find a way. The restaurant has donated thousands of dollars to local groups and causes as a part of its Share Night program. The program allowed the groups to work for their tips in addition to a small portion of the night’s profits. The closure of the dining room on the onset of the pandemic in addition to COVID-19 protocols have limited the impact those events can have. Wednesday’s Lights of Christmas campaign will be one of the first they have had since they have been able to open their dining room, though members of local law enforcement will be outside during the event delivering the food to cars. He says it is great to see organizations like the Sturgeon Bay Police Department and Door County Sheriff’s Department interact with the community in a different setting.

In addition to tips and proceeds going towards the Lights of Christmas campaign, three cents from every gallon of gas sold at the neighboring DoorStop Amoco station on Wednesday will also go towards the cause. Last week, Sturgeon Bay Police officer Brandon Shew told DoorCountyDailyNews.com it has raised approximately $3000 each of the last two years to help buy gift cards for local businesses to give to families in need.

Algoma Chamber Executive Director steps down

The Algoma Area Chamber of Commerce announced Tuesday that it is beginning a search for a new executive director. Kay Smith has left the organization for another opportunity, effective as of October 19th. Chamber Board President Tracy Nelson says employees are busy with the Friendly Algoma guidebook, as staff put the finishing touches on this year’s edition. That will push back the interview process until December. Nelson is hoping for a hire to be in place by February 1st, 2021. She says the position requires working with members and attracting new businesses to prepare for a rebound next year.

 


Nelson says discussions are already underway regarding the Concerts in the Park series and Shanty Days. She expects events to happen, even if COVID restrictions are still in place, and adjustments are necessary.

 

Weekly early releases scheduled for Sturgeon Bay Schools

The weekend will start a little earlier for Sturgeon Bay School District students. Beginning on November 6th, the district’s schools will have an early release on Fridays throughout the rest of the school year.  The plan allows teachers to meet with students one-on-one either virtually or in person, talk with parents, set up assessments, and upload materials to its remote learning platform for the upcoming week. Superintendent Dan Tjernagel is appreciative of the flexibility being shown by parents, employers, students, and staff as they work through the school year.

Outside of an eight-day stretch in September where several grades had to be quarantined due to COVID-19 issues, Tjernagel is happy that the numbers have allowed them to keep most of the students in the classroom learning. Sturgeon Bay School District updates the COVID-19 dashboard on their website on Wednesdays.

DCMC seeing hospitalizations rise

Door County Medical Center Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jim Heise says last week was the busiest he has seen the hospital in his ten years of working there. During Monday’s Facebook video update, Dr. Heise said the 25-bed hospital had at one point 31 patients. Eight of those were hospitalized with COVID-19, which Dr. Heise said are different than the five currently under treatment for the virus at the hospital. He remarked that Door County Medical Center has seen an uptick in hospitalizations due to COVID-19 but believes they still have the capacity to help people.

Heise says because of staffing concerns, they have had to adjust their schedules a little bit.

Heise believes that even though Green Bay hospitals are also feeling the surge from COVID-19, patients in need of help that Door County Medical Center is unable to provide can be transferred. He added that the COVID-19 treatment at Door County Medical Center includes Remdesivir, dexamethasone if their oxygen is low enough, and convalescent plasma.

 

 

Sturgeon Bay looks to fill council seat Tuesday

The open aldermanic seat for District 2 in Sturgeon Bay will be considered at Tuesday’s Common Council meeting.  The four candidates seeking to fill David Hayes’ position on the council are Stephen Day, Randy Morrow, Caitlin Oleson, and Dennis Statz.  City Administrator Josh VanLieshout says the council will listen to presentations of the four people who submitted letters of interest and then consider the appointment. The chosen candidate would officially be seated at the November 3rd meeting.  Other agenda items on Tuesday include an appeal decision of the Aesthetic Design & Site Plan Review Board regarding the Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding Project and adoption of the City’s 2040 Comprehensive Plan.  The Sturgeon Bay Common Council meeting will begin at 7 pm in Council Chambers at City Hall on Tuesday.

 

Agenda for Tuesday's meeting   

Local law enforcement stressing teen driver safety 

With National Teen Driver Safety Week in progress, local school resource officers are sharing information that parents should go over with their teen drivers.  Southern Door School Resource Officer Greg Medlen says teens who recently obtained their driver’s license should be aware of three critical errors that can lead to serious crashes when behind the wheel.  He notes speeding, scanning to notice possible hazards, and distracted driving.

 

 

National Teen Driver Safety Week reminds parents to have conservations with their teens about staying safe behind the wheel of a motor vehicle.  Officer Medlen adds that wearing a seat belt is one of the simplest ways for teens to stay safe while inside a vehicle.  Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among 15 to 20-year olds, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. 

 

 

(photo courtesy of Southern Door County School District) 

 

Household Hazardous Waste Clean Sweep coming in November

You can find a safe and easy way to dispose of unwanted hazardous household waste products next month.  The Door County Highway Department will be offering a drop off in Sister Bay and Sturgeon Bay on November 6th and 7th, respectively.  All Door County residents are invited to get rid of any household hazardous wastes that can cause harm to people and the environment if not disposed of properly.  Door County Highway Commissioner John Kolodziej gives some examples of household chemicals that can be brought for disposal.

 

 

Kolodziej notes that fluids found around the garage like old gasoline or oil mixtures, antifreeze, and oil-based paints.  No medical or commercial waste will be accepted.  Due to COVID-19 safety guidelines, all items will be taken out of trunks or hatchbacks as you must remain in their vehicles when dropping off the containers of waste.  The household hazardous waste collection event will be from 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm on Friday, November 6 at the Sister Bay/ Liberty Grove Fire Department on Mill Road in Sister Bay.   The Saturday, November 7 event will be held at the Door County Highway Department on South Duluth Avenue in Sturgeon Bay from 8 am – 10:00 am.

 

  

 

 

Area continues to show spike in COVID-19 cases

COVID-19 cases surged in Kewaunee County with 47 more positive tests reported on Monday.  Kewaunee County showed 30 more recoveries with active cases rising an even 100.  The positivity rate in Kewaunee County was 47 percent of the 100 test results.  Door County reported a slight jump in COVID-19 cases with 17 positive tests.  Active cases dropped to 68 with 28 new recoveries reported.  The positivity rate was 6.9 percent in Door County.  Hospitalizations did not go up in Door County over the weekend, but Kewaunee County noted one more.   Statewide, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services posted Monday that over 3,800 more positive tests were recorded on Monday with an additional 21 deaths.

 

 

 

Liberty Grove residents want action on Mariners Park

Liberty Grove resident Steve Eatough believes more progress should have been made to make the proposed Mariner’s Park in Gills Rock a reality. Eatough along with fellow resident Mike Bahrke presented a plan for the property over a year ago which he says included the top five things residents wanted from the park. Those ideas included a tribute to the area’s fishing history, a pavilion, silent sports access, and green space. Outside of that presentation, Eatough feels the project has never been seriously considered.  The town has since developed an ad hoc committee which has met since January to develop a plan moving forward. Eatough says nothing has been accomplished since that committee has been formed, let alone in the close to two years the town has owned the property since it was purchased for $1.5 million in 2018.

He would like to see the ad hoc committee at least consider the plan he presented along with Bahrke and move on from there.

Liberty Grove chairperson John Lowry told DoorCountyDailyNews.com last week that the pandemic and adding shoreline protection measures have eaten up large portions of the town’s budget that could have been used for developing the site. The Liberty Grove Town Board will discuss bids for shoreline protection for Mariners Park and appoint new members to the ad hoc committee when it meets on Wednesday at 7 p.m.

UPDATE: Pilot ok after Washington Island crash

A man was able to walk away under his own free will after his helicopter crashed at Washington Island Airport Sunday afternoon. The crash occurred just after 2:00 p.m. as it was trying to take off. The pilot, who was the sole occupant of the helicopter, was not injured as a result. Washington Island Police Officer Gary Schultz says the cause of the crash is under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration but added the pilot reported there were some wind gusts.
 

 

Schultz says most emergency personnel left the scene after about 25 minutes, though he stayed back until the helicopter was removed from the scene. The name and other details about the crash are being withheld until the FAA concludes its investigation.

Public gathering limits reinstated

A Barron County judge has denied an effort by the Tavern League of Wisconsin to strike down a limit on public gatherings, which puts a capacity limit back in effect for local businesses. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Judge James Babler said because they could not prove they were complying with the order, the Tavern League of Wisconsin and two other bars involved in the suit could not say they were harmed by it. It is a reversal from what Sawyer County Judge John Yackel ruled last week blocking the order. In a statement from Tavern League of Wisconsin President Chris Marsicano, he expressed “disappointment in the ruling and catastrophic effects it will continue to have on small businesses across Wisconsin.” Governor Tony Evers called the decision critically important to prevent the spread of the virus. The order, which went into effect on October 8th, expires on November 6th.

In-person voting begins Tuesday

Voters in Door and Kewaunee counties are not waiting for election day to cast their ballots. According to the Wisconsin Elections Commission, 8,264 voters in Door County and 3,877 in Kewaunee Counties have had absentee ballots sent to their homes. Of those, approximately 68 percent of Door County voters and 60 percent of Kewaunee County’s have already sent their ballots in. Municipal offices can begin offering in-person absentee voting on Tuesday. Sister Bay Village Clerk Heidi Teich advises people to set up an appointment ahead of time.

Teich urges people voting absentee to do so well ahead of time to make sure they can be contacted if there are issues with their ballot. She says approximately 50 percent of Sister Bay residents requested absentee ballots with many of them already received at the village hall. In-person absentee voting ends on November 1st.

Sevastopol High School to adjust schedules in November

High school students at Sevastopol in need of more help will be getting it at the beginning of November. All grade levels will remain in the current A/B schedule until the quarter ends on October 30th. Students currently attend in-person classes on alternate days Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday and alternate weeks on Wednesdays. When the new quarter begins, principal Adam Baier will notify families that have students that will have to attend on Wednesdays instead of on alternate weeks. Those kids include anybody on the D/F list, missing work, or needs extra lab time. Sevastopol Superintendent Kyle Luedtke says Model four is about getting kids the help they need safely.

Students with poor Internet may also be able to attend on virtual days, but they would be confined to the library. The district’s other grades will remain in the A/B model until further notice.

Pilot ok after Washington Island crash

A man was able to walk away under his own free will after his helicopter crashed at Washington Island Airport Sunday afternoon. According to WBAY, the crash occurred just after 2:00 p.m. as it was trying to take off. The pilot, who was the sole occupant of the helicopter, was not injured as a result. No runways were blocked as a result of the incident as it occurred near the airport’s helicopter pad. No other details were released and the crash is under investigation. We will have more details as it arrives.

Bank of Luxemburg expanding into northern Door County

The Bank of Luxemburg will be hiring a contractor shortly to construct a new bank branch in Fish Creek. Currently, its northernmost location is in Sturgeon Bay, about a half hour away. President and Chief Executive Officer Tim Treml says that the opportunity arose after another bank walked away from the market. The company already has a strong customer base in the area, who stand to be helped the most.

 


The Bank of Luxemburg has only ten to 15 percent of its commercial loan portfolio dedicated to agriculture. Manufacturing, real estate, and retail have become increasingly important components of its operations. The branch is expected to open in the next six months and will provide three full-time jobs as well as part-time work. It is designed to have a next-generation ATM capable of providing customers with access to a teller remotely.

 

*Photo courtesy of Bank of Luxemburg website. 

 

Awards help Neighbor-to-Neighbor replace hospital beds

Neighbor-to-Neighbor will be able to continue lending hospital beds to homebound, recuperating Door County residents free of charge.  That's being made possible by a pair of grants.  The Green Bay Packers Foundation and the Door County Community Foundation awarded a total of nearly $10,300.  Executive Director Ann Bennett says those funds come at just the right time.

 


Bennett says the hospital beds are currently going out as fast as they're returned.

Letter controversy comes to Door County

The controversy surrounding a letter included in boxes distributed by the United States Department of Agriculture has reared itself in Sturgeon Bay. 

 

In a statement posted online on Saturday, the United Way of Door County admitted it made the decision to remove a letter from the Farmers to Families given out on Wednesday because it was signed by President Donald Trump. It states that as a 501 (c) 3 charity associated with United Way Worldwide, it is prohibited from distributing materials that could be deemed political. In place of the letter, volunteers placed a resource envelope with information from a number of sources including local food pantries and the League of Women Voters of Door County. The resource envelope had been given at previous events, though separate from the boxes themselves Facebook users charged the organization with playing politics with the boxes by removing the letter. Some pointed out that the letter was not political in nature and there is a difference between "President" Trump and "candidate" Trump.   

 

According to NEO Law Group, non-profit groups are prohibited from engaging in electioneering activities and could have their status stripped.  The letter signed by Trump gives information about the 50 million Farmers to Families Food Boxes distributed so far this year as well as emphasizing the Centers for Disease Control recommendations surrounding the coronavirus. Politico reports that non-profits and food pantries across the country have struggled with the idea of distributing the boxes with the letter with worries that it may be construed as an election activity. While some food banks have ignored the mandate, a food bank in Oregon stopped distributing the packages out of concern for losing its non-profit status. 

 

The next USDA Farmers to Families Food Box Program distribution event in Door County is Wednesday at the former Shopko in Sister Bay.

 

Photo from the United Way of Door County from a Farmers to Families distribution box event in June. 

DOT won't adjust speed limit on Highway 57

After a request from Door County, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation researched reducing the speed limit on State Highway 57 between State Highway 42 and School Road. During Tuesday's Highway and Airport Committee meeting, Commissioner John Kolodziej presented their findings. DOT says that crashes happen more often than the statewide average, and commuters often travel faster than 65 miles per hour on the stretch. It is recommending against changing the speed limit to 55 mph, though.

 


In other news, Kolodziej's resignation was accepted by Committee Member Ken Fisher. Kolodziej had initially indicated he would be seeking retirement in the spring but has stayed on at the Board of Supervisors' request. Kolodziej will be given the opportunity to hire his successor before he wraps up his decades-long term with the department. The committee approved the purchase of snow removal equipment and one riding tractor as well.

 

Picture courtesy of Wikipedia. 

 

Legal identification for voting easy to get online

Renewing your drivers license or state-issued ID card in time for the presidential election is easily done at the Department of Motor Vehicles Service Centers on Egg Harbor Road in Sturgeon Bay and on 4th Street in Algoma.  There are also online options for those who can't leave home or have COVID-19 concerns.  The DMV is now promoting those online options for those who want to update their legal identification.  DMV Administrator Kristina Boardman says once you've applied online you're ready to cast your ballot or register to vote.

 

 

 

More information on applying for legal identification can be found at www.wisconsindmv.gov.

Hotel spoofing scams becoming more sophisticated

The Door County Tourism Zone Committee has dealt with spoofing scams in the past, but as they become more sophisticated, they threaten to put potential visitors at risk by exposing personal information. Spoofing involves faking anything from an email to a phone call or website to disguise a third party making contact with you as they look for information or infect your computer with ransomware. Administrator Kim Roberts said Thursday that she was confirming at least nine spoof listings for properties between the Landmark Resort and The Rushes listed on VRBO.

 


Roberts says that even if you avoid having personal data fall into the wrong hands, spoofing comes with the inconvenience of having people travel up to Door County only to find they don’t have a reservation. In the summertime, when 100% occupancy countywide isn’t unheard of, that could mean having to stay hours away.

 

Kress Pavilion solar array in the works

Next year, as much as 20% of the electricity used at the Kress Pavilion in Egg Harbor will originate from a solar array set for spring installation. Administrator Ryan Heise says the project dates back to the building's construction. A conduit already exists on the property that ties into the Egg Harbor's electrical grid. The pole-mounted solar array system will be located in a nearby field, not attached to the Kress Pavilion itself. State and federal grants are expected to help make the project profitable immediately. Heise says savings will allow the solar panels to pay for themselves in a little over ten years.

 


By comparison, the system's useful life is estimated at 25 years, and the warranty will last twenty. Egg Harbor will be putting the project out for bid in the coming weeks. The village looked at a similar installation near the wastewater treatment plant but abandoned it when analysis showed it was not cost-effective.

 

Public Safety Committee approves two new police vehicles

Door County Sheriff Tammy Sternard and Chief Deputy Patrick McCarty presented to the Public Safety Committee on its 2021 budget. They sought approval to purchase two new vehicles, detailing bids from Jim Olson Ford of Sturgeon Bay and Ewald Ford of Hartford. Jim Olson provided only information for a Ford Interceptor and Ford Interceptor Hybrid. Ewald submitted quotes for a Dodge Durango and a Chevrolet Tahoe as well. 


McCarty said he was pleased with the numbers, as both dealerships made proposals below the cost for Interceptors purchased last year. Ewald's bid was slightly below that of Jim Olson Motors, $32,578 versus $32,950. Delivery from Ewald was factored into the price. Still, it is the policy of the committee and the sheriff's department that bids have to differ by at least three percent to justify opting for a dealership that is not local. Chair Joel Gunnlaugsson cited precedent at Tuesday's meeting.

 


The committee expressed interest in potentially buying a hybrid vehicle, but eventually decided against it due to potential performance concerns. McCarty says he sought advice from other departments, who already had hybrids in their fleet. He said he got few responses to his inquiries, but those he received noted problems switching between the electric drive train and gasoline engine. Given the department's intent to use the cars as pursuit vehicles, it was determined that a hybrid purchase should be delayed until there is more information available.

 

Census data to be used for congressional apportionment

Thursday was the final day to provide the Census Bureau with information for its count. The census has been performed in ten-year intervals since 1790 and is prescribed by the United States Constitution. The data is used for many purposes, including allocating federal funding for anything from transportation projects to healthcare spending. First, a report must be delivered to the President by the end of this year, and congressional reapportionment begins no later than April of next year. Public Affairs Specialist Jewel Jordan emailed DoorCountyDailyNews.com to share information from the Congressional Research Office on the process.


Each state is guaranteed one seat in the US House of Representatives. The remaining 385 are determined via a formula that has been in place since 1941. In 2010, Wisconsin's roughly 5.8 million residents earned it seven additional congress members. Districts are supposed to have roughly equal population. In Wisconsin, they are created by the legislature. State Assembly and State Senate maps are also redrawn using Census information. The process must be completed before the 2022 general election. 

 

Ephraim break wall cost estimate rising

The Village of Ephraim's Board of Trustees met Tuesday, discussing the proposed shorefront protection work. Ken Nelson updated the group on the most recent specs from AECOM. A final version is expected within weeks. As the vision takes shape, several changes have been made to the initial concept, bringing rising costs. 


Nelson spent a significant amount of his presentation on new asphalt walking paths along the water, connecting to the highway and landmarks like Monument Park. The sidewalk will have cutouts for picnic tables and benches. The southern region is undeveloped, so Physical Facilities has been tasked with finding a use for the property. Nelson says that, at minimum, soil will be brought in to replace the erosion that has occurred there, and sod will be laid down.


As the scope of the project increases, so does the cost. Original estimates were around $300,000. Estimates are now over double that at $740,000 with a contingency included. Administrator Brent Bristol says that figure should help the village avoid any surprises when the final amount is determined.

 


The board hopes to vote on a final proposal at the December meeting with work put out for bid so that contractors will be lined up to begin work at first chance next spring.

 

Winter's spring set to bloom at Miller Art Museum

A whimsical garden is the scene of a new exhibit from Leslie Iwea at the Miller Art Museum in Sturgeon Bay. The works will be on display from October 24th until December 26th and come with a touching backstory, says curator Helen Del Guidice. Iwea has been a teacher for years, including helping the elderly and cognitively impaired. At the center of the gallery is Tulips for Clemens, three twenty-foot flowers inspired by a man Iwea taught. Tulips were his favorite subject. 
Also on display are plenty of rabbits and Levi the giraffe, three feet tall and made of vinyl. Del Guidice says to expect flashy, bright colors.

 


Additionally, pieces from the Miller's permanent collection will be scattered at the mezzanine level to add to the outdoor wildlife feel. Iwea has a background in mathematics and chemistry, but that analytical element to her art is missing in Winter's Spring: An Ältere Garten. Del Guidice says that it is interesting to note that the things that bring us joy as we age are often remarkably similar to what creates happiness for a child.

 

 

District attorney supports more transitional housing

People recently released from the Door County jail or face mental health or substance abuse issues have few options for temporary housing.  That's according to a League of Women Voters-Door County study.  The Door County Jail recently started Operation Fresh Start to help residents line up housing and employment prior to release.  But the sole transitional housing facility has only three-bedrooms and a long waiting list. Door County District Attorney Colleen Nordin agrees with the study's finding that more transitional options are needed.

 

 

 

Clients are limited to a stay of 60-days at the current transitional housing facility and are electronically monitored during that time.  

Sturgeon Bay leaf pickup starts Monday

Sturgeon Bay’s Municipal Services Department has announced it will begin leaf pickup on Monday. The city is broken up into regions with the goal being multiple passes through each area, says Director Mike Barker.

 


Sturgeon Bay is reminding residents to rake leaves to the curb but keep them out of the street. That helps the city avoid having to clean out clogged stormwater drains. Leaves should be left loose, rather than in bags, and there should be no yard waste or other garbage mixed into the piles. Department employees will inspect the stacks before loading it into the truck. The city is also asking residents to keep animal waste out of the leaf piles. Those materials can be dropped off at the compost site on Division Street at no charge.

 

Halloween by the dashboard light

Friday, October 30th, trick or treaters will be able to pick up a grab bag of Halloween goodies thanks to a drive-thru Halloween event at the Door County YMCA. The organization has been in talks for over a week on how best to celebrate the holiday safely. Director of Membership Services Tonya Felhofer says that one of the original concepts was to have an outdoor children's parade in Peterson Park. The new plan allows for costumes and treats without causing community members to worry about potential COVID-19 spread. Marketing Director Amy Gamble says all participants need to let the Y know they're coming beforehand.

 


Registration can be done by phone at (920) 743-4949 or online. Drive-thru trick or treating will happen at both the Sturgeon Bay and Fish Creek YMCA locations from 3:00-6:00 PM Friday, October 30th. 

 

Packer Foundation aids community health program

The Washington Island Community Health Program scored some much-needed funding from the Green Bay Packers.  The program is one of over 200 recipients statewide to share $1.75-million through the Packers Foundation.  WICHP Executive Director Christine Andersen says the $3500 award will go a long way to helping the organization fulfill its mission.

 

 

 

Andersen says trying to raise $3500 during the COVID-19 pandemic would be challenging. Among the other Door County organizations receiving Packer Foundation awards are Door-Tran Inc. Neighbor-to-Neighbor, Volunteer Caregivers of Door County, Inc, and We Are Hope. East Shore Industries, Inc. of Kewaunee County also received funding from the Packer Foundation.

 

Photo taken during 2017 event. Provided courtesy of Washington Island Community Health Program Facebook page.

Room tax hike being examined by new committee

The Door County Tourism Zone Committee Full Commission met Thursday and discussed an agenda item proposed by the Town of Baileys Harbor to make changes for taxes generated by hotels and other lodgings in the area. The tax rate would jump from 5.5 to eight percent, with revenues being split 70/30 between the local government and the community association responsible for promoting and organizing events. The final piece is a new permitting fee system that would fund the tourism administration. With the explosion of rental properties, the one-person staff has gone from processing 500 permits in 2009 to over 1,200 last year. Baileys Harbor says that a fee system would allow for hiring a second full-time employee and one part-time worker to keep up with the demands of the marketplace. It would also help Destination Door County fulfill its role in assisting individual innkeepers to market themselves appropriately to stand out in a crowded field of options.

 


Any eventual changes would have to be approved by the governing boards of member municipalities.

 

(Corrected story-  Regular meeting was held for the Door County Tourism Zone Committee Full Commission and the Town of Baileys Harbor proposed the changes.  The Door County Tourism Zone Committee does not handle marketing-related issues)

Hunt for the Hungry promotes more venison donations

Food pantries in Door and Kewaunee counties are serving more people. So, they're hoping hunters will donate a little more venison over the various deer hunting seasons.  The Hunt for the Hungry program and some participating deer processors are working to promote that idea. Some meat processors are raffling off firearms or other cuts of meat to encourage hunter participation.  Hunt for the Hungry spokesperson Craig Robbins also recommends hunters not let their antlerless deer tags go unused.

 

 

 

More information on which meat processors are taking part in the Hunt for the Hungry program can be found at here.

Food supply chain stabilizing for local grocers

The food supply chain has stabilized enough to make some local grocers feel pretty good about the upcoming holiday season.   Early on during the health crisis, problems arose for the food supply chain that impacted producers, processors, and foodservice operators.  Tadych’s Econofoods Store Manager Jon Calhoun is optimistic about the fourth quarter as the overall selection of stock rebounds.

 

 

Calhoun says a late pumpkin season had delayed canned products but now pumpkin pie mix and other products are available.  He notes that the pricing for turkeys and prime rib is holding close to the same as last year.  Econofoods has pre-ordered for turkeys already, but Calhoun recommends that consumers plan ahead since supermarkets may not be able to get more if they run low.  

Shedding light on domestic violence

A local organization that advocates for victims of domestic abuse is on a crusade to educate the

community.  Help of Door County Executive Director Milly Gonzales says a 24-hour hotline is available as well as immediate services for those in need of help.

 

 

Help of Door County also provides legal advocacy.   Gonzales says that means giving moral support during family court appointments and assisting in the restraining order process.  The U.S. Department of Justice estimates that there are over 2 million victims of physical violence perpetrated by a partner every year.  Help of Door County offers preventative programs as well as crisis intervention.  October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. 

 

Podcast with Milly Gonzales here

Area adds 46 more COVID-19 cases

Confirmed positive tests for COVID-19 in the area continued an upswing on Friday as Wisconsin set another one-day record in cases.  Door County added 20 new coronavirus cases but did see 14 recoveries.  That brings active cases up slightly to 79.  The positivity rate in Door County showed to be 27 percent with three new hospitalizations reported.  Kewaunee County reported another 26 positive tests on Friday but showed 19 more recoveries.  Active cases rose slightly to 83.  The positivity rate for the test results was 31.7 percent with Kewaunee County still reporting six current hospitalizations.   Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported another record one-day high of 3,861 new positive tests of COVID-19 on Friday with 21 additional deaths and 135 hospitalizations.  

 

 

New pier at Potawatomi State Park

A handicap-accessible fishing pier is nearly completed at Potawatomi State Park in Door County.  $180,000 of the $360,000 project was funded through donations obtained by the park’s Friends Group.  Scott Bader, president of the Friends of Potawatomi State Park says an old portable pier was washed away in a storm back in 2014.  He says the fabrication of the pier deck has been delayed a little bit but everyone will soon be able to enjoy it.

 

 

Bader adds that the Friends of Potawatomi State Park organization is currently working on an addition to the shelter at the park that will make it an open-air pavilion.  That project is expected to be completed for the Run Wild Race scheduled for Columbus Day weekend next year.

 

(photo submitted)

Food service workers keeping students fed

The pandemic has certainly presented its challenges to foodservice directors like Sturgeon Bay School District’s Jenny Spude. When schools closed in March due to the pandemic, Spude and her team were tasked with not just making and packaging the food but making sure it got out to the families that needed it in Sturgeon Bay. For a few weeks, those efforts even included much of Northern Door after Gibraltar had to shut down its operations due to a positive COVID-19 test. Getting food to students remained a challenge when schools reopened because instead of serving kids in a cafeteria with reusable cutlery, it had to bring the meals directly to the classroom in disposable materials. She says one big adjustment they made was how to package their meals without having a large negative impact on the environment, even if it comes at a higher cost.

Spude says they are serving fewer kids this year than years’ past possibly due to COVID-19 concerns. Sturgeon Bay School District among others opted into a program that allowed students to have a free breakfast or lunch through the end of the calendar year thanks to a United States Department of Agriculture waiver. Spude says the program has been extended now to the end of the school year.

 

Picture from Sturgeon Bay Schools

 

 

Tourist economies get boost through grants

Many of the businesses that make up the tourism economy in locales like Door County are getting the boost. Within the last week, three major grant programs have been announced by state agencies. The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation announced a second phase of the We’re All in Grants, which could mean an additional $50 million in federal CARES Act funding for the state’s small businesses. The Wisconsin Department of Administration announced $15 million in grant funding for the state’s live music and entertainment venues and $20 million for its lodging businesses. All three sectors have experienced massive losses in 2020 due to the pandemic closing their doors for at least a portion if not the entire year. Destination Door County’s Jon Jarosh says it comes at a good time for many businesses in the area that may have not been able to access these federal dollars in the past.

The deadlines vary from program to program. Grant applications for lodging entities is due October 26th, live music and entertainment venues on October 28th, and other small businesses on November 2nd.  You can click on the links above for more information.

Manufacturing rebounding amid pandemic

NEW Industries owner Chris Moore is proud of the way he and other Door County manufacturers have been able to weather the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Reuters, factory production nationwide is about 6.4 percent below its pre-pandemic levels. NEW Industries in Sturgeon Bay has seen its business volume go down because of the effect the pandemic had on the construction industry. Moore says the agricultural, energy, and defense sectors of its business have allowed them to stay profitable and keep workers employed during the last seven months. He is happy that things seem to be recovering even if the big increases in volume are not there yet.

Moore says COVID-19 and the election are still having an impact on whether or not businesses decided to move forward with big capital expenditures. He salutes his employees for their commitment to their jobs and their safety so people can stay healthy and productive.

County, National Guard ramps up COVID testing next week

Door County is joining forces with the Wisconsin National Guard to offer a more sustained effort in COVID-19 testing through the beginning of December.  Beginning on October 19th, COVID-19 testing will be offered on a weekly recurring basis on Mondays until December 7th. Testing efforts will rotate on a biweekly basis between two sites: the Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Station on Mill Road and the Sturgeon Bay Fire Station on Michigan Street. The rotation begins with Sister Bay on Monday before switching to Sturgeon Bay. Tests will be conducted between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Those interested in getting tested are encouraged, but not required to register in advance. You can find the full schedule and registration information below.

 

STURGEON BAY, WI – Door County is partnering with the Wisconsin National Guard to offer
free COVID-19 testing for the community on a weekly recurring basis beginning on October 19th
and going through December 7th. Testing will occur every Monday during that span from
8:00AM – 4:00PM.


The location of the testing site will rotate each week between a northern and a central site within
the County to allow for as much of the County to have access to testing as possible.


The northern site will be located at the Sister Bay Fire Station 2258 Mill Road Sister Bay. The
central site will be located at the Sturgeon Bay Fire Station 421 Michigan St Sturgeon Bay.

 

The dates of the northern site are as follows: October 19th, November 2nd, 16th, 30th
The dates of the central site are as follows: October 26th, November 9th, 23rd, December 7th

 

The public is encouraged to visit https://register.covidconnect.wi.gov to pre-register, but are not
required to do so.

 

You must be at least five years old and showing symptoms.

City of Algoma finishing up 2021 budget

The City of Algoma has nearly assembled its operating budget for the next year.  City Treasurer Amber Shallow says a balanced budget was presented to the City Council at the Finance and Personnel meeting last month.  She says a few changes may come after the public hearing which is scheduled for 6 pm on November 2nd.  She says one budget item that will be discussed is the maximum levy that is allowable.

 

 

The City of Algoma will then likely adopt the final budget proposal at a special council meeting held immediately after the next Finance and Personnel meeting on November 17.  Shallow adds that the revenue raised by the city is predominately from property taxes which did not see a reduction.  Some revenues that did fall were from the accommodation tax for hotel stays but the vast majority of that money gets passed on to the tourism promotion committee.  You can find the City of Algoma preliminary budget here.

Over 40 more area COVID-19 cases, state sets one-day record

COVID-19 cases continued to rise in the area as the state set another record for the most positive tests in one day on Thursday.  Door County reported 19 more coronavirus cases and showed 17 more recoveries with active cases rising slightly to 72.  The positivity rate reflected 18.6 percent on Thursday    Kewaunee County also saw a jump in COVID-19 cases with 23 positive tests.  Active cases went down to 76 with 39 new recoveries noted.  Statewide, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported a record-high 3,747 positive tests on Thursday with 17 additional deaths.  Hospitalizations remained the same in Door County while Kewaunee County went up six.  

 

 

Bruemmer Park Zoo bobcat dies from cancer

Baxter the Bobcat, a long time resident at Kewaunee's Bruemmer Park Zoo, has been euthanized after being diagnosed with terminal cancer.  Baxter had been at the zoo for 14 years and shared an enclosure with a female bobcat named Bella.  Parks Director David Myers says all seemed well when Baxter was given a physical over the summer.  But, he says another physical was ordered after Baxter showed signs inconsistent with his usual behavior.

 

 

Myers says there are currently no plans to add another bobcat out of concerns for Bella.

 

 

Baxter and Bella were brought to the Bruemmer Park Zoo as cubs in 2006.

Condo height variance rejected by Egg Harbor zoning board

Village View Residences condominium developer Michael Schwantes and the project architect presented to the Egg Harbor Zoning Board of Appeals on Thursday regarding a proposed height variance. Schwantes envisions a rooftop terrace for residents of the structure set to go up at the site of Mueller’s Mini Mart. The roofline would be under Egg Harbor’s 35-foot height cap, but a stairwell and elevator shaft were designed to top out at 47 feet-four inches. Schwantes wants the terrace to include a green space and viewing area so that all of the building’s occupants can enjoy a westward view out over the harbor. The elevator was suggested so that everyone could take advantage of the rooftop amenities. 


Both the developer’s lawyer, Andrew Wagener, and village counsel, James Kalny, said it is disputed whether roof access is required for Americans With Disabilities Act compliance. The board had three criteria they were legally obligated to deliberate on for the appeal: (1) Would granting the variance help solve an undue hardship, (2) is the unnecessary hardship created by the property, and (3) would granting the variance be detrimental to the area in general?


The zoning board voted against the appeal, 3-2. Member Mack Bonk spoke for the majority, saying that using the roof for a gathering place to ensure a view for all residents is unnecessary for the complex to fulfill its designed purpose.

 


The five-member panel is made up only of Egg Harbor residents, not elected officials, and meets as needed. It was the first gathering for the zoning board since 2015.

 

*Photo of Michael Schwantes courtesy of Creative Business Services website.

 

Dyslexia awareness part of panel discussion

Addressing the myths surrounding dyslexia will be one of the major discussion points of an upcoming panel discussion presented by the Door County Partnership for Children and Families. According to the International Dyslexia Association, 15 to 20 percent of the population could show signs of dyslexia including inaccurate reading and poor writing. While some believe it is an easy fix, parents like Kari Baumann knows it is not. Her 11-year-old son has struggled with dyslexia for years and like many parents wanted to find a way to help him. Since becoming involved with Decoding Dyslexia- Wisconsin, she has learned how big of an issue it is statewide and how much parents have to fight for their kids to get the proper education just in order to be read. Joined by other panelists from area school districts, the Door County Library, and Door County Speech Therapy, Baumann hopes people can help raise awareness about dyslexia.

The panel will be preceded by a showing of Mical, a short film about how a mother took matters into her own hands to help her son read after being diagnosed with dyslexia. The free Zoom event begins at 6 p.m. on October 20th.

 

 

 

Car-deer accidents down in Kewaunee County

The number of car accidents involving deer is down year over year in Kewaunee County according to Sheriff Matt Joski. So far there have been 253 car/deer collisions, down from 273 at this point in 2019. While the downward trend is good, it is only 15 away from the 268 such accidents reported in all of 2000. Joski believe those numbers could be lower than one would think just because of how cars are constructed these days to do a better job of absorbing impact. He believes the growth of smartphones and other pieces of technology are to blame for the number of incidents due to inattentive driving.

Joski hopes motorists remember to keep their eyes on the road, give other vehicles plenty of space, and be especially attentive during the early morning and evening hours.

 

MORE FROM SHERIFF JOSKI

Both last weekend and this past weekend, I had the opportunity to participate in cleaning up three of our Adopt a Highway sections on STH 42 between Kewaunee and Algoma. It is always interesting to see what kind of items one gets to pick up each year. One thing I did notice was the number of animal carcasses along the roads and down in the ditches. This of course gave me my inspiration for this week’s article.

 

As it relates to car-deer accidents, we have seen the numbers increase over the years, but having dug deeper into the statistics it is alarming just how much of an increase we have experienced.

Our current record management system dates back to 2000. In that year we documented 268 car-deer accidents. In 2019 we had a total of 446, and these are just the accidents that were reported to us. Many times for various reasons deer are struck by motor vehicles however the drivers decide not to report these accidents, and we are aware of these due to the deer carcasses which remain at the scene. Those accidents are not counted in these data.

 

First, let me say that I have no idea about deer populations or trends. That is information that the DNR keeps track of and while it may have some bearing on our growing number of car deer accidents, I also believe we have developed some bad habits over the past 17 years which has also led us to aid in the increase.

 

The biggest contributor I see is inattentive driving. Although inattentive driving has been around since the dawn of the automobile, the presence of electronic devices is something new, and with it has emerged a new method of communication — texting. We have all heard of or may even have witnessed the dangers that texting while driving poses on our roadways, and I have no doubt that there are more than a few car deer accidents that could have been avoided had the driver been paying closer attention to the road.

 

Distracted driving is a danger throughout the year, but if there was ever a time to put your phones away it is in these next few weeks and months. As a driver your focus needs to be on your primary mission and that is driving. Many accidents could be avoided by an increase in vigilance on the road edges and ditch lines. Most of the ditches on the Town, County and State Highways have been cleared for this very reason, providing drivers with an additional field of vision so as to prevent such tragedies.

 

As I stated earlier, although we are tracking low this year thus far, we have seen the increase in car deer accidents historically. Please take your time and be watchful especially in the evening and morning hours. This includes allowing additional space between your vehicle and the vehicle traveling in front of you. Following too closely is always unsafe, but more so in this time of year when that vehicle in front of you may have to take evasive maneuvers and you are too close to effectively react.

PTO saves tradition for school efforts

Trot or no trot, Jodi Pierzchalski from the Sevastopol PTO knows the school’s students and teachers would have still needed the money down the road. The organization recently resurrected the Door County Turkey Trot from the list of canceled events, opting to host it virtually. Runners and walkers can choose their day and their course to participate between November 6th and November 14th. The annual event is the Sevastopol PTO’s biggest fundraiser of the year and Pierzchalski says almost all the clubs and organizations at the district rely on them at some point for additional funding.

According to Pierzchalski, many participants are just as happy they will not have a missing year in their race shirt collection as they are to support their efforts. To keep that tradition alive, however, you have to register before midnight on Saturday.

Virtual learning extended at Kewaunee High School

Kewaunee School District officials decided Wednesday that while the grade and middle school students can return to their building beginning on Monday, the big kids will have to stay at home. High school principal Mike Bennett says the decision was made due to a number of active cases within its student population. The earliest they could return is November 2nd. Students at the grade and middle school will get to come back but at two-thirds capacity. That will keep kids rotating between in-person and virtual learning on a three-week cycle. Bennett says that will be the model the high school will follow if and when students are able to come back with some minor changes.

Bennett says they have a relocation plan for some of the classes so they can go to a bigger space in order to safely social distance. Kewaunee School District has been in virtual learning since September 21st.

Proposed quarry at heart of contentious Gardner meeting

Update: Greg Coulthurst contacted DoorCountyDailyNews.com to clarify that no date has been set for a hearing on the quarry. It must occur between October 28th and November 25th, 30-60 days after the initial request.

 

The Town of Gardner's Board held its October meeting Wednesday night with over an hour dedicated to a proposed quarry on Stevenson Pier Road. Among those in attendance for public comment were dozens of residents, First District Representative Joel Kitchens, and District Four County Supervisor Kara Counard. Gardner has a comprehensive plan, established in 2009, but does not have a zoning board and is one of only three townships where county zoning does not apply. Laid out in that document is a line item stating Gardner will actively discourage nonmetallic mining. Chairman Mark Stevenson says that without a zoning board, the town has no enforcement mechanism regardless of the principles laid out in its guiding document.


Residents in attendance were almost unanimously against the quarry development. They included homeowners in a subdivision that neighbored the site to the south and orchard owners located across the street. They made several requests, including for a resolution by the board expressing its dissatisfaction with the mine. Kitchens said that he believed the council had the authority to place restrictions on the project through a conditional use permit even without zoning at the town level. Supervisor Counard suggested a course of action that could be binding.

 


Stevenson said he would have to seek legal advice from the Wisconsin Towns Association on the matter, but a moratorium was used in the past regarding a trailer park site. Door County's Soil and Water Conservation Department will have a public hearing on the matter at a future date. Residents at the meeting asked the town board to seek a delay of that meeting until some of the issues raised on Wednesday can be addressed.

 

Only one new COVID-19 case in Door County

Door County reported just one new COVID-19 case on Wednesday, a stark drop from the 20 announced the day prior. The positivity rate fell below 2.5 percent. Seven recoveries drop the number of active cases to 70. The immediate concern is rising hospitalizations. Five new instances were announced, with 24 residents now having been admitted for COVID-19 since March.


Kewaunee County saw 12 new cases, also near the bottom of the range recently. Ten recoveries were reported keeping the number of active cases stable around 90 overall. That compares to 160 at the peak. Kewaunee County registered its fifth COVID-19 death on Tuesday.


Statewide, Wednesday represented another near-record in new cases with over 3,100 announced by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

 

 

Luxemburg-Casco District reopening schools

Luxemburg-Casco School District announced Wednesday that in-person instruction would return on October 19th for middle school and high school students. Superintendent Glenn Schlender says that the two-week shift to virtual learning allowed staff to quarantine in accordance with public health guidelines, easing the burden on the district to find replacements.

 


Schlender says that district data suggests that as active cases have subsided some in the past week countywide, that trend has occurred among staff and students as well. He doesn't believe the school is a transmission site but says a holistic approach is needed when assessing the bigger picture. The situation has shifted from a significant headwind at the beginning of the month to a small positive.  Schlender writes by email that if conditions warrant it, a return to virtual learning is possible in the future. He urges everyone to adhere to COVID-19 mitigation guidelines to avoid that potential outcome.

 

Chimney inspections urged before winter settles in

As winter creeps south, fires will once again become a staple for Door County households. Ephraim Fire Chief Justin MacDonald says that it is best to hire a chimney sweep before you throw some logs on the hearth. An inspection can reveal potential dangers inside and outside your home. MacDonald says birds like to nest in the grating that makes up several chimney caps. The flue needs to be scrutinized as well as the flashing that provides a watertight seal between the roof and masonry. MacDonald says a professional chimney sweep will also look for any materials that can burn up if sparked by a fire.

 


After a busy summer, MacDonald says call volume has fallen off noticeably since Labor Day. The kitchen is the most common place for a house fire to start, followed by the bedroom and then the chimney, where seven percent of residential blazes originate. 

 

Town in for long haul on Mariner's Park

The Town of Liberty Grove hopes the wait will be worth the wait when it comes to the future Mariner’s Park.  It was almost two years ago when the town pulled the trigger on the purchase of the Gills Rock property for approximately $1.5 million in an effort to keep the property for public use for years to come. Months later a group of citizens developed a park proposal, but the idea was never taken up by Liberty Grove officials. The pandemic has slowed things down and the town could be investing as much as $100,000 to protect the park’s shoreline. An ad hoc committee has been created with the goal of developing a budget and executing the plan within the next five years.  Town chairperson John Lowry understands people are anxious to see activity on the property but says you have to be cautious too.

The ad hoc committee meets monthly at the Liberty Grove Town Hall. Lowry says Parks and Property Committee Chairperson Cathy Ward will present to the ad hoc committee the budget currently slated for the property.

 

Picture from Town of Liberty Grove Mariners Park ad hoc committee agenda packet dated 1-21-20

Police officers, Sheriff's deputies look to make holidays bright

Members of the Sturgeon Bay Police and Door County Sheriff’s Departments look to deliver a lot more than butter burgers and frozen custard next Wednesday. For the third year in a row, the two departments will collaborate with Culver’s of Sturgeon Bay to promote the Lights of Christmas of Northeast Wisconsin campaign. Started by a Green Bay radio station five years ago, the efforts have grown to encompass over 20 Culver’s locations. Sturgeon Bay Police officer Brandon Shew says the tips collected and the proceeds donated by Culver’s go to make the holidays brighter for families in need.

Shew says they have been able to raise approximately $3,000 each of the last two years. Unlike past years, the law enforcement members will only be bringing food and good cheer to cars picking up food through the drive-thru during Culver’s hours of operations.

 

 

Kewaunee County budget hearing set

Despite the unknown of COVID-19, Kewaunee County Administrator Scott Feldt is proud of the budget set for a hearing next week. The budget calls for a slight increase in the tax levy, although the tax rate will go down. The budget goes up about six percent over last year due to increases in wages and health insurance premiums. Taxpayers are getting a little help due to increased equalized values and higher than expected collections from its sales tax.  Feldt believes the budget is fiscally conservative while being able to invest in the county’s future.

You can click this link to read through the county budget. Residents can attend the hearing in person or watch it online when it takes place on October 20th at 6 p.m. at the Kewaunee County Fairgrounds. Comments can be submitted in advance to County Clerk Jamie Annoye.

Door County 4-H to host drive-thru collection event

Door County 4-H had to get creative in order to get a community service project scheduled this year. The pandemic forced the county’s 4-H clubs to call off its usual spring service project date. The challenge to hold an event to give back to the community still remained even as clubs began to start meeting together in-person in small, socially distant groups. This Saturday’s food and personal care item drive allows club members to live up to their pledge where they promise to lend their hands to larger service while doing so safely. Door County 4-H Educator Dawn Vandevoort says she is happy their members were able to get creative to help out the community in a time of need.

Individuals can drop off non-perishable food items and personal care items like shampoo, condition, soap, and paper products during the drive-thru event this Saturday from 9 a.m. until noon at John Miles County Park. 4-H members will then deliver the items to local organizations and food pantries.

Convenience stores seeing upward trend in spending

Local convenience stores are noticing the same trends shown nationally of increased spending activity over the past month.  More people are utilizing convenience stores to get more staples and quick meals.  According to a report by the National Association of Convenience Stores, dollar sales at c-stores increased by nearly five percent in the last two weeks of September.  Danny Raduenz from Simonar Shell in Luxemburg says he is seeing a trend of more people coming in early for breakfast and lunch foods.  He notes that customers seem to know what they want and then be on their way. 

 

 

Raduenz notes that bread, milk, and other household essentials are selling better too.  Reported nationally, beer and beverage sales have seen an uptick as well with a 13.7 percent increase year over year at convenience stores.  

 

LaSalle Park gets shoreline protection

A popular county park in southern Door County will receive some much-needed protection from shoreline erosion.  The Door County Facilities & Parks Committee will meet on Wednesday to review bids for work at Lower LaSalle Park.  The shoreline would be reinforced with riprap for the first 75-feet near the parking lot infrastructure on the north side.  Facilities & Parks Director Wayne Spritka says the county recently was granted the DNR permit.

 

 

Another 75-feet of protection could be added to the south if a matching grant can be procured.    Parks Manager Burke Pinney is currently putting out a grant request to double the funding and work to be done.  Spritka added that the riprap work can be completed this fall.  The Door County Facilities & Parks Committee will also discuss a resolution to acquire a four-acre parcel of land to add to the northeast end of Meridian County Park near Jacksonport.

 

 

Agenda for Door County Facilities & Parks Commitee

Area COVID-19 cases increase, hospitalizations down

Confirmed positive COVID-19 cases in the area continued to uptick on Tuesday and hospitalizations went down.  Door County added 20 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday but did see 25 recoveries lowering the active cases to 77.  The positivity rate in Door County showed to be 37 percent with no new hospitalizations reported.   Kewaunee County reported another nine positive tests on Tuesday but showed 28 more recoveries with active cases dropping to 90.  The positivity rate for the test results was 13 percent with Kewaunee County reporting six current hospitalizations, down from 11 on Monday.   Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported over 3,200 new positive tests of COVID-19 on Tuesday with 34 additional deaths and 147 hospitalizations.   

 

 

 

Four candidates vie for open council seat

There will be plenty of options for the Sturgeon Bay Common Council when it deliberates on who should fill the vacant District 2 seat next week. Four candidates submitted paperwork by the October 8th deadline, says City Clerk Stephanie Reinhardt. The slate includes Stephen Day, Randy Morrow, Caitlin Oleson, and Dennis Statz.
 
The plan is for each candidate to introduce themselves before the council at Tuesday’s meeting, with a new member selected before the panel adjourns for the evening. The person chosen will serve out the rest of the term. District 2 just had an election in April, so the next election will not be until the spring of 2022. 
 
The Common Council has a busy slate over the next several weeks, including finalizing a budget for the next fiscal year. At a workshop last week, the proposed levy increase was dropped from over six percent to 3.7 percent. 

Fields keep Dvorachek busy year-round

The corn silage harvest may be about 98 percent complete according to the United States Department of Agriculture, but for Jesse Dvorachek the work is just beginning. This year marked the first year his company, Dvorachek Farm and Industry, has tackled custom cropping for farms in Door and Kewaunee Counties. Before this year, his line of work required him to haul and spread manure on area fields. While he knows many motorists give him the stink eye as he drives past, he says they are doing the best they can apply nutrients in a safe way that helps the farmers grow their crops while protecting the land and water. Dvorachek says many new practices like cover crops and no-till planting are making a positive difference in the way he operates.

Dvorachek credits the relationships he has been able to build with landowners, farmers, and local land and water conservation departments for being able to find solutions to problems when they arise. He says adding custom cropping to his portfolio has allowed him more time in the fields he services, which in turn has given him more knowledge about the ground and the potential issues it may present.

Fire prevention still a focus

It may have looked a little different, but members of the firefighting community were still able to take some time last week to promote fire safety to area schools. Both the Southern Door and Brussels-Union-Gardner Fire Departments were able to teach their lessons about fire safety outdoors with their trucks and other equipment in tow. It took some meetings with the district’s administrative team to figure out how to instruct while following the proper precautions. Fire prevention officer Justin Veeser says being able to teach the skills and having kids not be afraid of firefighters is important.

Veeser says teaching the community fire safety tips such as checking their smoke detectors, having an escape plan, and keeping their doors shut at night is among his favorite things to do as a firefighter.

 

Screenshot from video posted by Southern Door School District, which can be viewed below

 

 

KCEDC ready to make pitch

The next board of supervisors meeting could loom large for the Kewaunee County Economic Development Corporation. Kewaunee County officials have budgeted $40,000 in its proposed spending plan for 2021. That idea was questioned by a number of the members on the county’s finance committee when it met earlier this month.  Budgeting for the public/private partnership comes at a unique time for the organization after it relieved Richard Baker of his duties as the executive director. The organization named Amber Hewett its interim executive director earlier this month.  KCEDC Spokesperson Lynn Kroll says they are putting together information and answering questions ahead of a presentation they plan to make at the next county board meeting on October 20th.

Kroll points to the KCEDC’s efforts to develop its local workforce as one of its biggest achievements. The KCEDC has in the past organized career days for area schools to experience local jobs available to them in the manufacturing and agriculture industries.

Pagel, Servaes to keep Fairest crowns

After serving much of their reign virtually in 2020, Kewaunee County Fairest of the Fair Kiley Pagel and Junior Fairest of the Fair Morgan Servaes will continue to serve in their role in 2021. The pair only got to attend a few events earlier this year before the pandemic forced the cancellation of dozens of their appearances. The centerpiece of their summer, the Kewaunee County Fair, was canceled itself in April. Pagel and Servaes have slowly been able to support area events such as ice cream distribution during June Dairy Month and passing out ribbons at the Jim Marck Memorial Hog Show in July. Getting another year to serve as the Fairest of the Fair makes Pagel happy.

The decision follows the path of other Fairest programs in the state that are granting their winners with an additional year. The Wisconsin State Fair announced in July that its 2020 Fairest, Cayley Vande Berg, would serve until the end of 2021.

 

Picture from last year's Fairest gala

Algoma man dies after driving vehicle into Lake-- UPDATE

A 34-year old man’s body was retrieved from the Algoma Marina on Monday evening after he reportedly intentionally drove his vehicle off the south pier.  Algoma Police Chief Randy Remiker told DoorCountyDailyNews.com that the local authorities were called at about 1:30 pm about a vehicle being driven into the waters of Lake Michigan.  The Sturgeon Bay Police Department, the Door County Dive Team, and the Algoma Fire Department were able to recover the body of the man after several hours after removing the vehicle from the water.  Police Chief Remiker added that the man had made a prior attempt to drive into the water before going off the south pier.  The name of the man is not being released, pending notification of family.  The incident remains under investigation.  

 

The Algoma Police Department released the name of the man who died on Monday.  Benjimin Brandon Condra, 34, of Sturgeon Bay.

Sturgeon Bay writer publishes first novel

A study of composition and music many years ago along with a pursuit of genealogy inspired Dan Powers of Sturgeon Bay to write his first novel.  Powers, a retired educator from Chicago before moving to Door County in the 1980s, wrote “How Long a Shadow” over the course of four years. The 350-page fictional book draws on Powers’ own family history and experiences in Chicago to give the novel a sense of authenticity and background.

 

 

The protagonist in the book is a retired music teacher living in Door County in search of his father’s secret life and his own internal conflict.  Powers says he hopes readers find the book both intriguing and entertaining enough to always want to turn to the next page.   “How Long a Shadow” is set in Chicago but does mention Door County several times.  The book is available for purchase at Novel Bay Booksellers in downtown Sturgeon Bay.  You can listen to a podcast with author Dan Powers at DoorCountyDailyNews.com.   

Kewaunee County reports two additional COVID-19 deaths; area cases surge again

COVID-19 cases surged in Kewaunee County and two more deaths were reported on Monday.  Kewaunee County noted 45 more coronavirus cases and showed 27 more recoveries with active cases rising to 111. Door County also reported a jump in COVID-19 cases with 47 positive tests.  Active cases went up 19 to 82 with 28 new recoveries.  Statewide, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services posted Monday that nearly 2,000 more positive tests were recorded on Monday with nine additional deaths.  The last COVID-19-related death reported in Kewaunee County prior to Monday was on August 8.  There have been four total deaths since March in Kewaunee County.  

 

Sturgeon Bay Zoning Board of Appeals decision being challenged

The variances that were granted to allow Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay to exceed building heights are being challenged by a civil complaint issued by two business owners.  The shipyard received approval for variances to exceed the building heights of 45 feet in the city on August 25.  Studio 330 owner Hans Christian and Foxglove owner Kelly Catarozoli filed the complaint on September 24 and have businesses located directly across from the shipyard.  Christian says that the Sturgeon Bay Zoning Board of Appeals did not follow the Wisconsin state statutes regarding the strict guidelines they are subjected to in making a decision.  He believes that they have a very strong case because Bay Ship entered into a contract for work to be done on a U.S. Navy frigate before getting the variance.

 

 

Christian also adds that some members of the Zoning Board of Appeals did not act impartially.   City of Sturgeon Bay Administrator Josh Van Lieshout says the appellants are well within their rights to take the action and the Zoning Board of Appeals will be defended via the City’s insurance company.

 

 

Christian adds that their legal counsel suggests that the case taken up by the Door County Circuit Court could be remanded back to the Sturgeon Bay Zoning Board of Appeals if a decision is not rendered.  The Zoning Board of Appeals has until Wednesday, 20 days after the initial complaint filing to respond to the complaint.  

State Highway 54 prepares for facelift

State Highway 54 in Kewaunee County will see some major work done to it within the next four years. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation is now accepting public comment on the project that is slated to begin in 2024. It will primarily consist of repaving the road from approximately Rockledge Road in Luxemburg to Sunset Avenue in Algoma. Project manager Jeremy Ashauer says in addition to wider paved shoulders and some minor details being taken care of near the Ahnapee State Trail, the Village of Casco will see some extra work done.

Public comments on the 13-mile project will be accepted until the end of the month. The final plans should be completed by November 2022. Work could begin as soon as 2023 if additional funding is acquired. You can read more about the proposed work by clicking this link.

Push for open enrollment help starting now

Door County Medical Center is wasting no time making sure people are preparing for the start of open enrollment. The hospital will once again be hosting free workshops at its Patient Financial Services building located in the Cherry Point Mall. Due to COVID-19, Door County Medical Center is asking residents to register ahead of time to ensure proper staffing, social distancing, and sanitizing efforts can take place. Patient Financial Services manager Tiffany Huston says other than the different procedures to come in and get the help, not a whole lot else has changed since last year.

Door County Medical Center is accepting registration for the workshops for the entire enrollment period, which runs from November 1st to December 15th. Once you come in for the workshop, you will be asked to bring in your log-in information, email address, proof of income documents, and the social security numbers and birth dates for all immediate family members. You can listen to our entire conversation with Huston on our podcasts page.

Pandemic plays role in Assembly election

First District Assembly candidates Rep. Joel Kitchens and Kim Delorit Jensen know they are also running against a pandemic entering its seventh month. Back in April, Kitchens supported a bipartisan relief package that provided assistance to Wisconsinites impacted by the pandemic. Jensen had to create a plan to get through the pandemic so her restaurants could operate safely. Kitchens partly blames President Donald Trump and Governor Tony Evers for it becoming politicized.

Jensen says many business owners have had to go it alone because of a lack of leadership.

State health officials announced Sunday more than 2,600 new positive tests and seven deaths from COVID-19. Of the over 150,000 residents that have tested positive for COVID-19, approximately 80 percent of them have recovered and about 870 are currently hospitalized.

 

You can hear our full interviews with both candidates by clicking here

 

 

Three rescued near Strawberry Island

Strawberry Island proved to be an important life raft for three boaters on Saturday. Door County Dispatch received the call shortly after 9 a.m. about the distressed boat located northwest of Peninsula State Park. As the bay’s waves grew to be too choppy, the boater’s vessel began taking on water and an on-board pump struggled to keep up. The boaters were able to get to Strawberry Island safely by the time the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and other responding agencies arrived. Gibraltar Fire and Rescue was one of those departments and Chief Andy Bertges says the incident offers a good reminder to check the weather before heading out and be prepared.


No one was hurt in the incident and the DNR was able to help the three boaters retrieve their vessel on Sunday.

 

Submerged vehicle in Algoma Marina

Emergency and rescue personnel are searching in the Algoma Marina for a vehicle that reportedly entered the waters Monday afternoon.  Algoma Police Chief Randy Remiker confirmed to DoorCountyDailyNews.com that authorities are investigating the scene.  A dive team is reportedly currently searching the waters inside the marina.  No other information is available at this time and there is no confirmation if there were any occupants inside the vehicle.  Door CountyDailyNews.com will update this story as soon as more details are available.    

 

New Kewaunee COVID-19 testing site open

Prevea Health is now doing free COVID-19 testing at two additional clinics, including its location in the City of Kewaunee. It is available only for those exhibiting symptoms or where contact tracing has determined exposure to a COVID positive individual. For now, testing is being conducted outdoors in a drive-through established in the clinic's parking lot so that patients can be seen inside for other reasons. Executive Director of Primary Care Quality and Innovation Amber Allen says the goal is to develop a new protocol once the extreme cold and snow of winter settles in.

 


Allen says that rapid result testing is not available yet, but it is something Prevea is looking at instituting. She says that nasal swabs today are much less intrusive than at the outset of the pandemic. A swab now is effective midway up a person's nasal cavity. Prevea has no plans to be a part of community testing at this time in Kewaunee County. Door County Public Health and the DCMC announced plans for regular events for area residents in a Facebook Live video on Thursday.

 

Photo courtesy of Prevea Facebook page.

 

Absentee balloting popular in Sturgeon Bay

The general election is just under a month away and many Sturgeon Bay voters are opting not to vote in-person on November 3rd.  The Sturgeon Bay City Clerk's Office is receiving nearly 50 absentee ballot requests daily.  City Clerk and Human Resources Director Stephanie Reinhardt says while the ballots are in pre-paid mailing envelopes, she's seeing a steady stream of people sending in or dropping off their ballots daily.

 

 

 

In-person absentee balloting voting at Sturgeon Bay City Hall begins on October 20th. 

Heritage Village visitors expected to clean up after themselves

The Door County Historical Society welcomes after-hours guests this time of year, but it would prefer if visitors to the Heritage Village would put benches and chairs back to their original position after taking in the fall colors at nearby Crossroads. President Bailey Koepsel says she can't remember having to deal with a similar problem ever before.

 


Koepsel says there has been no damage to any buildings on the grounds. Still, little inconveniences add up. Putting chairs back onto front porches so the caretaker can mow the lawn, picking up litter, or rearranging furniture that has been left a mess each morning is time taken away from the staff's regular duties. The Heritage Village season ends this weekend, and the outdoor seating will be moved into storage, which should eliminate the problem. Koepsel says the principle of the matter remains the same, though. If you utilize the grounds for nature viewing through the fall peak, please make sure you leave the village as you found it.

 

Work days set for Kewaunee County ATV trails

ATV trails in Kewaunee County will be closing next month until spring, but a little sprucing up is in order before they do. The Bay Lake ATV Club maintains the trails and has called for volunteers for two separate work days, the first set being the weekend of October 17th and 18th. The group’s president, Kelly Froelich, says there are benefits beyond the value of basic trail maintenance.

 


The club hopes to begin new trails on the eastern end of the Riverview ATV Park and complete maintenance on existing paths. Armoring the drainage ditches, adding water so that erosion slows, helps to keep sediment and other runoff from working its way into the Kewaunee River. Volunteers are encouraged to bring chainsaws to help clear away low-hanging limbs and other trail impediments.

 

Resident expresses worry over Ephraim's Anderson Dock

Ephraim's Physical Facilities Committee met Tuesday to discuss the village's ten-year plan, and some members were concerned that one project, in particular, needed to be moved on immediately. Member Jim Peterman wants repairs at the Anderson Dock to be put out for bid so that work could begin there this winter. Resident Mike Kahr, an engineer, and owner of Death's Door Marina, provided Chair Cindy Nelson with a two-page correspondence saying if nothing was done soon, he worried about the Hardy Gallery being destroyed in a winter storm. The letter is available below and received well by the committee, including Public Works Director Russ Salfi.

 


Protecting the dock from high water levels has gone before the Board of Trustees, including this past summer. The panel elected not to pursue any course of action in favor of other shoreline protection. Cindy Nelson said that until they greenlight the project, nothing more can be done. It will have to be addressed at some point, given the Anderson Dock's inclusion in the ten-year plan, but not as fast as Jim Peterman or Kahr would like. Maggie Peterman, Jim's wife, presented to the committee on a separate matter and showed interest in raising the issue at Tuesday's Board of Trustee meeting as a visitor comment.

 

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

 

Tim and Cindy,
 
I wanted to try and give you and others on the Village Board some information so that you can make some better decisions moving forward with the high water at Anderson Dock. I am not one to cry wolf but I firmly believe you should do something down there. The dock itself may not go someplace however the Hardy Gallery is another story. I worry about that structure surviving the fall/winter storms that are coming which, in combination with this high water may wash the gallery away.
I believe Door County is changing very, very fast. Too fast. Because of that, we must protect the structures that are a symbol of our past. Just think if that gallery washed away and we all said should of, could of when there's a pile of wood on the beach. Enough said. I just feel strongly you should do more than what is there before it's too late. To that end, I have come up with the following options. Those options are all doable, simply because I have done them and the pricing and designs are all worth contemplating. They are the culmination of my many years of experience working on the water.
 
1. First I believe the best option is putting rock (2' higher than the existing dock) in the water on the entire North side of the dock (please see attached cross-section). This not only protects the gallery it does the following things:
-Eliminates the need for any repair to the sheeting on that side
-Buys you time to facilitate raising the dock and gallery since now you are only dealing with static and not dynamic water conditions
-Absorbs up to 80% of the wave energy, energy that otherwise could be used to destroy the gallery. It will also absorb the energy from ice shoves.
-Creates habitat for better fishing
-Makes the dock look much more natural-looking since you will be looking at rock instead of steel sheeting.
-Makes it safer for anyone who falls into the water since they can climb onto the rocks to get out.
 
This option costs to the end of the dock
(212').................................................................................................$290,000
 
2. Another option is putting large, and I mean large, 10-15000# rock on the outside top edge, replacing the concrete barriers you have. They have to be this big or else they will move. Rocks this size are typically 3' high and 4'-5'wide. They are a natural product so there is some variation but we would make every effort to place them in a coordinated, straight line on the dock. They again would look much better than the concrete barriers you have now. I personally do not like the looks of those. They are too indicative of the urban environment and that is what people come up here to escape.....not look at, especially full of graffiti.
 
Anyway this option costs........................................................................$174/wall foot (doing 212' is $37k)
 
3. The last option is to do what the Town of Gibraltar did on their public dock. They could not put rock on the outside of the dock since people tie there in calm weather.
 
This option is called Redi-Rock and is a pre-cast product that looks like stone. The advantage of it also is that the pieces are bolted together AND can be fastened down to the dock with concrete anchors. Any object, unless it's massive like the stone above, must be fastened down or else it will move. Gibraltar also likes this option since it can be taken down in the future if the water goes down.
 
This option costs........................................................................................$188/wall foot (212' is $40k)
 
Anyway this gives you some solid data to make some decisions. Please try and do something before it's too late.
Sincerely,
Mike

 

Southern Door Schools place referendum on November ballot

Southern Door School District is looking for voters' permission to collect $975,000 above the state limit for the next three years. The referendum will be on the November ballot and would extend through the 2022-2023 school year. This is not the first time Southern Door has made the request to district residents, with the most recent referendum ending in June. They are a common funding tool for districts in the area and across the state. According to a recent district press release, over 80 percent of Wisconsin school districts have raised property taxes via a public vote. 


The need for referendums is tied to the formula the Department of Public Instruction uses to set funding limits for districts. Property taxes account for around 50% of the budget, with state aid contributing roughly 45%. To ensure that poorer areas can keep up with more affluent districts, the state sets those two funding sources against each other. Districts with lower property values get more state aid and vice versa. It is designed so that spending is equalized per student throughout Wisconsin. The only way to get around the limit in state aid is to gain approval from voters. Superintendent Patti Vickman says the district's research suggests the referendum will be successful.

 


Vickman notes that due to recent property value increases, the mill rate for district residents will not be increasing. The full press release is below.

 

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To continue providing a high-quality education to its students, the Southern Door County School District is asking voters for a little help. The Board of Education has placed a referendum question on the November 3 ballot, asking voters to allow the district to exceed its state-set revenue limits by $975,000 for each of three (3) years, starting this school year. The additional revenue would allow the District to sustain current programs and meet emerging needs. Specifically, it would fund educational programs and student services such as mental health, update curriculum materials, maintain technology, and address staffing needs such as sufficient salaries and benefits to attract and keep quality employees.
 
If approved, the $975,000 operating referendum would comprise $.76 of the tax mill rate (the amount of taxes per $1000 of property value) each of the next three years. However, because the District’s mill rate is dropping, an approved referendum would result in no increase to the net mill rate compared to last year.
 
Public schools in Wisconsin are funded with a combination of revenues, including local property taxes and various state and federal education aids. Under a 1993 state law, there is a cap, or limit, on the amount a school district can collect from local property taxes and state aid. The only way to increase revenue is to have an increase in overall district enrollment, or go to local taxpayers to ask for an operating referendum to exceed the district’s revenue cap.
 
Because of the state limits, school districts throughout Wisconsin have struggled to maintain programs, as revenues have not kept up with costs to maintain current services. Nearly 80% of all Wisconsin school districts have pursued operating referendums to exceed the revenue caps, and all the other Door County school districts have had voters approve operating referendums.
 
In 2018, voters gave Southern Door County School District the authority to exceed the revenue limits in an operating referendum. That community investment allowed the District to secure the necessary
technology and professional development for Southern Door students and staff to be well prepared for today’s challenges in education with on-site and virtual learning needs. That authority expired in June 2020, so the District must take a new operating referendum to voters.
 
If the November 3 referendum does not pass, the district will be forced to make additional cuts to
programs to reduce its budget shortfall.

 

Limited Door County impact from emptier Lambeau Field

The Green Bay Packers will continue playing to empty seats at Lambeau Field due to the pandemic. Destination Door County, however, doesn't foresee a big impact on tourism-related businesses.  During the eight home games,  the county sees some residual tourist traffic from visitors who want to take in summer and fall fun as well as cheer on the Packers.  Destination Door County's Jon Jarosh believes the timing of the team's decision not to open Lambeau Field indefinitely limits any drop in business.

 

 

 

Jarosh says Door County businesses, like football fans of teams left out of the playoffs, are looking forward to 2021.

Kewaunee water tower due for a new coat of paint

Last month, the City of Kewaunee's water tower was subjected to a routine inspection by the Department of Natural Resources. The examination happens on a five-year cycle, with every other one involving a complete drawdown of the tank. That's a particularly stressful event for the Public Works Department. They have to carefully adjust how much water is being pulled from the well to match residents' and businesses' usage. If demand outstrips the amount of water available, the system loses pressure. If too much is pumped into the system, then it risks bursting pipes or hydrants. Director Brandon Strelow says the city was helped out by an independent contractor who lent equipment to monitor pressure and director the pumps on how much water to provide. 


Strelow says the water tower's next big project will be getting a fresh coat of paint.

 


In other preventative work, the City of Kewaunee is wrapping up hydrant flushing this month before winter cold settles in. Strelow says that pipes that service shuttered businesses, or empty or seasonal homes end up with stagnant water due to disuse. Sediment settles when water is not flowing. Residents will notice some discoloration during the hydrant flushing.

 

The hunt is on in Sturgeon Bay

Simon, Destination Sturgeon Bay's mascot, apparently has more wardrobe changes than an Oscars ceremony. For kids across the city, if you can track him down at area businesses and record what Simon's wearing, you will have a chance to win a prize raffle on November 2nd. The scavenger hunt is replacing staples of Sturgeon Bay's Thrills on Third program, which has been scaled back due to COVID-19 concerns. Maps can be found online or picked up at the Destination Sturgeon Bay office on 3rd Avenue.


Marketing and Events Coordinator Carly Sarkis says there are 45 different businesses taking part. That's a lot of x's on the map to get some treasure, so the stops have been sorted into three groupings. 

 


To be eligible for the raffle, an entire region has to be completed correctly. Simon is slick. He might show up as a pirate, even Santa Claus. In total, there are 15 different possibilities, so you won't be able to just guess. Some good ol' fashioned leg work will be required to win the prize. Stop by the station as the Door County Daily News is one of Simon's haunts in the Spooktacular Sturgeon Bay Scavenger Hunt.

 

Christophs "Feel the Love" of the community

The Christoph family of Luxemburg will feel more than just warmth from a new furnace at the end of Saturday. Darrel and Katie Christoph and their six kids were this year's Feel the Love recipients, an annual campaign done by Lennox dealers like Ultimate Air in Luxemburg. Ultimate Air employees and their family began replacing the nearly 30-year-old unit at the 125-year-old Christoph home early Saturday morning. Local businesses like Stodola's IGA, Bank of Luxemburg, Simonar Shell, and Don's Bakery all donated food and other funds to make the day special for the Christoph family, something that is not lost on Darrel.

 

 

 

Ultimate Air owner Jeff Blemke says his favorite part of participating in Feel the Love over the last six years is being able to give back to people who do the same without ever asking anything in return.

 

 

 

Applications for next year's  Feel the Love campaign will be available in the coming weeks. Last year Lennox dealers in 43 states donated their time to install over 230 units.

 

 

Ephraim holiday lights in jeopardy

A misunderstanding between the Village of Ephraim and Northern Electric is threatening an extensive new holiday display set to be unveiled next month. There are two components, the first being a set of banners that will hang from street lights on Highway 42 and other main roads. 


A small panel has been tasked with purchasing new outdoor lights. Physical Facilities Chair Cindy Nelson says the goal is to decorate several village landmarks.

 


The committee believed it was in agreement with Northern Electric (NEI) to review all available displays, including those manufactured by other companies. Once a selection was made, then NEI would submit a bid to help install the lights. The village only has 17 public outlets, which means some electrical work is required to modify the display that goes above and beyond what the Public Works Department is generally asked to do. Just last week, NEI backed out, and the panel is now left without even an estimate as far as the cost involved. 

 

Food pantry keeping up despite challenges

A northern Door County food pantry is subject to the challenges faced by other pantries during the pandemic.   The Door of Life Christian Church Pantry in Sister Bay is open 24 hours a day/seven days a week.  It gets food donations monthly through the USDA's Farmers to Families program. Pantry Director Heidi Penchoff is seeing greater than expected demand at times.  She also says the generosity of residents and hunters offer some optimism.

 

 

 

Penchoff says no food donation is too small to help neighbors in need.  Door of Life Church is located on Highway 42 in Sister Bay.

Voter education groups causing election confusion

Voters in Door and Kewaunee counties should not be alarmed if they receive text messages that say they're not registered to vote.  Such messages have gone out statewide from voter education groups working to increase participation.  But Algoma City Clerk Jamie Jackson says that's generated a few calls from concerned voters who need reassurance.

 

 

 

Wisconsin Elections Commission Election spokesman Reid Magney says the use of outdated information by these groups is creating needless confusion.

 

 

 

More information on election concerns or complaints can be found by logging onto https://elections.wi.gov/complaints .

Boys and Girls Club looking for staff, new locations

In an average year, as winter settles in, the number of kids enrolled in programming at the Boys and Girls Club of Door County nears 100. This week, the organization's headquarters reopened to afterschool programming for only 20. Carrying over policies from the summer, kids are divided into pods. There is no commingling so that a potential COVID-19 positive case does not force a quarantine of everyone at the center. Interim Director Eric Anderson says that the Hatch Center on Third Avenue can accommodate up to four pods or 40 participants with new staff. With that in mind, Anderson is hoping to partner with area businesses and churches to access new facilities.

 


Anderson says that those who apply for a job at the Boys and Girls Club must pass a background check, among other safeguards. Still, no professional or regulatory license is necessary. The organization had initially planned to reopen on September 28th before moving the date back one week as a precautionary measure. Anderson said the first days of in-person programming went smoothly.

 

Land Trust buys Washington Island hardwood forest area

Some hardwood forest near the Big and Little Marsh State Natural Area is now under the protection of the Door County Land Trust.  The organization purchased the 20-acre parcel from private owners. That brings its total Washington Island holdings to 721-acres. The new protected site is home to stands of maple and beech trees.  Land Trust Director of Charitable Giving, Cinnamon Rossman says the forest land and the nearby marshland are a haven for wildlife and endangered plants.

 

 

 

The acquisition of the 20-acre hardwood stand now connects with other conservation land and forms a protected corridor of forest and wetlands.

Algoma recommends against trick or treating

Algoma is the largest city in the area to advise against door-to-door trick or treating for Halloween. Community hours are typically set by the Parks and Recreation Department, but increasing COVID-19 activity, input from the city council, and guidelines set down by public health agencies have forced Algoma to take unprecedented measures this year. Director Sara Robertson says that there are other options for kids looking to get their hands on some candy.

 


Robertson concedes that a vast majority of the trick or treating done in Algoma is typically done during the community sanctioned time each year. Comparatively, the Villages of Luxemburg and Casco have opted to go ahead with their events, both scheduled for Sunday, November 1st. The City of Sturgeon Bay operates trick or treating through the police department, planned for the 31st from 4:00 to 7:00 PM. They have all said worsening COVID-19 conditions could force changes.

 

Recent fires provide reminder during Fire Prevention Week

Taking good precautions around the home is crucial to preventing a fire tragedy at home.  This week is National Fire Prevention Week and Sturgeon Bay Assistant Fire Chief Kalin Montevideo says general fire safety includes making sure all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working properly in your home.  Families should devise an escape plan in the case of a fire and have a pre-determined place to meet outside.  Montevideo says the kitchen is the most common area that fires begin.

 

 

Montevideo recommends that you place a smoke and carbon monoxide detector on each level of your home.  On Friday, the Sturgeon Bay Fire Department responded to a call to a fire after a lit cigarette on a patio ignited a fire on the side of a trailer home on Georgia Street.  Fire Chief Tim Dietman says fortunately a driver passing by called in right away and the fire was quickly extinguished without much damage.  He said it was another good reminder to properly dispose of any incendiary items.

 

COVID-19 positivity rates drop as area adds 15 more cases

Confirmed positive COVID-19 cases in the area finished the week with single-digit increases.  Door County added six new COVID-19 cases on Friday but did see 25 recoveries lowering the active cases to 63.  The positivity rate in Door County showed to be 4.5 percent with the total ever hospitalized remained at 19.   Kewaunee County reported another nine positive tests on Friday but showed 21 more recoveries with active cases dropping to 96.  The positivity rate for the test results from Friday was 15 percent with hospitalizations standing currently at 11 for Kewaunee County.  Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported nearly 3,000 new positive tests of COVID-19 on Friday with 16 additional deaths and 138 hospitalizations.

 

 

      

 

Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding completes new barge

A newly, completed barge in Sturgeon Bay will be heading out for operation on the Great Lakes.  Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding (FBS) constructed the barge, named Michigan Trader, which measures 740-feet in length.  Vice-President and General Manager Todd Thayse says completing the 24-month project for the VanEnkevort Tug & Barge (VTB) Fleet was another proud event.  He notes how rewarding the completion and delivery of the Michigan Trader was for the talented shipbuilding team at FBS.

 

 

The Michigan Trader will be the tenth barge in the fleet for VTB that services throughout the Great Lakes, Mississippi River, and the Gulf of Mexico.  The new self-unloading barge has capacity for up to 37,000 long tons of cargo.  Thayse notes that the Michigan Trader should be departing Bay Ship for hauling on the Great Lakes within the next few weeks.   

Ridges and Land Trust decide against merger

Exploratory discussions of a possible merger between the Ridges Sanctuary and the Door County Land Trust concluded that it was not the right time to combine.  The two organizations announced a possible partnership in early September.  Door County Land Trust Executive Director Tom Clay says that although the organizations developed a deeper understanding of and appreciation for the other through the process, it was decided that now is not the right time to combine.

 

 

Clay says the merger talks were well worth the time even though it did not come to fruition.   He says the process helped both organizations look within strategically and moving forward.  The Door County Land Trust also announced Friday the purchase of 20 acres of the Big and Little Marsh State Natural Area on Washington Island. 

4-H takes national celebration virtual

4-H clubs in Door and Kewaunee counties have had the opportunity this week to celebrate their organization while reaching out to new members.  Many of the events taking place this week were held virtually, including a trivia night on Thursday and theme days on social media. Thursday also marked the first night of the six-week Explore 4-H program where youth can participate in activities and learn about the organization. Door County 4-H Educator Dawn Vandevoort led a group of about 20 families on Zoom in making bread in a bag while Kewaunee County’s Jill Jorgensen and Brown County’s Melinda Pollen interacted with the kids and answered questions. Jorgensen says the virtual programming has been a great way for 4-H to stay connected with its members and show off their activities to the entire community.

While registration for the Explore 4-H sessions is closed, Jorgensen says they will likely develop a similar program for the winter. She adds that registration is open to join 4-H across the state, including Kewaunee County’s 13 clubs and Door County’s seven clubs. National 4-H Week celebrates the country’s approximately 90,000, serving over 6.5 million members.

Write On, Door County ready to open doors

Aspiring authors will have a refuge to call their own after Write On, Door County opens its doors this weekend. For the last eight years, the non-profit’s resident writers operated out of office across the street from its Juddville campus while hosting workshops and other events throughout the county. The new writing center will be able to put its resident writers and its organized activities. Managing Director Lauren Ward says it is a dream-come-true that was close to a decade in the making.

Like many organizations, much of Write On, Door County’s upcoming programming is being held virtually due to the pandemic. After its virtual grand opening on Friday, Write On, Door County will hold small groups for facility tours from October 10th through the 24th. You must register online in advance to participate.

Hospital prepared for larger surge

Door County Medical Center is preparing just in case it needs to handle a larger number of hospitalized patients for COVID-19. The hospital announced it would be enacting its surge plan after Door County Public Health issued an emergency COVID-19 alert earlier this week due to significant uncontrolled spread of the coronavirus in the area. Hospitals in Brown and Outagamie counties have been reporting that they have been overwhelmed due to the surge in cases, which reached a high watermark of over 3,000 on Thursday. Speaking during his joint Facebook Live session with Door County Public Health Director Sue Powers, Door County Medical Center Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jim Heise says the hospital could double the number of beds it can use from 25 to 50. Similar to people’s earlier concerns about having enough ventilators, he notes the difficulty they would face with staffing.

Heise says the hospital reached its peak last week with six patients hospitalized with COVID-19, five of which have been discharged since. Powers and Heise also announced Thursday they are working with the Wisconsin National Guard to bring additional COVID-19 testing events to Sister Bay and Sturgeon Bay with more details being announced in the near future.

 

 

Vehicle fire in Baileys Harbor

Just after 8 AM Friday, Baileys Harbor Fire Department received a call about a vehicle fire near St. Mary’s Catholic Church on State Highway 57. Personnel from Ephraim and Gibraltar also responded. Assistant Chief Eric Peil says that the car was fully engulfed when he got to the scene, to the point it was difficult even to get a make and model of the vehicle. It was isolated in the middle of the parking lot, away from any structures that could potentially catch fire themselves. The car belonged to a parishioner attending morning mass. He had driven the car only a half-hour before. Peil says the departments used several methods to extinguish the blaze.

 


The area was cleared in under two hours.

 

 

(photo courtesy of Tad Dukehart)

 

 

Photo courtesy of Baileys Harbor Fire and Rescue Facebook page.

Car stolen in Sturgeon Bay found

The search is over for a car stolen in Sturgeon Bay earlier this week after high-speed pursuit concluded Wednesday afternoon in Manitowoc County. According to a news release from the Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Department Thursday afternoon, a lieutenant in the department located the vehicle traveling through the Township of Manitowoc after 12:15 p.m. This started a three-minute pursuit where speeds reached approximately 100 miles per hour before the driver lost control on a curved section of County Highway B near Schatzie Lane and crashed. Two women, 32 years old and 20 years old, were taken into custody a short time later. Drug paraphernalia was found in the vehicle after it was confirmed to be one stolen in Sturgeon Bay on Tuesday. No names were released as the incident is still under investigation. The rest of the release is below.

 

Picture courtesy of Sturgeon Bay Police Department

 

 

PRESS RELEASE FROM MANITOWOC COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT

 

Sheriff Dan Hartwig is releasing the following information regarding a vehicle pursuit that occurred yesterday (Wednesday).

The Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Office received an attempt to locate on a stolen vehicle and stolen firearms from the Sturgeon Bay area. On October 7, 2020, at approximately 12:18 PM, a Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Lieutenant located the stolen 2013 Ford Mustang traveling eastbound on Goodwin Rd east of CTH B within the Township of Manitowoc. He attempted to stop the vehicle, which fled, reaching approximately 100 MPH speeds with the pursuit lasting for 3 minutes. While southbound on CTH B north of Schatzie Lane, the vehicle operator attempted to negotiate a curve in the road and lost control, crashing into the east ditch, hitting trees. The occupants fled on foot with a 20-year-old female passenger taken into custody a short distance from the vehicle. Deputies then searched the area, and a short time later, K-9 Leon located the other 32-year-old female driver who was taken into custody.

The vehicle was confirmed stolen from the Sturgeon Bay, WI. During a search of the vehicle, drug paraphernalia was located.

The incident remains under investigation; therefore, no additional information is being released.

We want to thank the following agencies for assisting with this incident thus far: Wisconsin State Patrol, Wisconsin DNR, Manitowoc Police Department, Two Rivers Police Department, Mishicot Police Department, Mishicot Ambulance, Manitowoc County Joint Dispatch Center, and PK’s Auto.

Dan Hartwig, Sheriff

Manitowoc County

 

Women's Fund of Door County "Celebrate Women" virtually

Like many other organizations that are hosting events online this year, the Women’s Fund of Door County is having a virtual luncheon to “Celebrate Women!.”  In the past, the annual luncheon would draw over 300 people at Stone Harbor Resort.  This year, the Women’s Fund of Door County will offer the virtual event on their website Wednesday, October 21.  Board Member and Secretary Jennifer Moeller says the alternative plan does have some benefits.

 

 

The speaker will be Betsy Morgan, a Provost and Vice-Chancellor of Academic Affairs at U.W. La Crosse.  Her speech will be “Addressing Trauma and Grief while Being Hopeful for the Future”.   The Women’s Fund of Door County will also share information on their Grantees and the weekly “Sheroes” program that started in August honoring women in the community who are making a difference.  You can find more information on the “Celebrate Women!” virtual luncheon with the link below.

 

Women's Fund of Door County website

Mental Health Minute- School staff facing multiple stressors 

Sturgeon Bay Psychologist Dr. Dennis White says parents and children are not the only ones needing support during the current health crisis facing local school districts.  Door and Kewaunee County schools are utilizing in-person and virtual learning, or a combination of both early in the academic year.  Dr. White emphasizes that the entire school staff can be stressed in more ways than one.

 

 

Dr. White adds that administrators, support staff, and teachers all need our understanding and appreciation for putting themselves at risk to make sure students receive their education.   He notes that at times a single positive test case can cause the quarantining of a complete shift of employees putting more pressure on other shifts.  You can listen to Dr. White’s entire Mental Health Minute below.

 

   

 

COVID-19 cases continue upward trend locally, state record for positive tests

Positive tests for COVID-19 continue to jump in Door and Kewaunee counties as Wisconsin set a record for new confirmed cases on Thursday.  Door County reported 29 more positive cases on Thursday with 16 new recoveries, while Kewaunee County added 18 more cases with 32 recoveries.   The positivity rate in Door County was 10.4 percent while Kewaunee County reflected 17.1 percent on Thursday.    Active cases currently stand at 106 in Kewaunee County and 82 in Door County.  Wisconsin Department of Health Services recorded 3,132 positive tests in the state on Thursday with nine additional deaths.  Door County reported their fourth coronavirus death on Wednesday.   

 

 

  

New Algoma stormwater system completing early

The stormwater outflow project being done at Algoma’s Crescent Beach area that began after Labor Day is a month ahead of schedule. The construction was to be completed by mid-November, but now could be done by the end of next week, according to Algoma Public Works Director Matt Murphy.  The first of two bio-retention ponds is already finished with all storm-piping placed underground.  Murphy shares the potential timetable for the remaining work.

 

 

The environmental project is designed to remove some of the direct stormwater outflows into Lake Michigan coming from Lake Street.  The bio-retention ponds will remove nutrients from the run-off water before going into the groundwater and lake.   The re-routing of stormwater is a project that was completely funded through grants from the Fund for Lake Michigan and the Environmental Protection Agency.

 

COVID taking toll on clergy

St. Paul Lutheran Church Pastor Joel McKenney is relying on a higher power when it comes to getting through the pandemic. A survey done by the Wisconsin Council of Churches earlier this year offers a sobering view of the stress the pandemic has put clergy members through over the last several months. The survey shows that 10 percent of the clergy had their employment threatened because of the pandemic and 25 percent shared they considered retiring or resigning due to it because of the stress it was putting on the relationship with their parish and their families. St. Paul’s has been able to reopen partially for in-person services as well offering them online and on the radio. The Algoma church remains open to meet community needs, but McKenney admits the lower attendance has limited their ability to give back.  He says all pastors are lucky to have one to turn to in these times.

McKenney credits their church’s leadership and their member for being able to stay safe and help make tough decisions when necessary. The Wisconsin Council of Churches is urging people support local congregation’s ministries and clergy members that help provide them. St. Paul Lutheran Church services can be heard on Sundays at 9 a.m. on 96.7 WBDK.

Grants give youth opportunities

Kids with great ideas are encouraged to apply to Youth as Resources Grants from the Door County Service Club Coalition. Partnering with the Door County Community Foundation, the coalition provides financial support to kids to support projects that interest them and benefit the area. Past grant winners have been able to use the funds for jump-starting their Eagle projects and address homelessness. Sturgeon Bay Rotarian and Door County Community Foundation President/CEO Bret Bicoy says the grants are not hard to get if you apply, but it is still about the experience.

Youth looking to put on a production or on-stage performance can also apply for a similar grant. The Door County Service Club Coalition will listen to youth presentations for the fall grant period on October 21st. Interested youth can apply for the winter period before December 1st. You can click the link provided to learn more about the program.

 

Learn more about the Youth Mini Grants here

Sheriff encourages community support during order

They will not be measuring up square footage or person counting, but the Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department hopes the community works together to help lower the coronavirus caseload in the area. Earlier this week, Governor Tony Evers issued a public health order to limit indoor gatherings to 25 percent or less. The order affects stores, restaurants, and other businesses that allow public entry as well as ticketed events. Like some of the past orders issued this year related to the coronavirus, Sheriff Matt Joski says his department does not have the resources to answer to every single call. He was encouraged by local businesses being proactive even before the order came down by switching to carry-out or removing tables to encourage social distancing when numbers started to climb. Joski adds the department would be forced to intervene in certain cases.

He hopes the community works together to keep each other physically safe while also striking a balance with people’s emotional, mental, and spiritual needs.

Sevastopol looks to keep status quo with referendum

Sevastopol School District will ask voters to allow it to exceed its revenue limit by $2 million each year through the 2024-2025 school year in a referendum vote during the fall election. A yes vote would replace a current operational referendum that dates back to 2018. The money will go towards operations costs such as updating curriculum materials, improving district technology, and maintain other programs and services. The financial impact will remain the same if other factors follow suit, but Sevastopol School District Superintendent Kyle Luedtke says taxpayers could actually see a decrease in their mill rate.

Voters in Sevastopol School District approved an operational and a building referendum in 2018. It is one of three different referendum questions Door County voters could see on their ballots depending on where they live. Everyone will weigh in on a question regarding redistricting reform while Southern Door School District voters will weigh in on their own operational referendum. You can hear more about that referendum over the weekend.

Council approves land sale, contemplates purchase

Property transactions were the primary focus of Tuesday's Sturgeon Bay Common Council meeting. In addition to the approval of a lease with the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society for the granary, other transactions were discussed. Coming out of last week's Finance Committee meeting, the council unanimously approved the sale of a 3.16-acre parcel of land to Crossroads at Big Creek for one dollar. The city gained the property in 1977, and it is restricted to public use. Community Development Director Marty Olejniczak says there are two primary easements on the property, one related to electric transmission lines operated by ATC and another concerning underground fiber optic cable laid by AT&T. Council member Helen Bacon says the land has marginal value for the city.

 

 

 

Crossroads hopes to use the property for signage near the roundabout at Highway 42/57 and Michigan Street. There are plans to connect walking paths to the Ahnapee State Trail, which makes up a portion of the newly acquired property. Crossroads also promises to control invasive species to keep them from taking root on the rest of the preserve. The vote was unanimous.

 

There was also a discussion about purchasing the old Bank Mutual Building on Egg Harbor Road. The property is currently in foreclosure, and Olejniczak estimates that roughly $15,000 is owed in taxes. Mayor David Ward reminded the council that a percentage of property tax revenue is allocated to the city, so Sturgeon Bay's actual cost is around $10,000 or two-thirds of the total. Olejniczak said a phase one environmental study has already been conducted on the property without any concerns noted.

 

The city already has an adjacent parcel and hopes to pair the two together to attract a developer. Olejniczak says the only real liability comes with potential costs to tear down the existing bank branch if it cannot be repurposed. Councilmember Spencer Gustafson said that the location is ideal for new senior housing. It is close to both the ADRC building and the Cherry Point Mall, which has several tenants who cater to that demographic. The panel approved the measure unanimously, aiming to close on the property before the end of this year.

Michigan Street Bridge closure next week

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation will be shutting down the Michigan Street Bridge for four days to pedestrians and vehicular traffic next Monday. Jim McDowell says that they addressed the counterweights at the top of the span previously, but once the concrete begins to fail, it is a constant maintenance process. The repairs require temperatures above freezing, including overnight, making fall the last chance to address issues for a while. McDowell says the closure is mostly a precautionary one.

 


Marine traffic is prohibited between 7 AM and 4 PM each day, but the bridge will open to allow vessels to pass through in the evening and overnight hours. McDowell says the Michigan Street Bridge needs the most work out of the three in Sturgeon Bay due to the age and materials used to construct it. Rust requires constant vigilance, so cleaning is performed each spring to wash away road salt. For the rest of this year, work is still possible on the Maple-Oregon St. Bridge, but no contractor has been lined up yet.

 

COVID-19 death in Door County

Door County Public Health reported a death due to COVID-19 on Wednesday, the fourth since March. At the same time, the number of active cases fell below 70 as 15 recoveries outpaced 13 new cases announced. A new line in the report notes that the county has had 19 hospitalizations ever.


Kewaunee County recorded 28 new cases against 32 recoveries. The number of active instances continues to trickle lower, now at 120. Kewaunee continues to show generally higher COVID-19 activity levels than Door.


Governor Evers' new emergency order takes effect at 8 AM on Thursday. Statewide there were over 2,300 new COVID-19 cases.

 

 

Ephraim Physical Facilities Committee commits to long-term plan

Future capital projects were the focus of Tuesday’s Physical Facilities Committee meeting in the Village of Ephraim on Tuesday. The panel put together a to-do list over the next ten years that included jobs both ambitious and more menial in nature. Chair Cindy Nelson ticked off shoreline protection, addressing the Hardy Gallery and Anderson Dock, work on the wetlands, beach improvements, streetscape work including at Moravia Park near the marina, and street light replacement on the northern end of town. Member Matt Meacham added in the repaving of city lots. Many of the projects have already been the subject of extensive discussion and costs can be estimated fairly precisely at this time. Meacham suggested that the village set up a capital improvements fund that raises money for the work over time rather than having to resort to taking on new debt once a bid is accepted.

 


Administrator Brent Bristol said that is impossible as it runs afoul of tax levy restrictions imposed on municipalities by the State of Wisconsin. Debt issuance is one of the few exceptions to the law. Bristol said that the only feasible option is to redirect funds earmarked for a separate purpose if their initial use falls through, such as staffing changes or other deviations from the initial budget. 

 

Door County issues COVID-19 alert

Early Wednesday afternoon, Door County Public Health issued new guidance to stem what the state classifies as "very high" COVID-19 activity levels locally. The press release comes less than a day before Governor Tony Evers' Emergency Order #3 takes effect, limiting the indoor gathering capacity. The memo mentions that Door County Medical Center has enacted surge preparedness as healthcare facilities in nearby Brown County report being overwhelmed by their current caseload. County Administrator Ken Pabich says that as more is learned about the disease, recommendations change. 

 


Pabich asks residents and businesses to take the recommendations seriously to help control the spread of COVID-19 in the county.

 

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Public Health Emergency COVID-19 Alert Very High COVID-19 Activity Levels – Act to Stop the Spread

 

The Covid-19 case activity is very high as defined by Wisconsin State Department of Health Services (WDHS). There is significant uncontrolled spread of COVID-19 in our community. In September, Door County had 271 new confirmed cases. Our local hospital has enacted their surge plan. Our healthcare partners in Brown County are reporting being overwhelmed. Door County Public Health implores everyone to take immediate actions to stop this uncontrolled community spread.

 

With COVID-19, the health and safety of our community as a whole depends on individual decisions and actions. We should all continue to follow these simple steps:

• Stay at least 6 feet away from other people when you leave your home

• Wear a cloth face mask in public setting, unless unable to wear one for medical reasons.

• Wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. • Stay at home as much as possible.

• If you are experiencing symptoms of Covid-19, limit interactions with others, consult your health care provider or contact the COVID-19 Screening Hotline at 920-746-3700 or your health care provider, get tested, and stay home while awaiting results.

• Cooperate with public health officials if you have tested positive or are a close contact.

 

Along with following the new Emergency Order #3 issued by the Governor, Public Health is recommending new mitigation strategies that are strongly encouraged to stop the spread. These include:

• Avoid indoor gatherings outside of household.

• Limit outdoor gatherings to 10 people or fewer, with physical distancing and face coverings.

• Avoid ANY gatherings, including family events, where physical distancing and masking are not strictly being practiced.

• Postpose or cancel all non-essential activities, events, gatherings and travel.

• Offices and other workplaces consider allowing only essential workforce on-site with active monitoring of symptoms, physical distancing, and face coverings when feasible.

 • Business and community organizations should continue to monitor and adjust operations outlined by the WEDC Guidelines.

Please note that these recommendations do not apply to our local schools. Public Health continues to work with our local school districts to provide the best practices to ensure a safe environment for the students, facility and staff. 

 

Stimulus funds aiding WI energy producers

U.S. Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette says energy producers that serve homes, farms and businesses in Door and Kewaunee counties are benefiting from pandemic stimulus funds.  Brouillette talked about the stimulus programs during a visit to Northeast Wisconsin Technical College Tuesday.  He says federal investment in Wisconsin businesses has been substantial.

 

 

 

Improvements in solar panels and batteries will make area homes, businesses and farms less dependent on the grid.

 

 

*Photo courtesy of US Department of Energy website.

Algoma School District Veterans Day concert goes virtual

Hymns for each military branch and other patriotic music will make up a 20-minute virtual concert heard from Lake Michigan to the shores of Tripoli. Algoma’s High School and Middle School bands, grades seven through 12, have already begun practicing the mix of marches and somber selections set to honor veterans and active-duty soldiers. Band Director Jennifer Massey says the gymnasium has become her stage as of late, providing excellent acoustics. 

 


Massey says the concert will be available online through the district by Veterans Day. Even though they won’t be able to attend in person, those being honored still have a chance to be a part of the concert. Massey is hoping to be able to show pictures of area soldiers during the performance. She says military personnel and family members have several options to get the photos to her. The first is to email jmassey@algomaschools.org. She says they’re welcome to stop by the school where office staff can scan them and make a digital copy. For those entertaining that option, a mask is required while on the district’s campus. Lastly, they can mail in a photo to Algoma High School care of Jennifer Massey, 1715 Division St., Algoma, WI 54201.


Massey says the school does not charge admission to the annual event, so a virtual performance will not result in lost revenue that would need to be made up through a fundraising effort. She expects to utilize a similar format for the annual holiday concert in December.

 

Photo courtesy of Algoma School District website.

 

Voter Helpline offers assistance before election

With Election Day only four weeks away, the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin as well as the local Door County chapter are reminding voters that they can receive help from nonpartisan experts in the area before November 3rd.  The Voter Helpline was established in 2016 in Dane County and allows anyone statewide to call or text questions.  Local volunteers are referred and can offer in-person assistance if needed.  League of Women Voters Door County President Pat Sciezinski says the organization’s goal to help as many people as possible cast their vote for Election Day.

 

 

Voters can call the helpline to get assistance for obtaining an acceptable photo ID for voting, registering to vote, request, voting absentee, and finding polling locations.  The Helpline volunteers can also offer rides to the DMV and also serve as witnesses for voters needing a witness to complete their absentee ballot.  The Door County League of Women Voters sponsored a candidate forum between U.S. Congressional Rep. Mike Gallagher and challenger Amanda Stuck on Tuesday. 

 

Voter Helpline: 608-285-2141

 

Council approves granary lease

Administrator Josh VanLieshout at the Sturgeon Bay Common Council Tuesday said recent meetings gave him reason to believe construction on the city’s west waterfront was days away. The Council itself helped that future take a giant step forward, approving a sublease of the granary to the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society with only members Kirsten Reeths and Gary Nault voting against the measure. The 4-2 vote was held after a lengthy presentation from City Attorney James Kalny detailing recent changes to the lease.


Even when work at the granary is complete, two easements will remain on the property. The first is a 30-foot maintenance allowance surrounding the structure, which will house multiple rain gardens to alleviate stormwater runoff. The other is a requirement placed by the City of Sturgeon Bay for permanent fire access from Maple Street. The Historical Society is free to make improvements in the form of gravel or pavement. It could potentially leave the route grass-covered if it can be shown that natural turf is able to handle the weight from fire department vehicles.


The agreement has standard provisions defining abandonment of the project (60 consecutive days without work being done) and a process to cure any potential default with different grace periods if the default is financial in nature versus another difficulty. Kalny fielded questions from council members. Nault said he had concerns about the location and the limited ability of the Door County Maritime Museum to expand in the future. Nault pointed to the growth there with the new tower and said he could see further additions being possible from now on. Reeths and Nault asked about parking. VanLieshout said current plans are for patrons and staff of the granary to use a city-owned lot adjacent to the museum.

 

 

Area COVID-19 positive tests slow as recoveries increase  

 The number of positive tests of COVID-19 in Door and Kewaunee counties showed an uptick on Tuesday but recoveries went up significantly.  Door County Public Health reported six new COVID-19 cases with 78 new recoveries.  The positivity rate was the lowest in several weeks at 5.2 percent and active cases went down to 71 in Door County. Kewaunee County had only eight test results with all of those being positive.  With 34 recoveries noted, active cases went down to 124.   Public Health Director Cindy Kinnard says the hospitalizations remained at eight people for Kewaunee County. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported over 2,000 positive tests for COVID-19 in the state on Tuesday with 18 additional deaths.  Governor Tony Evers issued a new statewide order limiting public gatherings indoors to 25 percent of the room or building’s capacity.  

 

 

Truck a complete loss after engine fire

A pickup truck was a total loss after its engine caught fire on Monday in the Town of Nasewaupee.  The Southern Door Fire Department was dispatched to 2287 County Road S about 10:30 am Monday after the owner of the vehicle was doing work on his deer stand about a quarter-mile off the road.  Southern Door Assistant Fire Chief Chuck Cihlar says when the owner was leaving in his 1994 Dodge pickup truck he noticed smoke coming from the hood but could not open it.  The Southern Door Fire Department then was called and Cihlar says recent rains helped to keep the fire from spreading into nearby woods.

 

 

Cihlar adds that the vehicle’s interior and engine compartment was completely burned out.  The Southern Door Fire Department was on the scene for about 30 minutes and the cause of the fire is unknown at this time. 

Call volume down for Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Department

The Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Department is still keeping busy, but they have not had to jump into their trucks as often this year. Fire Chief Chris Hecht estimates their call volume is down about 10 percent over last year. They did not receive many calls at the onset of the pandemic and it has slowly grown to a little bit closer to normal as the year as gone along. When you separate out the type of calls, the fire department has seen an increase while the first response team has seen a decrease. Hecht says they have been able to give back to the community in other ways.

One thing that may be hard to recoup is the funding the Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Department receives for its volunteer operations. Like other non-profits, the department relies on Marina Fest and Fall Fest to offset some of their operational costs. Both of those events were canceled due to COVID-19.

Governor issues order to limit indoor public gatherings

Governor Tony Evers has directed the Department of Health Services to issue an Emergency Order to limit public gatherings to no more than 25 percent of a room or building’s total capacity.  The order is effective at 8 am on Thursday and will stay in effect until November 6th, according to a statement from the Governor’s office.  The limit of public gatherings applies to stores, restaurants, and other businesses that allow public entry, as well as spaces with ticketed events.   Gov. Evers said, “We’re in a crisis right now and need to immediately change our behavior to save lives”.  You can read more on Emergency Order #3 below. 

 

Emergency Order #3 on Public Gatherings   

 

FAQs about Emergency Order #3

Schools in step with each other during COVID-19

While some school districts in northeastern Wisconsin are taking all of the students to virtual learning due to a spike in COVID-19 cases, schools in Door County continue to work together during these unique times. Administrators for Door County’s public and private schools meet every Thursday with members of the Door County Public Health Department and Door County Medical Center to discuss updates within the community. One of those issues that has crept into mix is contact tracing. The county announced last week it would no longer call close contacts to positive COVID-19 patients due to the current backlog of work. Sturgeon Bay Schools Superintendent Dan Tjernagel says districts have taken a more active role in contact tracing in recent weeks.

Tjernagel added there have been discussions about bringing on a contact tracer for the district who could assist in the county’s efforts when they are not needed for the schools. Gibraltar remains 100 percent virtual until October 14th while the number of active cases and quarantined students vary from district to district.

State offers municipalities options for surplus CARES Act funding

Municipalities in Door County are learning about what they can do with surplus money from CARES Act funding they received. The CARES Act requires that funding be spent on necessary but unbudgeted expenditures incurred during the public health emergency. Gibraltar Deputy Clerk Kelly Murre says the Town of Gibraltar plans on using all of the $17,184 it was allocated, most of which went towards personal protection equipment, plexiglass shields, hand sanitizing stations, and virtual meeting tools. The Town of Sevastopol received $44,594 in funding from the CARES Act, but Clerk/Treasurer Amy Flok says it has only used $2,450 of it to install a window between her office and the rest of the hall to protect residents coming in to vote. She added they are speaking with Sevastopol School District to generate a list of supplies they need in order to use more of the funding allocated. State Senator Robert Cowles says that is a strategy more municipalities are being encouraged to use.

Cowles estimates five of the 17 school districts in his district are benefiting from the provision. Municipalities would have to approve the partnership with the school to donate the funds before the money gets sent back to the federal government on December 1st.

Local pastor explores roadside chapels

Father Edward Looney already calls two Catholic parishes home, but he is reaching out to several other small houses of worship over the next month. Roadside chapels have been a staple in rural Brown, Door and Kewaunee counties since Belgian settlers first came to the area in the mid-1800s. According to the Belgian Heritage Center in Brussels, the roadside chapels were often built to share with travelers before traditional churches were constructed. Last month, Looney started a Facebook page to highlight the 32  roadside chapels in Brown, Door, and Kewaunee counties so people could reference them as they visit the area and to commemorate the upcoming All Saints’ Day. He hopes to not just visit them all over time but to highlight them and the landowners that help keep them up.

Looney adds that roadside chapels and other small outdoor places of faith like the St. Francis and St. Mary Grotto in Brussels are becoming popular places to pray for those maybe still uncomfortable with attending church services. Diocese of Green Bay Bishop David Ricken reinstituted dispensation for area Catholics not attending Sunday masses due to the influx of positive COVID-19 cases. That does not mean local churches have to stop holding in-person masses.

Affordable housing efforts face challenges

Door County and developers interested in meeting the need for affordable housing say its easier said than done.  Horizon Development of Madison is voicing interested in the soon-to-be-closed Sunset School property for a 40-to-50 unit apartment project.  The key is getting public and private investment in such projects.  Sturgeon Bay Community Development Director Marty Olejniczak says competition is fierce for Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority tax credits.  He also says the application process can take a lot of time.

 

 

Sturgeon Bay City Administrator Josh Van Lieshout says additional obstacles can be finding other investors, setting up Tax Increment Finance Districts and opposition from nearby homeowners.

 

 

Developers planning to convert the former Sturgeon Bay West Side School into affordable housing are still awaiting word on their application for WHEDA tax credits.

Door County on target with road projects

Road construction projects in Door County are on schedule for the final phases this month.  Highway Commissioner John Kolodziej says work is being completed in the Town of Nasawaupee in the Snake Island area to raise road elevations to alleviate flooding due to high water levels from Lake Michigan.  He shares the work schedule that began with paving on Monday.

 

 

Kolodziej added that the County M project will be starting the second lift of asphalt for a two-mile stretch north of the County C intersection.   Milling out work will begin on County U next Monday from Johnson Road north to Lake Road.  A one-mile stretch on Salona Road in the Town of Clay Banks is also being redone by the Door County Highway Department. The goal is to complete all road construction work by October 23 and have several trucks ready for snow removal by the end of the month.

Area COVID-19 cases continue to surge

Door and Kewaunee counties reported a collective total of nearly 100 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday since last Friday.  Kewaunee County saw a spike of 62 new cases of COVID-19.  The positivity rate showed to be at 27.9 percent with active cases standing at 150 and 71 new recoveries noted.  Kewaunee County Health Director Cindy Kinnard informed DoorCountyDailyNews.com that eight people are hospitalized.  Door County Public Health disclosed 30 new positive tests of COVID-19 with a positivity rate of 26.8 percent.  Active cases went up to 143 in Door County with no new recoveries shown.  Wisconsin Department of Health Service reported Monday nearly 1700 new coronavirus cases in the state with a positivity rate of 19.8 percent and four additional deaths.

 

 

Luxemburg approves Kwik Trip plan

The Village of Luxemburg approved the final plans last week for the new Kwik Trip that is projected to be built in 2021.  The convenience store chain that has locations throughout the Midwest, gained approval through the Luxemburg Plan Commission to build a car wash as part of the property that is on County AB just south of the Luxemburg-Casco Sports Complex parking lot.  Village President Jack Seidl says a few details are yet to be worked out with Kewaunee County.

 

 

Seidl added that the village board also approved two different condominium projects that will be developed next year.  One property will be located north of Northbrook Golf Course and include about 20 units.  The other condominium development will be on Seidl Street where Division Street is being extended and offers 12 units after two phases with some additional single-family residences as well.

Farmers to Family Food Box events return

For the first time since August, the United States Department of Agriculture and the Door County Food Pantry Coalition are teaming to help provide healthy meals for residents. According to the USDA, over 100 million food boxes have been distributed nationwide as a part of the $4 billion Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. Door County families were able to participate in the program in June, July, and August. Christine Henkel from the Door County Community Foundation says it has been a great partnership between the coalition and the USDA.

The USDA has also been lending a hand to some local school districts, providing free breakfasts and lunches for students through the end of the year. The Farmers to Families Food Box events are taking place from 4-6 p.m. at Sturgeon Bay’s John Miles County Park on October 14th and the old Shopko building on October 21st in Sister Bay.

Washington Island students adapting to COVID world

COVID-19 does not operate on a set schedule and students at Washington Island School are showing they are prepared to deal with whatever is thrown at them. One of the school’s remote/hybrid learners tested positive for the coronavirus earlier this school year. Despite having not set foot in the building yet this year, the student’s parent and sibling who had been in the building were forced to quarantine. Since the parent was also a staff member, they taught from home while a paraprofessional assisted in the classroom. Principal Michelle Kanipes says they have talked internally since the spring shutdown about they could still deliver a meaningful education even if it had to be done virtually. She has been happy about how the students have been able to respond when the school has had to turn on a dime with its classes.

 

 

Kanipes says only a handful of students are opting for remote learning this year with others being homeschooled or attending a virtual academy. Even though sports have been canceled for the most part, she adds they have been able to still participate in some events like the Wisconsin Academic Decathlon program without leaving the island.

 

Picture courtesy of Washington Island School District

Doc brings military experience to women's health

Dr. Elizabeth Gaida, OB/GYN brings a unique perspective to her new role at Door County Medical Center. After going to medical school in Wisconsin and Minnesota, Gaida’s profession took her to military bases across the country as a member of the United States Air Force for 13 years. She served as the Medical Director of Women’s Health Services at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Miss. Helping women on military bases means forming a connection right away before either the patient or the doctor leaves for another assignment. Gaida says that experience helps her form meaningful relationships quickly.  

Gaida believes “knowledge is power” as she gives her patients the available options and allows them to pick the best option for them. You can listen to the full interview on our podcast page.

Weather conditions good news for farmers

Rio Creek Feed Mill agronomist Adam Barta says farmers should be thanking Mother Nature for the help this year, making the harvest less stressful and giving them more time to address other needs in their fields. He expects the mill to be busy this week as farmers start harvesting soybeans and other dry grains. Thanks to better conditions than last year, farmers are almost a month ahead of last year’s schedule and not causing issues like soil compaction. Barta says being able to get into their fields with time to spare gives farmers more options than they have had in recent years.

The weather forecast for now looks favorable farmers right now as there is just a low chance of rain falling over the next week.  Barta recommends farmers taking advantage of the extra time to experiment with cover crops, which not only could be used for additional forage down the road but also helpful in local conservation efforts.

 

Picture courtesy of Rio Creek Feed Mill

Sturgeon Bay inches forward on city attorney proposal

The City of Sturgeon Bay continues to consider bidding out for law firms to run the city attorney's office.  The Committee of the Whole sent the matter to the Personnel Committee, which will decide whether to seek requests for proposals.  Some city council members want to determine if they are cost savings to be found. Mayor David Ward says if the full city council decides to move forward with the plan some pending legal matters must first be resolved.

 

 

 

Ward says resolving all those issues will likely take several months.

Sister Bay property values up sharply

The assessed value of property within the Village of Sister Bay jumped from $422 million to $458 million in a year. Those details were announced Wednesday afternoon at a joint Finance and Personnel Committee meeting. The 8.5% increase in taxable value is offset by a proposed increase in the village government budget for 2021, says Administrator Beau Bernhoft.

 


Additionally, Bernhoft and Finance Director Tasha Rass updated the committees on the tax incremental district, or TID. Over $40 million is expected to be generated in 2021. The TID helps finance public works projects internally at the village level and is covered by tax income generated from all properties within its region. Being able to cover the debt service from the internal loans gives Sister Bay flexibility for larger-scale initiatives that could require the village to issue bonds, says Bernhoft. 

 

Interest in cool weather fishing starting in Door County

Autumn 2020 is just over a week old.  But some anglers are already looking forward to fishing in cooler, frigid weather.   J.J. Malvitz, owner of JJ's Guide Service in Little Sturgeon Bay says he's getting inquiries from anglers who are looking at other winter plans due in part to the pandemic.

 

 

 

Anglers can catch some trophy-sized fish in the fall, while whitefish are especially plentiful when ice fishing.

Book clubs becoming year-round

Traditionally, participation in the various book clubs put on by the Door County Library system branches ebbed and flowed with the number of seasonal residents. With the talks going virtual on Zoom as a precaution against COVID-19, Community Relations Library Assistant Morgan Mann says people are finding ways to join the discussion, no matter where they are.

 


Each club has a different focus. Some gravitate towards military history, nonfiction, or the classics. The Ephraim Book Club was the last group to reconvene since the onset of the pandemic. Its first discussion will be Tuesday, October 6th, at 11 AM before settling into its usual timeslot of 10:30 on the first Tuesday morning each month. More information can be found on the library’s website.


Door County Reads will be virtual in 2021, with all activities taking place over two weeks at the end of January. While many details are not yet finalized, the book has been picked. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel is set in the Midwest, and the plot revolves around the aftermath of a devastating pandemic.

 

Graham Park focus of Local Art Board meeting

Sturgeon Bay's Local Art Board convened for the first time at noon on Wednesday in the Council Chambers. The hour-long meeting's main focus was a presentation by Pam Seiler of Destination Sturgeon Bay on the Graham Park renovations. From now on, the board will have approval authority for beautification projects, but Graham Park has already been vetted by the Common Council, making Wednesday's presentation informational in nature. Seiler provided additional details about the progress of the fountain, which will be the centerpiece of the new design.

 


The fountain has two primary components, a hull with water jets giving it the illusion of being in motion. Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding will be creating that section out of steel. Hi-Tec Fabrications of Sturgeon Bay is working on the mast portion of the fountain, made from aluminum. The hull represents the city's working waterfront with the sail signifying recreational boating. The board has asked Destination Sturgeon Bay and artist Rob Soukup to think about giving the piece a name. Tim Graul and Bay Engineering are still putting the finishing touches on the specifications for the fountain. It is expected to be installed in time for a dedication next May.


The board has been given a modest $10,000 budget and discussed how it could create public art projects similar to what has been done in Egg Harbor to provide additional funding for purchases. The general model is to have galleries lend pieces to the city for display on public property. When those sculptures are sold, a portion of the revenue generated goes to Sturgeon Bay. Administrator Josh VanLieshout says this can be successful because it opens up works to a much larger clientele than just those who feel comfortable in galleries. 

 

Door-Tran contemplating delivery service

With COVID-19 cases at pandemic highs, Door-Tran looks at what could be needed should area residents retreat from public space like happened this spring. Interim Director Nikki Voight says that so many charitable organizations helped deliver necessary services in March and April. She thinks Door-Tran is now ready to be part of that aid operation, especially for older customers concerned with contracting the virus. Voight says that includes leveraging the ride service into providing deliveries for the first time in its history.

 


Door-Tran expects the need for volunteers to continue to increase. Many of the service's regular volunteers have stepped back from their roles with the group due to age or preexisting conditions. Door-Tran has roughly ten drivers, with a handful of applications being processed. Voight is actively looking for more as COVID-19 cases spike.

 

Snowmobile safety certificate needed before taking to trails

Before fall colors give way to winter white around Door and Kewaunee counties, those looking to take to the snowmobile trails need to get their safety certificate.  The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources reminds residents born January 1st, 1985 and after that, they need to obtain a snowmobile safety certificate, which is now being offered through online classes. DNR Conservation Warden Chris Kratcha says there are no age exceptions.

 

 

 

The online snowmobile safety course only costs $10.  Dean Simonar, owner of Simonar Sports Incorporated, in Luxemburg, says it's well worth the price.

 

 

 

Information on the snowmobile safety online or in-person course can be found at dnr.wisconsin.gov/Education/OutdoorSkills/safetyEducation.

Kewaunee County has plenty of fall color too

While Northern Door tends to get the headlines this time of year, visitors to the area looking for fall color are developing their own Kewaunee County traditions. Algoma Area Chamber of Commerce President Kay Smith says many have fallen in love with the scenic lakeshore, providing great water views in one direction with the bluffs to the west. Smith says the chamber is happy to help tourists find spots known only to residents.

 


Smith encourages anyone on their way to Door County staples like Peninsula State Park to make some time for Kewaunee County too. She says it is heartening to see those who take the chamber up on the offer fall in love with the area and make Algoma and Kewaunee County an annual destination.
Smith says last month's Sidewalk Sale was a huge success, with many businesses saying they had customers discover them due to the event. She hopes to see it back, but where it fits in the calendar of a normal year is not yet clear. The chamber is committed to the Christmas Stroll at the end of November, with discussions underway to have it last a full two weeks rather than just the weekends during hunting season.

 

First drive-through flu shot clinic Sunday

Door County Public Health is running its flu shot clinics in a drive-through manner this year, with the first being Sunday on Washington Island. The events will happen rain or shine. Each location was chosen specifically for the amount of shelter provided in the case of inclement weather. Nurse Katie Van Laanen says the format has never been implemented before with the general public. Still, the staff has run exercises in the case of a pandemic, game planning for the potential need. 

 


If everything goes smoothly, you won’t have to leave your car. Paperwork is filled out before the event or on-site and the shot administered to adults or children as young as four. Between six months and four years, parents would need to get approval from their healthcare provider. 


If you have tested positive or feel you could potentially have COVID-19, Public Health is asking that you stay away from clinic sites. Flu shots will be given by appointment to make up for those absences. There are only five clinics this year, but they are operating with longer hours than usual. The full schedule is below.

 

 

Robotic custodian coming to Kewaunee County Jail

Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski presented at Friday morning’s Finance Committee meeting on a new robot that helps protect inmates and staff at the jail from COVID-19. The federal grant was dispersed to Kewaunee as a state pass-through from the Wisconsin Department of Justice. In addition to the Skytron ultraviolet disinfectant robot, Kewaunee added to its personal protective equipment inventory and got a device to ensure that N-95 masks fit staff properly. Joski explained to the committee why current disinfecting methods weren’t ideal for the jail.

 


The grant had strict parameters attached to it. It would only help facilitate purchases that: (1) enable the development of safe methods to operate the courthouse, (2) increase the safety of jails, or (3) improve the safety of law enforcement personnel. There are no restrictions on using the equipment in other county buildings. The grant was capped at $58,000, with Kewaunee County’s application coming in at $57,300. 

 

Adaptability key to Door County success

Jon Jarosh, of Destination Door County, says that all indicators point to a busy month even without marquee fall festivals taking place. He thinks adaptability has been a key component of the area's success in dealing with COVID-19, certainly relative to other parts of the state and country. Jarosh reiterates the need to take precautions as cases are on the rise locally. Vigilance in the face of complacency is essential and can be accomplished with three steps: mask wearing, hand washing, and keeping an appropriate distance from one another. 


Jarosh says flexibility goes beyond just safety measures. It means trying something for the first time like the Sturgeon Bay Under the Stars Night Market.

 


That same kind of innovation has happened in smaller ways at farmers' markets and other events. Jarosh expects creativity will create new traditions in Egg Harbor and Sister Bay even though Fall Fest and Pumpkin Patch are canceled.

 

It's still possible to open your dream restaurant

Local entrepreneurs have an opportunity to get a leg up on their competition with the help of the UW Extension through a virtual event in early November. Starting a restaurant or other food business is never easy, but especially tricky in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. The 5th annual Edible Startup Summit helps address the common sticky points that new businesses have to find answers to if they want to have staying power. Sharon Lezberg from the Dane County Extension says it is invaluable to hear from others who have learned how to overcome those hurdles. 


For $25, you gain access to virtual sessions covering a range of topics. The sessions can be anywhere from 30 minutes to one hour, and participants are free to attend as many as they feel would be useful. Lezberg says the one breakout she recommends for everyone is the opportunity to present your business plan and have it critiqued by an industry veteran.
 

 

A keynote speaker at the virtual conference has Door County ties. Mary Pat Carlson heads the kitchen at the Learning and Innovation Center of NWTC in Sister Bay. More information and registration is here.

 

*Photo of Mary Pat Carlson courtesy of UW Extension website.

 

Pandemic poses challenges to ESL tutors

Spanish speaking workers at  Kewaunee County farms and businesses face challenges in learning English.  The COVID-19 pandemic is limiting access to in-person classes for English as a Second Language.  Virtual lessons are being made available via the internet and smartphone apps.  Kate Phillips with the Literacy Partnership of Kewaunee County says that also creates a challenge for some tutors because they lack adequate internet access and unfamiliarity with current technologies.

 

 

 

So plans are underway to improve virtual teaching of ESL students.  Coordinator Anne Laurent says the hope is to help tutors, many of whom are 40 and older, become more tech-savvy.

 

 

 

Virtual teaching materials for ESL tutors will be available the first week of October.  Anyone interested in tutoring ESL students can learn more at http://literacykewauneeco.org/ .

Senator Ron Johnson tests positive for COVID-19

A recent outbreak of COVID-19 among Republican political figures hits Wisconsin. United States Senator Ron Johnson announced Saturday morning that he has tested positive for the virus. Johnson joins two other GOP senators, Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Mike Lee of Utah, to contract the disease this week. Johnson was not at a Rose Garden event last Saturday, announcing Amy Coney Barrett as the President’s nominee to fill a vacant seat on the US Supreme Court. Almost all of the other confirmed cases have been tied to that gathering, including the President, First Lady, and several White House staffers. The transmission at an outdoor event mirrors trends seen locally. Door County Public Health Director Sue Powers says being outside cannot become a source of complacency when dealing with COVID.

 


Symptoms for those affected in Washington DC range from mild to a precautionary hospitalization in the case of President Donald Trump. In a statement released Saturday morning by Johnson’s office, it was revealed that the Senator is currently asymptomatic and in quarantine until cleared by health officials.

 

Crossroads purchase proposal passes out of committee

Next to State Highway 57/42 between Michigan and Utah Streets are four small parcels of land with several restrictions, such as easements related to the transmission lines that run overhead. Crossroads at Big Creek owns the southern tract and is trying to obtain the rest. At Tuesday's Sturgeon Bay Finance Committee meeting, the organization's proposal to buy the city's parcel was approved and recommended to go before the Common Council at a future meeting. Chair Helen Bacon says that solidifying all of the land under Crossroads ownership is beneficial to everyone.

 


Typically, when the city does not have a defined use for land it owns, Sturgeon Bay will part with it for a menial price. Bacon says Crossroads may get the parcel for as little as a dollar. The purchase will also allow Crossroads to connect to the Ahnapee State Trail.

 

A map of the property can be found below.

 

 

Violence Intervention Project rekindles Operation Warm

Kewaunee County’s Violence Intervention Project is once again helping area children equip for the harsh Wisconsin winter. The group expects the economic downturn to boost demand for the coats and snow pants provided by Operation Warm. Usually, collection points are spread throughout the county at over 20 locations. This year, for safety reasons, items can be dropped off only at the VIP location on Division Street in Algoma. New or gently used donations will be gathered on Monday, October 19th, and Tuesday, October 20th. Advocate Jillian says that while coats and snow pants are specifically requested, other items will be happily taken.

 


Families are required to register their children by calling the Violence Intervention Project at 920-487-2111. The cutoff is Thursday, October 22nd. Jillian says between the expected increase in demand and the additional time needed to comply with new safety measures, distributions will be happening over two days instead of one in early November. Typically, over 100 coats are handed out per year. 


Operation Warm was begun in Pennsylvania in 1998. Kewaunee County has had its chapter since 2012 with deep roots in the community. 

 

*Photo courtesy of Operation Warm media relations website.

 

New book features "Clay Bank Shipwrecks and Ghost Ports"

The local maritime history of shipwrecks and the logging mills in southern Door County from the 1800s is the backdrop of a newly completed book.  The Wisconsin Underwater Archeological Association’s publication called “Ghost Port Settlements and Shipwrecks in Door County’s Clay Banks Township:  A Wisconsin Maritime Study” contains over 125 historical images and nearly 600 document references.  Dr. Dick Boyd and Russel Leitz from the WUAA collaborated with Clay Banks resident Doug Weimer to compile the 156-page publication over the past ten years.   Dr. Boyd says the book chronicles the logging industry of the latter 1800s with Door County’s rich maritime history.

 

 

The heavy-bonded spiral notebook of the Clay Banks Project will be available to purchase on the WUAA website within the next few days, according to Boyd.  He says plans are to make a hardbound, paperback edition available in 2021.  You can listen to the interview with Dr. Dick Boyd on “Ghost Port Settlements and Shipwrecks in Door County’s Clay Banks Township: A Wisconsin Maritime Study” on the podcast page 

 

 

The book is $19.95 plus shipping and can be purchased on the WUAA website here.

Door County reports best COVID numbers in weeks

Door County announced only 13 new COVID-19 cases Friday, but the real improvements came from other metrics. There were almost 150 results reported, meaning that the positivity rate was under 10 percent. The county also revealed four new recoveries, so the number of active cases increased by nine to 113. 


Kewaunee County saw the total number of cases rise to 658 with 159 actives, dropping one from Thursday. The number of recoveries could hit 500 on Saturday.


Statewide, the Department of Health Services reported another 2,745 cases. On the national level, the President and First Lady have tested positive.

 

 

Committee pushes for action on water quality bills

If the Wisconsin Legislature enters into a special session in the coming weeks, the Kewaunee County Land and Water Conservation Committee may have a suggestion on something they should take up. The committee looks to approve a resolution asking the state Senate to convene and vote on a $10 million package addressing the state’s water quality. The 13 bills created from the Speaker’s Task Force on Water Quality was passed by the Assembly earlier this year before the pandemic prevented the Senate from meeting. The bills include additional funding for county land and water conservation departments, well owners with contaminated water supplies, and farmers looking to reduce their nitrogen levels. Kewaunee County Land and Water Conservation Committee Chairperson Chuck Wagner says the sooner it gets done, the better.

The Kewaunee County Land and Water Conservation Committee will meet on Tuesday, October 13th to discuss the resolution and address some of the concerns members of the public listed earlier this year.

Farmers working through their finances

Chris Schneider has been on the job long enough in Door and Kewaunee Counties to know that in agriculture, you have to be along for the ride. Prices have been up and down in recent years, but data from the United States Department of Agriculture shows they have not rebounded from highs in 2014.  Add in the impact of COVID-19, overproduction, and higher production costs, farmers have not been able to reinvest in their farm to improve their equipment or land management strategies. As the Vice President and Senior Agricultural Banking Officer at Investors Community Bank, Schneider says seeing a farm being able to make those improvements over time and reap the benefits has been rewarding.

Schneider says he lets the farmers work with their agronomist on different strategies before helping them weigh the additional costs of production versus the benefits they may see.  He adds assistance programs for commodities like dairy have made it easier for farmers to protect themselves from downturns.

Luxemburg-Casco sends high school, middle school to virtual learning

A lack of staffing is forcing two of Luxemburg-Casco School District’s four buildings into virtual learning for the next two weeks. The district’s high and middle school students will have Monday off from school while teachers prepare virtual learning lesson plans. Their remote learning will start on Tuesday and continue until at least October 16th. Non-instructional staff members from those two buildings will assist the primary and intermediate schools with their staffing needs. Superintendent Glenn Schlender hopes that plan will alleviate some of the burden on those teachers’ plates.

Schlender says they will always try to stay open for in-person instruction as long as it is safe and staffing needs are met. Co-curricular activities can continue as scheduled.

Flexibility helps Sevastopol weather new COVID-19 cases

Sevastopol School District announced Friday it has had four new cases of COVID-19, but only one additional person had to be quarantined. That is one of the positives of its current A/B schedule for its students, which allows 50 percent of the population to attend in-person classes every other day. This model also allows families or students from the same household stay together. Superintendent Kyle Luedtke says the flexibility to be able to bounce between plans is helping more students learn in-person.

Sevastopol School District is planning on staying with its A/B model until the end of October. Luedtke added they are looking at ways to better support students who need a little more instruction at the high school level and do not have a great Internet connection. That topic will be discussed at the next Sevastopol School Board meeting.  Currently, Sevastopol School District has eight active cases of COVID-19 with nine recoveries. Twenty-seven students and staff are being quarantined due to possible exposure.

Kewaunee School District extends virtual schooling two weeks

Students at Kewaunee School District will have to wait another two weeks before they can return to in-person instruction. District officials opted to stick with the virtual option for now due to the rising number of positive COVID-19 cases not just in Kewaunee County but in the region as a whole. In-person classes were originally going to resume on Monday before the session. Kewaunee High School Principal Mike Bennett complimented the students, staff, and school board for taking everything in stride over the last two weeks. He has heard more positive feedback from parents this time around, saying students are able to get more out of the virtual instruction now than they did in the spring. There are still some students who are unable to participate in virtual learning easily due to poor Internet connections at their homes. Bennett says with a little social distancing in gym, they have been able to address that.

The last day of virtual instruction could be October 16th. From there, Bennett says they could either decide to open the school up fully again or go with a different model where the buildings would be at two-thirds capacity with students attending with others in their same cohort.

Kitchens, Jensen both support redistricting efforts

In the wake of the People’s Maps Commission’s first hearing on Thursday, both candidates running for the First District Assembly seat say a new way to redrawing district lines may be needed. Proponents of a change towards a non-partisan review board for redistricting say voters should pick their legislators and not the other way around. Opponents believe drawing the district lines should remain the legislature’s duty under the state constitution. Republican Rep. Joel Kitchens signed onto legislation supporting non-partisan redistricting back in January. He believes it would give people trust in the process, but does not think it will have the impact many think it would.

His Democratic opponent Kim Delorit Jensen says drawing the maps should be 100 percent nonpartisan.  With the process’ success in other states like Iowa, she does not understand why it has not been acted on yet.

The People’s Maps Commission will meet seven more times to hear testimony on the subject. An advisory referendum question asking about non-partisan redistricting is appearing on several ballots in the state this fall including in Brown and Door Counties. You can listen to the rest of our interviews with Kitchens and Jensen on our podcast page.

Door County Civility Project promotes Golden Rule

A local organization is advocating for people to follow the “golden rule” when engaging in political and other contentious conversations.  The first presidential debate between President Trump and Joe Biden on Tuesday was widely panned nationally as uncivil and chaotic.  Shirley Senarighi of the Door County Civility Project says when you are stating your opinion it is important to respect other viewpoints and people.  She says the guidance can be found in the teachings of our faith communities and the Golden Rule.

 

 

Senarighi adds that personal attacks are destructive and are never acceptable regardless of the person’s status.  She encourages people to consider civility when watching future debates and how it can be an important element that can help our country be less divided.  You can find the Door County Civility Project’s call for dignity and respect in politics below.

 

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

 

 

(photo courtesy of Door County Civility Project)

Active cases stay high in Door and Kewaunee counties

Positive tests of COVID-19 continue to surge in the Door and Kewaunee counties as Wisconsin saw another record number of positive tests on Thursday.   Kewaunee County added 31 more confirmed cases with a 33.3 percent positivity rate. Door County reported  13  more and a positivity rate of 15.1 percent.  Active cases are up to 160 in Kewaunee County and 104 in Door County.  Recoveries were 23 in Kewaunee County with none in Door County.  Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported Thursday a new record-setting high of over 2,800 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state as well as over 100 hospitalizations.

 

 

No visitor policy instituted at hospital

Door County Medical Center announced Thursday that no visitors will be allowed at the hospital until further notice.  Exceptions for a support person will be made in certain circumstances as long as they are not ill or have symptoms.  Dr. James Heise at Door County Medical Center says the precautions are needed at this time due to the increased positive tests of COVID-19 in the area.

 

 

Door County Medical Center began allowing visitors again in June after taking precautions during the initial outbreak of COVID-19.   Dr. Heise considers the bed availability at DCMC just fine right now as Brown County hospitals deal with capacity concerns. He emphasizes the importance of everyone doing their part in preventing the spread of COVID-19.  You can read the press release from DCMC below.

 

 

 

DCMC Press Release:  Door County Medical Center (DCMC) Institutes No Visitor Policy

 

October 1, 2020, Sturgeon Bay, WI-  Visitors to the hospital will not be allowed effective immediately at Door County Medical Center (DCMC). 

 

Hospital

Effective immediately the hospital is instituting a no visitor policy.

 

The following exceptions will be made for support persons.  The support person must not be ill and should be free of any symptoms.  Masks must be worn at all times by the allowed support person. 

·       Obstetrical patients may have one support person.

·       Pediatric patients younger than 18 may have one parent or guardian present.

·       Patients nearing end-of-life: special arrangements may be made with the family spokesperson.

·       Patients having emergency surgery may have one support person.

·       Patients seeking emergency care may have one support person who is required to be in the patient room at all times; extenuating circumstances will be evaluated.

 

Clinic

Patients are to present to clinic for appointment alone. The support person must not be ill and should be free of any symptoms.  Masks must be worn throughout the entire visit. 

·       A clinic patient may have a support person accompany them only if assistance is needed. 

 

Skilled Nursing Facility

Visitors to the skilled nursing facility will not be allowed. Prearranged courtyard visits and compassionate care visits are permissible at this time.

Rosary Bowl highlights holy time at Shrine

The National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in Champion is celebrating the miracles experienced by the sacred grounds over the next nine days as a part of its novena. It was October 9, 1859 when Mary appeared to Adele Brise on the Shrine’s grounds, which led her to a lifetime of service to the church and its teachings. In October 1871, the Shrine was one of the few spots in the area spared by the Peshtigo Fire, which killed between 1,500 to 2,500 and destroyed 2,400 square miles. Special masses and other events highlight the nine-day span, including Friday’s Rosary Bowl, which is part of the nationwide Triumph Tour celebrating the power of prayer. Father John Broussard, the Shrine’s rector says these nine days are an important time for the Shrine and the people that visit.

The National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help is also celebrating its 10th anniversary of being named a Marian apparition site by the Catholic Church. You can find more details about the National Novena to Our Lady of Good Help below.

 

 

Door County planning ahead for juror concerns

Door County is pushing ahead with hosting in-person jury trials beginning this month. The courts have been running through its reopening protocol over the last few months to slowly get back to normal. Courtrooms will look a little different once juries are seated for trials including social distancing, masking, and plexiglass in front of the witness stand. Door County District Attorney Colleen Nordin says as many as 80 people could be called to fill out a jury in the coming weeks just in case there are concerns about reporting for duty.

With a jury trial slated to start in about two weeks, Nordin expects the Door County Clerk of Courts office to send out the first summons letters in the coming days. She anticipates people calling in to explain their medical concerns, but it will be up to the Clerk of the Courts Connie DeFere and the judges to evaluate who still may have to report. Brown, Calumet, and Outagamie County courts have halted their in-person hearings due to the recent surge in coronavirus cases.

Baker out at KCEDC

The Kewaunee County Economic Development Corporation is moving on from its former executive director Richard Baker.  A press release from the KCEDC Board of Directors gave no reason for Baker’s departure but states “a change in leadership was necessary to build confidence” and it hopes to move forward “as it works to repair relationships with local businesses, government, and all other stakeholders.” The board has tapped its chairperson, Amber Hewett, as its acting executive director while it conducts its search for Baker’s replacement. She says the board is looking for a fresh set of eyes for the future role the KCEDC will play in the region.

 

 

Hewett says there is no timeline to name an executive director other than it would like to name one sooner rather than later. Baker had served as the KCEDC Executive Director since January 2019.

Snack cart gives special education students opportunities

Special education students at Sturgeon Bay School District continue to learn life skills one snack at a time despite the pandemic. In past years, the students would circle the halls at Sturgeon Bay High School and T.J. Walker Middle School to sell snacks to teachers and staff in need of something to munch on during the day. The daily task taught the students life skills such as handling money, counting, and communication. Like area restaurants, the students had to adapt to offer “curbside” service to their customers with a little help from a Google form. Special education teacher Lindsay Ferry says it is great for the students to still be able to offer the service.

Ferry thanked the district and the community for making special considerations for its students with disabilities such as acquiring clear masks for those who need to read lips to communicate and offering work opportunities outside of its buildings.

 

Pictures courtesy of Sturgeon Bay School District

 

 

Girl Scouts recruit with drive-thrus

Youth organizations in Door and Kewaunee counties have had to get creative with recruiting in the middle of the pandemic, and the Girl Scouts of the Northwestern Great Lakes are no exception. With access to schools limited due to COVID-19, local Girl Scout troops have organized drive-thru events to highlight their activities, including four in Sturgeon Bay, Sevastopol, Kewaunee, and Luxemburg. Membership Engagement Manager Kristin Gallagher says families are all handling the pandemic differently, so they are offering local troops support to hold in-person and virtual meetings.

Dates for the drive-thrus are listed below. Bay-Lakes Council BSA held similar events last month throughout Door and Kewaunee counties to recruit new Cub Scouts and Scouts USA members. 4-H Educators in Brown, Door, and Kewaunee counties collaborated with each other to create the Explore 4-H box, allowing youth to experience club activities virtually over the course of six weeks beginning October 8th.

 

Kewaunee- October 6th

Sturgeon Bay- October 8th

Luxemburg- October 12th

Sevastopol- October 13th

 

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