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News Archives for 2020-11

Sturgeon Bay compost site making changes

To address the problems associated with illegal dumping, the City of Sturgeon Bay will be implementing changes to the operations and funding of their compost site.  Effective January 1, the yard waste and compost program will no longer be paid by the City’s general fund or property taxes. Municipal Services Director Mike Barker says the City’s program cost for the compost site is about $55,000 annually.  He shares the details of how the City’s yard waste and compost site will be funded.



People will have to show proof of residency to utilize the site.  Barker adds that a new access gate will be installed to help in controlling illegal dumping.  Fall hours at the compost site are in effect until December 15.  The site may be opened periodically in the winter after storms to allow property owners the opportunity to get rid of tree limbs and branches.  

"Giving for Sara Food and Hygiene Drive" helping pantries

For the eighth year in-a-row, the Kewaunee County Public Health and Human Services Departments are organizing a holiday donation program for local pantries in memory of one of their own.  The “Giving for Sara Food and Hygiene Drive” will be held during the month of December.  Health Officer Cindy Kinnard says the yearly efforts are a tribute to Sara Malay who passed away unexpectedly in 2013 while serving as the Aging Services Unit Director in Kewaunee County.  Due to COVID-19, mailed monetary donations are highly encouraged in place of in-person donations however drop-offs will still be accepted at the Kewaunee County Public Health and Human Services.



Suggested items to donate include canned chicken or tuna, canned fruit, cereal or granola bars, as well as hygiene products like shampoo, diapers, baby wipes, and deodorants. The “Giving for Sara Food and Hygiene Drive” runs from December 1st through December 31st.  You can find more information about the donation drive here.





Kewaunee County records 20th death, active cases drop 204 in Door County

The area reported another COVID-19 death on Monday.  The 20th coronavirus-related fatality was recorded in Kewaunee County. Kewaunee County Public Health officials disclosed 90 more COVID-19 cases since last Wednesday with 89 new recoveries. The active cases in Kewaunee County remained the same at 136 with hospitalizations dropping from six to three.   


Door County saw recoveries significantly outnumber positive cases of COVID-19.  Since last Wednesday, Door County Public Health reported 48 new coronavirus cases with 204 recoveries noted.  That brings the active cases down to 468.  No new hospitalization was noted in Door County.  With the recent slowing of positive cases, Public Health Manager Susan Powers says her department has been able to help with contact tracing again for the last week.



Powers adds that Door County businesses are invited to a free virtual informational session on preventing COVID spread in the workplace on Tuesday from 3:30-4:30 pm.  You can find a link to the meeting below.








When it's time, start your Webex meeting here.


Meeting: Preventing COVID spread: Information for Businesses

When: Tuesday, December 1, 2020 3:30 PM-4:30 PM CST.



Meeting number (access code): 126 118 1918

Meeting password: pHwk6fhYC78 (74956349 from phones and video systems)

Join by phone: +1-415-655-0001 US Toll


Tap to join from a mobile device (attendees only)

+1-415-655-0001,,1261181918#74956349# US Toll

Some mobile devices may ask attendees to enter a numeric meeting password.


Join by video system, application or Skype for business


You can also dial and enter your meeting number.


Fire departments hope to stay green

The Ephraim Fire Department has adorned its station with a wreath lit green the last five holiday seasons, and Fire Chief Justin MacDonald hopes it stays that way. Fire departments across the country use the wreath lit with green lights as a way to promote fire safety during the Christmas season. Each light represents a home spared from a structure fire. Every time there is a structure fire, departments swap out the green light with a red one. MacDonald says the wrong extension cord or Christmas lights can set your house ablaze instead of aglow.

For those that deck the halls with a live Christmas tree, MacDonald reminds people to make sure they stay watered for as long as they are in your home and to put it outside once it becomes too dry.


Picture provided by Ephraim Fire Department

Kewaunee High School heads back to virtual learning

It will not be until December 14th before Kewaunee High School students are able to walk their hallways again after they were placed back into the virtual learning model on Saturday. The combination of positive tests among staff and students, along with not having enough faculty members to cover for those in quarantine, led to the decision. Using its cohort model, the school had been operating at two-thirds capacity since the beginning of the month. They had spent almost a month in 100 percent virtual learning before they went to the cohort model, which puts the student body on a three-week rotation to allow them two weeks of in-person instruction and one week virtual. Kewaunee principal Mike Bennett feels for students and families affected by this latest switch.

Bennett says when they do return to class on December 14th, it will be back to its cohort model until their winter break begins on December 23rd. The students will also be 100 percent virtual learning at the beginning of January as a preemptive way to control the spread coming out of winter break. Kewaunee Middle and Grade School will remain open under their current instruction models.

Pandemic adds stress to co-parenting

Navigating the perils of COVID-19 makes a hard task even more difficult for those co-parenting children. It is becoming more common for parents who do not live in the same house as one in two marriages end in divorce and 66 percent of couples who live together or are remarried will break-up if kids are involved according to the Stepfamily Foundation. Kewaunee County UW-Extension Human Development & Relationships Educator Renee Koenig says the arrangement becomes even more complicated when the two parents have to balance their views of the pandemic. She says communication is important as the situation can be fluid from day to day.

Koenig reminds parents to also make a plan and be flexible with it in order to be fair to each other and their kids. You can find more helpful tips below.



The COVID-19 pandemic brings new challenges for parents who do not live in the same house. During this time of increased anxiety and stress, it is important to work together to parent your children.  Here are a few tips from Dr. Maggie Kerr, State Specialist with UW-Madison, Division of Extension:


1. Communicate

Talk with your co-parent and children about the expectations you have for your households about social distancing. Stating your expectations clearly is likely to reduce future conflict. If the children will go between households, each co-parent needs to know who the children will be in contact with at the other house, including other family members and children. Together, you can decide what works best to keep your families as safe as possible.


2. Make a plan

Your custody arrangement should be followed, but may require additional coordinating.  Work with your co-parent to plan for cancellations and social distancing during the upcoming holidays. Most importantly, communicate your plans to the child so they understand what is happening. Routines and communication help children feel safe during uncertain times.


3. Be flexible

Your co-parenting plan may need to change on a weekly or daily basis.  Be flexible and do not blame the other parent when things need to change. For example, if one of you gets sick, you will need to come up with a new plan. Agree upon other family members who might be able to help with your child if needed.


4. Stay in touch

Consider increasing the communication you have with your child via phone, email, video chats, and text during this time.  If one parent needs to self-quarantine, this increased communication will be important.  Use technology to allow your child to visit even when seeing the other parent in person is not possible. There are a variety of apps and websites for staying in touch from a distance. Learn how to use the technology before you absolutely need it. Phone calls are always a great option, too.


5. Remember the basics

This is a stressful time and the uncertainty and changes may cause more frustration than usual. Do your best not to argue in front of the child or to speak negatively about the child’s other parent.  Keep communication open but limited to relevant information, such as custody arrangements, childcare, school work, and exposure risks.


6. Be kind to yourself

This is a tough situation. Do not strive to be a perfect parent. Set realistic goals for your family. Trust that you are doing your best to parent your child through a difficult time. Remember to take care of yourself by talking walks, connecting with your family/friends, and repeating affirmations to yourself.  Consider the tips Zero to Three has compiled to help your family through this difficult time.


Door County YMCA "Ugly Sweater Run" changed up for December

The traditional “Ugly Sweater Run” that is sponsored every December by the Door County YMCA has been canceled, but people can still participate virtually.  Megan Schneider, member services director for the Northern Door YMCA, says you can still have fun by running or walking a 5K in your favorite ugly sweater on the weekend of December 12th and 13th.



Each tagged photo submitted with be entered into a drawing to win a prize provided by the Door County YMCA.  The Sturgeon Bay Door County YMCA is currently selling Christmas trees ranging from six to nine feet as well as wreaths.  All proceeds benefit the youth programming and the Y’s gymnastic program, respectively.

Algoma Public Works addressing flooding issues in city

A long, overdue street project in Algoma will be completed soon.  Public Works Director Matt Murphy says the delay was caused by components that were not able to be delivered until now.  The far north end of 6th Street is requiring new pumps for the storm water lift station to keep up with any substantial precipitation.  He says many streets in low lying areas should see some positive results from the project.



Murphy says the storm water project should shorten the time the streets are flooded and possibly eliminate it entirely after major rain events.  Murphy expects the project to be completed by early December.  

Deer processor seeing more business this season

Deer hunting is making a comeback statewide and around Door and Kewaunee counties. The Department of Natural Resources reported 810,233 deer licenses sold, 559,591 for firearms deer hunts. That's a 3.2% increase from 2019.  Area venison processors expected to be busy this year.  Jerry Theys, the owner of Theys Venison Processing, says that was confirmed the opening day of the nine-day firearms season.


Hunters are being reminded that they can help people in need by donating extra venison to the Hunt for the Hungry program.  Venison processors can provide additional details on how to donate.

Health officials prepared for post-holiday COVID case increases

The Door County Department of Health and Human Services is prepared for possible increases in post-holiday COVID-19 cases.  Susan Powers, the department's Public Health Manager and Public Health Officer, says as testing resumes next week the evidence of any possible spread of COVID-19 won't be immediately evident.

Powers says public health workers are prepared to track and take action against any signs of a COVID uptick.


Powers reminds people to continue masking, social distancing and frequent handwashing to help stem the spread of COVID.

Help of Door County handling more domestic violence calls

The added stresses this time of year along with the ongoing pandemic has advocates for victims of domestic abuse concerned for the safety for vulnerable people.  Help of Door County Executive Director Milly Gonzales says removing oneself from an abusive relationship can be tough, especially when children are involved.  She says more calls are coming in but that the added stressors are not the reason for the increase of reported domestic violence.



Gonzales says isolation and financial impacts on families are contributing factors to Help of Door County’s increased workload.  The 24-hour crisis line is available at 920-743-8818.   

Donations needed at local food pantry 

Kewaunee County President Ken Marquardt says his organization is seeing quite an increase in clients this month as the holiday season embarks.  The pantry has already served 173 families this month as of Monday.  Marquardt says the pantry’s biggest need right now is toiletries.



Marquardt adds that personal care products like shampoo and laundry detergents would also be welcome donations as well.  The Kewaunee County Food Pantry is open Monday and Wednesdays from about 10:30 am until 1 pm.  The pantry is also open the third Wednesday of each month.     

Giving Tuesday carries heavy importance this year

It may take another record Giving Tuesday to help Door County charities get over the effects of the pandemic. says their online efforts last year raised over $511 million, up from approximately $400 million in 2018. That was before the pandemic took hold to tax the services of many non-profits across the country and seriously hinder the finances of others. Door County Community Foundation President and CEO Bret Bicoy says for non-profits involved in the arts, donors have to realize that entire seasons were wiped out because of the pandemic.

For health and human services organizations, Bicoy adds that people need their services more now than ever.

In addition to donor-advised funds becoming more popular, the federal CARES Act passed earlier this year gave a number of incentives to individuals and corporations to donate more. Follow your favorite charities to see how you support their efforts even more on December 1st.

City looks to raise farm market, marina fees

It may soon cost more to have a spot at the Sturgeon Bay Farm Market or have a boat in the city’s marina.


On Tuesday, the Sturgeon Bay Common Council will look to double the amount it charges for daily and seasonal vendor fees at its Saturday farm market and nominal increases for its marina and large item/brush pick-up service. For a full spot, the daily vendor fee would increase from $20 to $40 and from $175 to $350 for a seasonal vendor. If approved it would be the first time vendors would see those rates increase since 2013. Marina slips are slated to go up $100 to $2,700 while the commercial slip fee with a special charge for the water weed program would go up from $48 to $60. Pick up for large items and brush would increase by $10 to $35. If approved, the city would raise more than $26,000 in additional revenue. 


The Sturgeon Bay Common Council will also discuss how it handles large donations and aldermanic vacancies in the future when it meets on Tuesday at 6 p.m.

Voting rights advocate sees results sticking

Common Cause Wisconsin Executive Director Jay Heck does not see how the results of the fall election will flip. Milwaukee and Dane counties are expected to wrap up their recount efforts over the weekend, at least two days before the December 1st deadline. The Wisconsin Voter Alliance filed a motion on November 24th asking the Supreme Court to toss out thousands of ballot because of possible issues with absentee ballots. The group says they have thousands of pieces of evidence that could lead to those votes not counting. Whether it is allowing county clerks to fill in missing addresses for signed absentee ballots or determining if someone is indefinitely confined or not, Heck says those situations are outlined under state law and the rules of the Wisconsin Elections Commission. He finds it outrageous that only two counties were requested a recount.

Heck says similar lawsuits in other states have not been successful because of a lack of evidence. He believes the only way the result can change is if the legislature goes against the will of the people.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court has not yet weighed in on the case. Former Justice Janine Geske gave her thoughts in an opinion piece published by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Thanksgiving, criticizing the lawsuit and asking the Wisconsin Supreme Court to “protect the sanctity of our elections and the rights of our citizens.” You can listen to the full interview with Heck on our podcast page as well as an opposing view.

Sevastopol School renovations getting closed up

There is still plenty of work to do before the $25 million-plus dream becomes a reality, but Sevastopol School District Superintendent Kyle Luedtke is still happy where the project is at heading into the end of the year. The project remains on schedule and under budget thanks to favorable weather and no hiccups along the way. Construction crews are set to completely enclose the additions in the coming weeks so indoor work can begin. Luedtke says they are seeing some benefits to locking in much of the project before the pandemic hit.

When the project is all done, Sevastopol will have said goodbye to some of the building’s oldest sections while saying hello to a new greenhouse, industrial arts classroom, and other different spaces.

Ephraim to still host Christmas event

Less than a week after it announced a modified Christmas in the Village celebration, the Ephraim Business Council was forced to make more changes to its winter event.


The decision to further alter the event came after more health advisories and emergencies were issued at the state and local levels. The organization scrapped its Saturday community tree lighting event, which would have allowed community members to get out of their cars and watch the ceremony at Harborside Park. Instead, motorists will be able to drive past the lit Christmas tree while also getting a chance to wave to Santa Claus. Other Christmas in the Village events remain largely unchanged from the original announcement on November 16th. On Friday, kids can go to participating Ephraim businesses to pick up a decorate-your-own mask kit and holiday snack. You have until Monday to reserve some different holiday items from Ephraim Moravian Church as it works to raise funds for Operation Secret Santa, while the village’s branch of the Door County Library will offer grab and go activity kits from December 5th to December 12th.


You can find more details by clicking this link.

Northern Sky Theater announces winter season

Although being virtual is not new, performing during the winter will be for Northern Sky Theater. The performing arts organization announced their first-ever winter season on Friday morning, picking up where they left off with their virtual programming. The season will span eight shows from January to April with a fresh look to some old classics as well as some new original content. Northern Sky Theater has relied on virtual programming to not just make ends meet during a pandemic-caused shuttered season, but also to keep the creative juices flowing. Artistic Director Jeff Herbst compares the experience to what it must be like acting on a television show without an audience.

Herbst says for some of the winter season events they may experiment with allowing virtual audience members to keep their mics on so they can hear their reactions during the shows. Before the winter season kicks off at the end of the month with a New Year’s Eve concert, Northern Sky Theater will present Home for the Holidays virtually on December 12th, a nod to the popular shows that traditionally take place at the end of December. 



Construction coming for Sawyer Elementary

You will soon start seeing construction trailers and crews descend on the grounds of Sawyer Elementary School in Sturgeon Bay. A large portion of the $16.84 million referendum approved by Sturgeon Bay voters in April is going to fund an addition to be built at Sawyer Elementary School. When it is completed, the building will include classrooms for 4K students and a multi-use space for not just their youngest learners, but also for small community events. Superintendent Dan Tjernagel says the good news for taxpayers is the bids for the project came in lower than expected.

With construction expected to start in the next week or two, Tjernagel expects the addition will be completed in time for the 2021-2022 school year.


Picture courtesy of Sturgeon Bay School District

Google speeds up unemployment payments

People in Door and Kewaunee Counties who are still awaiting unemployment benefits could see their claims resolved by year's end. The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development is teaming up with Google to resolve those outstanding claims.  DWD figures currently show 70,070 claims with unresolved issues have yet to be processed.  The use of Google technology has already helped clear up over 100,000 applications.  That's raising hopes that the outstanding applications can be resolved before New Year's Day.   Jim Golembeski, Bay Area Workforce Development Board Executive Director, blames an outdated claims verification system. He applauds anything that can speed up needed unemployment benefits.

The DWD says thousands of people statewide have been waiting months for their claims to be paid. 

Building community through a pandemic

Door County Habitat for Humanity has been able to navigate their efforts through the pandemic in order to finish its 43rd home. Volunteers were not able to begin work on the home until early July due to COVID-19 concerns and then ran into roadblocks because of contractors catching up on their own backlog of work. Despite these challenges, Door County Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Lori Allen says the Marvin family will be able to move into their new Baileys Harbor home before Christmas. Allen says it would not have been possible without their strong core of volunteers and some other breaks along the way.

Allen says Habitat volunteers are wrapping up some of their final outdoor home repair projects before the weather turns for the worse. The pandemic has put a temporary halt on their indoor home repair projects. Final details about the 43rd home dedication will be released in the near future.


Pictures courtesy of Door County Habitat for Humanity



Visitor centers team up to Shop Door County

Visitor centers across Door County are determined to keep holiday shopping dollars local this year. Ahead of Small Business Saturday, the organizations have helped launch Shop Door County, a Facebook page where area businesses can show off their items, offer different services, and keep consumers updated on deals. Currently, there are 243 members contributing to the page. Carly Sarkis from Destination Sturgeon Bay says local businesses are doing their part to make sure they can serve their customers safely.

Sarkis says the success of its Unwrapping Sturgeon Bay event last week gave the community a spark it has not seen in a while. According to American Express, approximately 67 cents out of every dollar spent with local businesses stay in the area.

Dialogue between farmers, urban areas important

Brussels crop farmer Michael Vandenhouten feels it is important for those in agriculture to get involved on the local level and talk with those that are not. Farmers on committees dealing with land and water conservation efforts are nothing new for Door and Kewaunee counties. Vandenhouten has served on the Door County Land Conservation Committee for several years as a Farm Service Agency appointee. In Kewaunee County, Aaron Augustian and Nick Guilette serve on the Land and Water Conservation Committee that was formerly chaired by the late John Pagel. Vandenhouten’s role as one of the three Farm Service Agency representatives in Door County is to make sure government programs are implemented correctly for agriculture. He feels being able to give an agriculture perspective on that level is important because of the disconnect between farmers and residents living in more urban areas.

Vandenhouten appreciates people who come out to their meetings to speak about the concerns so the dialogue can occur. He says that is especially important since many farmers believe there are too many regulations, while those living in more urban areas think there are not enough. The Kewaunee County Land and Water Conservation Committee meets on the second Tuesday of each month, while the Door County Land Conservation Committee usually gathers on the second Thursday of each month.


Picture courtesy of Peninsula Pride Farms

Lodging owners positive about future

After a rough start to the year due to the onset of the pandemic, things are looking up for Door County’s lodging industry. According to the statistics from the Door County Tourism Zone, occupancy rates have been rebounding since July.  Fewer rooms have been made available, but September marked the first month since January that the occupancy rate exceeded its 2019 totals at 57 percent. It has been within three percent of 2019’s average since July.  Room rates have also been able to climb as well, ranging from $5 to $24 a room higher on average compared to 2019.  Open Hearth Lodge owner Nora Zacek says many new visitors to Sister Bay stepped in to fill the rooms of others who did not feel comfortable traveling this year.

The positive trajectory gave Zacek and her husband John the confidence to move forward with their plans to expand for the second time since 2015. She says the rooms will all be pet-friendly after noticing more visitors are less likely to travel without their furry companions.


Photo from Open Hearth Lodge

Land Trust's 2021 impact spanning county

The Door County Land Trust has several active acquisition projects planned for 2021.  Executive Director Tom Clay says plans call for expansion of Kellner Fen Nature Preserve near Sturgeon Bay, Big and Little Marsh State Natural Area on Washington Island, Gibraltar-Ephraim swamp acreage, White Cliff Fen in Egg Harbor and Chambers Island Nature Preserve which is closing in on over 1,000 acres.  Clay says besides expansion to nature preserves located north of Sturgeon Bay, southern Door County properties are presenting opportunities as well.



Clay adds that a beautiful property near Stony Creek is also being considered for protection.  The Door County Land Trust manages over 8,500 acres of properties in the county.  You can find a complete listing of Door County Land Trust nature preserve here and the full interview with Tom Clay on the podcast page.





Families and farmers getting help in Door County

The Door County Food Pantry Coalition has again partnered with USDA to bring Farmers to Families Food Box events to community members next month.  The events started in June and have helped hundreds of area families in need while providing support to the agricultural sector during the pandemic emergency.  Dakota Londo of the Door County Food Pantry Coalition explains that people can line up their vehicles fifteen minutes before distribution begins.



Londo adds that people should remain in their vehicles and pop the trunk or open the back seat doors for easy delivery.  Volunteers will load in the food boxes containing enough food to feed a family of four or five.  December events will be Friday, December 4th from 4:00-6:00 at the Liberty Grove/ Sister Bay Fire Department on Mill Road and from 4:30-6:00 at John Miles County Park in Sturgeon Bay.

Hunter gun safety emphasized for final weekend

The final weekend of the 2020 nine-day deer hunting season brings to mind added gun safety concerns after a fatality on Washington Island last Sunday.  Door County DNR Conservation Warden Chris Kratcha says following the four rules of firearm safety is extremely important.  Those rules include always pointing the muzzle of your gun in a safe direction, treating every firearm as if it is loaded, being sure of your target and beyond, and finally keeping your finger outside the trigger guard until you are ready to shoot.  He says pointing out any shortcomings by your hunting buddies can potentially save a life.



Kratcha says eight of the last ten hunting seasons were fatality-free during the statewide gun deer season and single digit non-fatal incidents the past ten years as well.  The DNR released a hunting incident report Friday that showed four hunters were injured by gunshots, including the death in Door County.  While hunting on Washington Island, Steven Hoogester of West Bend died after accidentally shooting himself while exiting his ground blind on November 22.  The nine-day deer hunt concludes Sunday at dusk. 

Dystopian future book headlines Big Read

Door County Library’s Morgan Mann insists that the book selected for this year’s National Endowment for the Arts Big Read was chosen well before the pandemic struck the world. This year’s book, “Station Eleven” is set in a post-apocalyptic North America, twenty years after the initial collapse of civilization when culture is reshaping itself and defining a new normal. While readers can start flipping pages this weekend thanks to a free book giveaway at area branches on Friday, NEA Big Read events will start taking place virtually in January. The events include performances, lectures, and a Q&A session with the book’s author Emily St. John Mandel. Mann says given the world around us right now, she believes this is a powerful book for people to check out.

Mann is excited to see how high participation can get now that people can tune into the events across the world and read the book on their smart device. The Door County Library system is one of eight in the state and 84 in the country to be rewarded an NEA grant to participate in the program. Since the libraries are open by appointment only right now, you have to call ahead to reserve a copy.

Kerwin to return to roof for United Way

With the United Way of Door County about halfway to its $650,000 goal for its annual campaign, Board President Peter Kerwin knows what he needs to do. The organization announced last week that Kerwin would sit on the roof of the ERA Starr Realty building on December 3rd until he can help raise $15,000 for the campaign. It is not the first time he has done it, noting he has learned the importance of dressing warmly and having some friends come by and visit. With the work the United Way of Door County has done during the pandemic so far and the demand for its services expected to grow in 2021, Kerwin says the time spent on the roof will be well worth it.

Kerwin will begin his roof sit-in at 7 a.m. on December 3rd where passersby can either donate in person or via the phone and online. Things are already looking up for Kerwin on that day with an expected high of about 32 degrees and no precipitation in the forecast.


Picture courtesy of United Way of Door County

Church learns to serve better through pandemic

The United Methodist Churches of Algoma and West Kewaunee have made sure kids had what they needed to get through a weekend for years, but it took a pandemic for them to do it even better. The churches have been collecting items to fill up backpacks for Algoma-area school children to take home with enough food and other items so they had less to worry about over the weekend. When schools closed in March, it forced the congregation to have conversations with the people they served and find out what their true needs were. Pastor Jennifer Emert says it has been a blessing to learn more about their community members while continuing to help.

Emert says the churches have also provided Monday night dinners to the Algoma Wolf Den program, even taking the program virtual for a little bit after two high school students tested positive for COVID-19. She calls the situation dynamic as some families have sunk deeper into poverty. Others have spoken up and said "thank you," but their situation improved enough that they no longer needed the assistance.


Picture courtesy of Algoma United Methodist Church

Potawatomi tower close to possible national designation

Supporters of the Potawatomi State Park Tower should know within a few weeks if the U.S. Department of Interior will name the structure to the National Register.  The state’s preservation review board voted unanimously last week to designate the tower as a historic place.  Jason Flatt, a historical preservation specialist and consultant from Marinette, who writes national register nominations for historic buildings, was commissioned by the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society to do the legwork in getting the Potawatomi State Park Tower designated to the state register of historic places.  He says the tower met two of the four criteria needed to be considered for historic preservation.



Flatt notes that Potawatomi State Park Tower was the first purpose-built recreation observation tower erected in a state park or forest (Eagle Tower in Fish Creek was initially designed as a fire lookout tower). The Sturgeon Bay Historical Society has fought to restore the tower, while the Wisconsin DNR had deemed the tower unsafe to climb and proposed razing the structure.  Flatt adds that state law is clear that the DNR is now required to work with the State Historic Preservation Office in determining the future of the tower.  


(submitted photo)

Area reports nearly 50 new positive cases, 62 recoveries

For the second day in-a-row Door County saw recoveries outnumber positive cases of COVID-19.  On Wednesday, Door County Public Health reported 12 new coronavirus cases with 39 recoveries noted.  The positivity rate remained low at ten percent and active cases dropped to 622.  One additional hospitalization was noted in Door County.


Kewaunee County Public Health disclosed 37 more COVID-19 cases on Wednesday with 23 new recoveries.  The positivity rate was just over 50 percent of the tests reported.  The active cases in Kewaunee County increased eight to 144 with hospitalizations dropping from six to four.   


The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported 63 more deaths on Friday with 248 additional hospitalizations.  The positivity rate in the state remained relatively high at 31.7 percent as 5,464 more positive cases of COVID-19 were confirmed.  



Lienau resigns from Sister Bay Village Board

Village of Sister Bay Board President Dave Lienau has submitted his resignation after serving in that role since 2013. Lienau issued his resignation effective Tuesday after being offered the position of manager of the Sister Bay Marina. The Sister Bay Village Board will meet on December 1st to decide if it will accept Lienau’s resignation and how it will move forward. Village administrator Beau Bernhoft says a board member can fill in on a pro tem basis until the spring election or leave the post vacant.

Lienau, who served on the Sister Bay Village Board for 13 years in total, was going to be up for election in April. His decision to resign does not affect his role on the Door County Board where he serves as the body’s chairperson.


Picture courtesy of Door County

Stephens applauds work of nurses and doctors

Door County Medical Center President and CEO Brian Stephens knows his team of nurses and doctors are tired, but he is proud of how they have persevered. Approximately 85 percent of the positive tests in Door County have come since the beginning of September. The Door County Public Health Department has reported 57 positive tests this week as of Wednesday morning. Stephens says many of the doctors and nurses have worked for weeks straight, without a lot of time off, due to the demand at the hospital and staff members that have been forced to quarantine. He says they are doing what they can to help their team’s mental and emotional health during this stretch.

He adds that the team has been able to do amazing things by working together, as it relates to how many patients they can care for and types of conditions they are seeing.

Baileys ram in full sheep experience

The pandemic has certainly not slowed down Casco Comets 4-H members Wyatt and Savannah Bailey. There are no off days when it comes to caring for their sheep at Bailey’s Little Pastures After all of their other shows were canceled this year, the pair recently had their fitted early ram earn Reserve Champion status at the North American International Livestock Expo in Louisville, Ky. Wyatt says the work before their “show-cations” starts right now as they prepare for the first lambs to be born in the coming months.

Savannah thinks more people should look into exhibiting sheep, though there are some things you should keep in mind.

The Baileys raise their sheep from lamb to lamb chop. Savannah says the money they earn at animal sales or through other avenues go towards raising their sheep and their future college education. You can listen to our full conversation on our podcasts page.


Picture courtesy of United Junior Suffolk Sheep Association - UJSSA

Voters group returns to court

A conservative voting rights group with Kewaunee County ties hopes it can get a date with the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The Wisconsin Voter Alliance is calling for the high court to prevent the certification of the fall election and let the Wisconsin Legislature decide who gets the state’s ten Electoral College votes. They say it is necessary because clerks in some counties allegedly accepted absentee ballots without the proper signatures, did not have an accompanying application, or identified as indefinitely confined when they may have not been. Wisconsin Voter Alliance President and Kewaunee County Republican Party Chairperson Ron Heuer says thousands of ballots could be considered fraudulent. With a team of over 150 people, Heuer says they have proof that approximately 6,900 voters casting a ballot may have done so as non-residents and 96,000 were found to be not indefinitely confined as they indicated on their ballot. Heuer says the viability and the integrity of the election system is something that should be a concern of every voter.

Heuer says if things were reversed, Democratic-leaning groups might be leading the charge but their work would still be relevant.

Heuer hopes their work will also help keep private money out of government-run elections, referring to the group’s earlier lawsuit against municipalities like Green Bay and Madison for accepting grant funding from the Mark Zuckerberg-backed Center for Technology and Civic Life. That lawsuit was thrown out in October.  You can listen to our full interview with Heuer on our podcast page.


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Conservation grants mean more greenspace in Door County

Two communities in Door County are working on obtaining a grant through the Department of Natural Resources to aid in land purchases.  The Village of Sister Bay is looking to acquire a piece of property that has about 600 feet of shoreline on Pebble Beach with help of an Urban Green Space grant.  The grant is part of the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program that would assist the village in purchasing the 16.8 acres of land along the bay of Green Bay.  Village Administrator Beau Bernhoft says the plan is to provide public access and to allow for low-impact recreational use.  He says efforts are being made to get people involved in the project that is connected with the Door County Land Trust.



The parcel of land being considered for the grant is over 90 percent forested with a unique beachfront.  Bernhoft says the Village of Sister Bay is fortunate to be able to purchase the Pebble Beach property and work with the Door County Land Trust in order to secure conservation and ensure the beauty of the natural landscape.  The Village of Egg Harbor also requested for an Urban Green Space grant to assist in the purchase of 1.2 acres of wooded waterfront property with 171 feet of shoreline along the bay of Green Bay.  


(photo of Pebble Beach)


Door and Kewaunee counties see more deer hunters

The 2020 firearms deer season is drawing more hunters to forests and fields around Door and Kewaunee counties.  Preliminary totals show nearly 1063 deer were taken in Door County while 1020 were harvest in Kewaunee County during the weekend opener.  The Department of Natural Resources, however, says nearly 560,000 hunters purchased firearms deer tags statewide this season, which marks an increase from 2019.  Wildlife Biologist Joshua Martinez says that was evident at first glance around public hunting lands.

A total of 95,257 deer were harvested statewide during the opening weekend of the 2020 nine-day gun deer hunt. That compares to 93,155 in 2019.


Death toll climbs to 19 in Kewaunee County

Kewaunee County reported their 19th coronavirus death on Tuesday as the area saw a slight slowing of positive tests of COVID-19.

Kewaunee County did see a higher positivity rate of over fifty percent as 26 new cases were reported.  Active cases decreased to 139 with 28 new recoveries noted.  There was one more hospitalization on Tuesday in Kewaunee County bringing the current total to six.

Door County added 10 more coronavirus cases but the positivity rate was under ten percent.  Recoveries went up 72 to lower the active cases to 664.  No new hospitalizations were disclosed.


A single-day record of 104 deaths from COVID-19 was reported by the state’s Department of Health Services.  This comes after no deaths on Sunday and six on Monday.  Statewide positive tests for the coronavirus were over 6,200 with a positivity rate of 37.6 percent.  



Rotary Interact raises $2,450 for Thanksgiving meals

Forty-nine local families will have a happier Thanksgiving this year thanks to generosity of the Sturgeon Bay community. The Rotary Interact Club at Sturgeon Bay High School raised $2450 through an online fundraiser over the last few weeks. On Monday, the club bought the gift certificates from Tadych’s EconoFoods in Sturgeon Bay to be distributed by Feed my People, Clothe My People in Sturgeon Bay.  Sturgeon Bay High School Junior Maggie Stephens says the community support for the no-contact fundraiser meant a lot to them.

Tadych’s Econofoods manager Jon Calhoun says whenever Door County has a chance to help out, they deliver.

The Rotary Interact Club will keep their focus on feeding area families in need with their upcoming project benefiting local food pantries.

Doctors, health professionals discouraging holiday gatherings

“Don’t let Thanksgiving become the Last Supper” was the message Door County Medical Center Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jim Heise shared last week and is being echoed across the country ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday. On Monday, Door County Medical Center President/CEO Brian Stephens, Door County Board Chairperson Dave Lienau, and Sturgeon Bay Mayor David Ward released a joint effort to follow the public health advisory issued by Door County Health Officer Sue Powers last week. The statement asks residents and visitors to take the proper mitigation steps while acknowledging the difficult decision to avoid holiday gatherings. The request comes after the Mott’s Children’s Hospital of the University of Michigan found that one in three U.S. parents feel that gathering with family during the pandemic is worth the risk of spreading COVID-19. Heise said during the panel that other options should be explored.

Heise and the other physicians are anticipating a spike in positive COVID-19 a few weeks after Thanksgiving. Acknowledging that families will likely get together, the doctors encouraged people to get creative by masking for at least part of the time, opening a window, inviting a smaller group of people, or eating in the garage.




Assisted living, nursing homes battling COVID

Assisted living and skilled nursing centers in Door and Kewaunee counties have not been spared from the impact of COVID-19 in recent weeks. Late last month, Door County Medical Center announced a number of its residents and staff members were infected with the coronavirus. President and CEO Brian Stephens told last week that they have turned a corner since then, but there are still some active cases within the facility. They have not been alone in those regards as a number of other skilled-nursing and assisted-living centers in Door and Kewaunee Counties were handling their own outbreaks. Earlier this month, Kewaunee County Public Health Director Cindy Kinnard told the Kewaunee County Board that a number of new positive cases and deaths in the area had come from such facilities. Kinnard says assisted living and nursing homes need to follow the guidelines that are in place not just to keep their residents and staff safe but also to be able to admit new patients.

Governor Tony Evers announced last week $131 million in funding to help close the gap in staffing issues, long-term care direct payment program supplements, and post-acute care admission incentives. On a positive note, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recognized close to 1,100 nursing homes, including Algoma Medical Center, for having at least 50 percent of its staff complete COVID-19 training.

Sturgeon Bay offers one more leaf collection

Sturgeon Bay residents are getting one more chance to rake their yards and get leaves to the curb for collection.  The lack of early snow and a stretch of unseasonably warm weather is making it possible for public works crews to make one more collection for the season.  Municipal Services Director Mike Barker says his department has been gearing up for winter but he's never seen such autumn conditions in his time with the department.

Leaf collection is currently underway on the west side in zones 4 and 5. Leaf collection will end with the first snowfall.



Holiday travel patterns hard to gauge

Travel on the local roadways for the Thanksgiving Day weekend will probably be considerably lighter than the typical holiday.  According to AAA Travel, effects of the coronavirus pandemic will impact decisions made by American’s deciding on travel starting on Wednesday.  A forecast from mid-October projected a ten percent decrease and is now expected even lower due to renewed restrictions set down by the CDC.  Lt. Bob Lauder from the Door County Sheriff’s Office says his department does not know what to expect when it comes to peak travel times this week.



Lt. Lauder reminds drivers to always have your vehicle’s headlights on and be aware of deer activity near dusk.   He notes that traveling during daylight hours allows for safer and better driving conditions.  The Door County Sheriff’s patrols will be planning a heavy presence on the area highways to monitor and assist travelers all week.   


(photo courtesy of Door County Sheriff's Office)

Door and Kewaunee counties both add one COVID-19 death

The area saw two more COVID-19 deaths since Friday as both Door and Kewaunee County reported a fatality.  The number of total deaths now stands at 18 in Kewaunee County and 11 in Door County.

The total number of positive tests now exceeds 1,600 for Kewaunee County with 42 new cases reported.  Active cases increased slightly to 139 with 39 new recoveries noted.  Hospitalizations did remain at five and total recoveries now stand at 1,444.  

Door County added 47 more coronavirus cases to bring its total to 1,537.  Recoveries went up 56 to lower the active cases to 716.  No new hospitalizations were disclosed and bed capacities continue to be a concern statewide.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported six new deaths on Monday with 107 additional hospitalizations.  The state did not have any COVID-19 deaths on Sunday which marked the first time since October 17 that Wisconsin did not have a coronavirus death in a single day.




Snowplows on standby

Door County will likely miss out on much of the snow slated to fall this week, but crews are ready just in case Mother Nature changes her mind. The National Weather Service is reporting a winter weather system moving into the state on Tuesday, dropping between three and five inches in areas like Stevens Point and Wausau, but an inch or less on northeast Wisconsin. Door County Highway Commissioner John Kolodziej is expecting more rain than anything else, but he says the salt sheds are full and the plows are on.

Kolodziej says they have already fulfilled many of their early fill orders and have made enough of its salt and sand mixture for the area’s rural roadways. He hopes crews will be able to install snow fencing along some of the area’s highways in the coming weeks.

West Bend man dies in hunting-related accident

A 65-year old West Bend man died in a hunting-related shooting accident Sunday evening on Washington Island.


The Washington Island Police Department received word about the incident after 5 p.m. on the island’s northern end. The preliminary investigation conducted by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources indicates that Steven E. Hoogester was exiting his ground blind when he accidentally shot himself and died.


The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is continuing to investigate the incident along with the Brown County Medical Examiner’s Office. Washington Island Fire Department and the Washington Island Rescue Squad also responded.



On 11/22/2020 at 5:09 PM the Washington Island Police Department received a report from the Door County Communications Center of a hunter that had been shot on the North end of Washington Island, WI. Personnel and equipment from the Washington Island Police Department, Washington Island Fire Department, Washington Island Rescue Squad and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources responded to the scene.


The preliminary investigation conducted by Wisconsin DNR indicated that the hunter appeared to be exiting a ground blind and accidently shot himself. The 65 year old man was pronounced deceased at the scene.


The hunter was identified as Steven E. Hoogester of West Bend, WI.


The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources continues to investigate the incident along with the Brown County Medical Examiner’s Office. This incident remains open pending the autopsy report.

Luxemburg-Casco Primary in virtual learning into next week

A lack of staffing coverage is the cause of Luxemburg-Casco Primary School going into virtual learning until after the Thanksgiving holiday. The decision came down late last week after it was determined a number of staff members had come in close contact with a student who tested positive for COVID-19. Many of those staff members are in critical positions at the school, which forced the district’s COVID-19 team to make a decision to go into virtual learning. Earlier in the month, the district discussed following the lead of other Green Bay area school districts, like Ashwaubenon and Pulaski, to go into virtual learning mode until after Christmas break. The districts made the move to preemptively slow the spread of the virus after families travel to celebrate the holidays. After looking at the data over the last several weeks, Superintendent Glenn Schlender said they recommended to the school board last Wednesday to stay open.

A similar situation happened to the district’s high school and intermediate school in October when those building’s students went into virtual learning due to a lack of staff. Schlender says the district weathered another surge after that happened, but they did not lose any in-person instruction.

Feed My People anticipating greater needs this season

Local food pantries are preparing for the increased demand for food and supplies as the holidays approach.  Estella Huff, the Executive Director of Feed and Clothe My People of Door County says the best donation that people can drop off are non-perishable items.



Huff adds that donated soups and canned meats are also very handy and always appreciated.  She notes that Clothe My People will accept just about any items except appliances because of disposal issues.  Pantry hours are Monday and Thursdays from 2 pm until 6 pm and Tuesday and Fridays from 10 am until 2 pm. 


(photo courtesy of Feed and Clothe My People of Door County) 

Crossroads thrives during pandemic and deer hunt

The COVID-19 pandemic forced The Crossroads at Big Creek in Sturgeon Bay to close its buildings and cancel some education programs.  However, that also created an opportunity to draw visitors to the preserve's trails in a safer and reassuring matter.  Crossroads staff members used the reduction in facilities operations to create a new trails map, with help from a local commercial artist, to make them easier to follow.  Program Director and Naturalist Coggin Heeringa says the new trail maps also put visitors' minds at ease.

Heeringa says improving the trails during the pandemic provides some physical and health benefits.  She also expects more people to show up who want to be in natural settings in a safe manner.

Crossroads at Big Creek staff members also used the building closures and program reduction to help remove invasive plant species and reintroduce native plants.

Mental health professionals ready to aid police emergencies

Police officers in Door and Kewaunee counties have resources at the ready when they encounter people with mental health issues.  Officers are trained to quickly assess situations and determine whether mental health care professionals need to be consulted.  The  Kewaunee Police Department has daytime access to staff with the Kewaunee County Department of Human Services' Behavioral Health Unit.  After hours,  Police Chief Jim Kleiman says officers can refer cases to private counselors.



Sturgeon Bay Police officers have around the clock access to staff with the Door County Health and Human Services Department's Behavioral Health Unit.  Chief  Clint Henry also says officers are trained to take immediate action when necessary to protect public safety and of those individuals in need of help.



Police officers also receive regular proficiency training in handling calls where mental health assistance is needed.

League of Women Voters of Door County offering online forum on new study

An important study conducted the past three years by the League of Women Voters of Door County will be the topic for an online forum next month.  The public is invited to learn more about how the Door County community addresses mental health issues and substance abuse, as well as how citizens dealing with these problems can cope and function in the area.   Susan Kohout,  a member of the study committee, says hopes are to support and improve the systems in place so that outcomes for people that are dealing with mental health and substance use can get the help they need.



The study was published in early September and is available on the League of Women Voters of Door County website.  The online forum will be at 5 pm on Wednesday, December 2.  You can find contact information to sign up for an invitation to the virtual meeting below.



Interested citizens can sign up to get an invitation to the Dec. 2 virtual meeting by writing to and putting “Study Committee” in the subject line.


You can listen to a podcast with Susan Kohout here


Potawatomi State Park Tower added to state historic registry

After flirting with demolition for three years, the Potawatomi State Park Tower has been designated to the state register of historic places.


The state's historical preservation unanimously approved adding it to the list during its meeting on November 20th. It was the only site in northeast Wisconsin nominated for inclusion at the meeting which also included eight other sites in seven different counties. The DNR had pegged the tower built close to 90 years ago for demolition after it was found to be unsafe to climb in 2017. The Sturgeon Bay Historical Society has fought for the tower to stay open and gained the support of local bodies of government and state legislators.


Potawatomi State Park's Tower could still earn even more historic recognition once its application is sent to the United States Department of the Interior to see if the site will be named to the National Register.   


Southern Door looking to start "Farm to School" program

A national program designed to connect the agricultural community with schools is being initiated at Southern Door schools.  Local foods are purchased, promoted and served in the cafeteria or as a snack. Sara Gray, Farm to School coordinator at Southern Door School District says hopes are to incorporate more agricultural curriculum into all grade levels and eventually bring more fresh produce into the school lunch program.  She says bringing more awareness of agriculture to the students is the emphasis right now.



Southern Door schools received a planning grant this year from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and hopes to obtain an implementation grant by 2022.  The Farm to School program can also include hands-on gardening, along with student participation in education activities related to agriculture, food, health or nutrition.  Gray adds that a survey for the community will be available on the school’s website by the end of next week.   

Patience needed for COVID vaccine

Door County Public Health Director Sue Powers the decision of who gets vaccinated for COVID-19 will not be up to her department. NBC News is reporting the first round of COVID-19 vaccines could be available by December 1st thanks to the high success rate of Moderna and Pfizer in their early trials. The first vaccines will likely go to doctors and nurses first before going to the elderly and people with health problems. Powers says there will be some paperwork pharmacies, health departments, and hospitals have to fill out first before they can administer the vaccines.

Powers says they are given the parameters from the state and the Centers for Disease Control on who can get vaccinated who may have to wait. Until your name gets called, Powers recommends wearing a mask, avoid large gatherings, and keep your social distance.

Salvation Army voucher writers expect busy year

The work of bell ringers over the next six weeks will go a long way in determining how much help the Salvation Army can give over the following 12 months. Voucher writers like Matt Joski meet with families and individuals throughout the year to discuss the struggles they are facing and the help they need. Last year, bell ringers raised over $20,000 for their efforts. With the impact the pandemic has had on local communities, Joski is already expecting an increase in the number of families in need of assistance.

The national Salvation Army organization is expecting to need resources to serve up to 155% more people this year with Christmas assistance due to the impact of COVID-19. Salvation Army chapters in Door and Kewaunee counties are looking for volunteers to take on this year’s bell ringing task this year.



Superintendent thinks districts are handling COVID-19 well

Sevastopol School District Superintendent Kyle Luedtke says local control has worked well as they and others navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. The Wisconsin Education Association Council, the state’s largest teacher’s union, wants the state and not the local health department to decide when schools close. They cite inconsistencies within communities and changing metrics as some of the reasons for their call for change. Luedtke says if the state were to take over the decision making that they would follow suit just like they did in March when Governor Tony Evers closed schools in March. Until then, he feels they have been managing it appropriately.

With one addition on Friday, the total number of positive cases at Sevastopol stands at three. Positive cases at other school districts in Door and Kewaunee Counties according to their dashboards on Friday stands at eight for Sturgeon Bay, one at Gibraltar, six at Southern Door, and seven at Luxemburg-Casco. Over 330 students and staff members are quarantined at the five school districts due to being close contacts. Washington Island, Algoma, and Kewaunee do not post their numbers online.

Egg Harbor plans for Kress Pavillion referendum

The Village of Egg Harbor plans to place a spring referendum question on the ballot regarding the upkeep of its Kress Pavilion. The language and the final dollar amount have not been set yet, but Egg Harbor Village President Joe Heller estimates approximately $100,000-125,000 over a ten-year period is needed to maintain the building's operations. No reserve fund was established for the Kress Pavillion’s future maintenance needs with all dollars raised going towards the building’s construction two years ago. Heller says discussions about how they were going to pay for the Kress Pavilion’s maintenance started about a year ago, but the pandemic sped up the conversation.

The language for a possible referendum for the Kress Pavilion has to be set by January before it can appear on the spring election ballot. Heller believes the Kress Pavilion has been a wonderful addition to the village despite not having all the revenue in place to pay for the operations.


Picture from Kress Pavilion

Virtual deer registrations expected to go smoothly

Hunters taking to the woods and forests for the 2020 Firearms Deer Season are expected to have an easy time registering their animals virtually.  Registrations are done almost exclusively online and via smartphones, though some businesses do offer computer terminals for checking in.  Virtual registering has been in place for the past several years.  Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Biologist Josh Martinez says that's helped work out most potential glitches. 

DNR staff are available to hunters daily until 10:00 PM.

Continuous improvement key for Kinnard

For Lee Kinnard, doing the right thing for the land is an evolving task. Many of the conservation strategies employed by Kinnard Farms in Casco were in place long before Kinnard, Don Niles, and the late John Pagel said in a newspaper article that agriculture had to do more to protect the area’s groundwater. It was Kinnard’s dad that started planting cover crops and deciding against tilling some fields over 30 years ago. Kinnard credits his dad’s relationship with agronomists from Illinois for putting the Casco dairy farm on the progressive track.

Now as a member of Peninsula Pride Farms and the Door/Kewaunee Demonstration Farm Network, Kinnard has been trying other practices to maintain good soil health and protect groundwater supplies. Two years ago he buried a 50-foot bark bed to help absorb excess nitrogen and recently started to plant cover crops into dying alfalfa fields. Kinnard is happy to see that other farmers are buying into the concepts being discussed.

He adds it has been important for farmers to have access to agronomists, scientists, and officials from the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection to help make good, sound decisions for their land.


Picture courtesy of Kinnard Farms

United Way surveys to assess child care needs

Door County residents can have a voice in the future of child care through a pair of online surveys.  That follows the release of the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families Birth-to-Five Strategic Plan for child care.  The United Way of Door County has convened a series of town hall meetings to assess child care needs and concerns.  Community Impact Coordinator Christina Studebaker says one online survey will allow families and working parents to share information on their current child care options and what improvements could be made.



The second online survey would allow all community members to share their views on child care and its impact on Door County's economy.



The survey for parents and working families can be accessed by logging on to .    

The community wide survey can be accessed at .


(photo courtesy of United Way of Door County)

Area sees 48 new COVID-19 cases, 58 recoveries

The area received a modicum of good news on Friday after a week that saw statewide record numbers of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths.  Reporting 31 new recoveries, two less hospitalizations, and no additional deaths, Kewaunee County saw active cases go down to 147 despite 21 more positive tests for coronavirus on Friday.  Door County did report that recoveries outnumbered positive tests for the virus with 26 new cases and 27 recoveries.  Active cases for Door County went up slightly to 724 with one new hospitalization noted.  Door County announced a public health advisory and Governor Evers issued a new Public Health Emergency on Friday to deal with the growing concerns over hospital capacities and the increasing number of COVID-19 cases.  The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported 78 deaths and 190 more hospitalizations statewide.      



Gov. Evers issues new Public Health Emergency

Due to overwhelmed hospitals in the state, Governor Tony Evers has announced a new Public Health Emergency.  In a news release Friday afternoon, Gov. Evers says the new executive order is in response to “Wisconsin Hospitals being overwhelmed and facing staffing shortages”.  Wisconsin hospitals are reportedly operating at or very near full capacity with healthcare providers struggling to keep up with the demand.  The mask mandate which was originally instituted in September was extended earlier this week into 2021.  You can read the Emergency Order #1 and Executive Order #95 here.  Both orders are effective immediately and will expire in 60 days.



Door County Library thrives with contactless checkouts and downloads

The Door County Library remains popular even during pandemic restrictions.  That's possible with new contactless checkouts and the increased use of download options for library cardholders.  Morgan Mann, Community Relations Librarian, says checkouts and pick up times are now being made online.  She also says library patrons have increased their use of download services.

During appointments at the libraries, visitors must remain 6 feet apart, use available hand sanitizer, and wear face coverings help to maintain safety. Book drops are open for the return of all materials, including DVDs and music CDs.

Door County issues public health advisory

Door County followed the state’s lead on Friday morning, issuing a public health advisory regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. Signed by Door County Public Health Director Sue Powers and unanimously approved by the Door County Board of Supervisors in a special meeting on Friday, the advisory highlights the area being listed at a critically high activity level and offers mitigation strategies such as staying at home when possible, social distancing and masking. The three-page document says without taking the proper precautions, Door County could suffer from “more unnecessary illness, vulnerability from an overwhelmed health care system, and insecurity from an unstable economy.”


While Door County allows the local health officer to issue a directive if guidelines are not followed, the advisory is not intended to be independently enforced. The advisory is different than the public health order that was enacted and later rescinded at the end of May. Governor Tony Evers issued a similar health advisory last week. During a media briefing earlier this week, Door County Medical Center Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jim Heise said the area has seen approximately 85 percent of its total positive cases since the beginning of September. You can see the full advisory by clicking on this link.



New COVID treatment debuts at DCMC

Door County Medical Center has another arrow in its quiver for its battle against COVID-19. Bamlanivimab, also known as “bam bam” or “bama,” was given emergency use authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration just last week and was administered to patients for the first time at Door County Medical Center on Thursday. The treatment contains an antibody that is given via an IV drip to those who were recently diagnosed with COVID-19 and have elevated risks such as advanced age, diabetes, and high body mass index. Door County Medical Center President and CEO Brian Stephens says the early results of the treatment elsewhere have been positive.

The Bamlanivimab treatment takes approximately one hour to administer plus some extra time for observation afterward. Stephens credits his environmental services team and others for creating a space in the hospital to give the treatment, which is currently taking place in an area typically used as a waiting room. You can listen to our full conversation with Stephens on our podcast page.

Gun deer hunt facing more safety concerns

Deer hunting safety this year will have more facets to it than in the past with the current health crisis.  Door County Conservation Warden Chris Kratcha advises hunters to take extra precautions during the nine-day deer hunt.  He shares some good reminders to stay safer this hunting season.



Kratcha notes that not many laws have changed regarding hunting other than the lifting of restrictions on different caliber types and firearm lengths.  He says the four rules of firearms safety should always be followed.  One, treat every firearm as if it is loaded.  Two, always point your gun muzzle in a safe direction.  Third, know your target and what is beyond.  And fourth, keep your finger away from the trigger until you are ready to shoot.  As of Nov. 16, sales for gun hunting licenses reached 591,689.  You can listen to the entire interview with Warden Kratcha on the podcast page.

Kewaunee County adds one more COVID-19 death

Kewaunee County reported another COVID-19 death on Thursday as the area continues following the state's trend of an elevated rate of positive tests.  The death toll in Kewaunee County now stands at 17.


Kewaunee County showed 16 more coronavirus cases while reporting 20 new recoveries.  Active cases went down to 147 and hospitalizations went down from 11 to seven.    


Door County reported 26 new positive cases with 19 recoveries.  The actives cases went up to 721 and hospitalizations increased by five more cases.   


Both Door and Kewaunee counties are currently classified as critically high on the state's COVID-19 activity level.    


The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported 83 more COVID-19 related deaths on Thursday as well as over 6,600 positive tests. 



New Sturgeon Bay waterfront housing project adds more units

A Sturgeon Bay west waterfront redevelopment proposal is moving forward after it was revised by Northpointe Development of Oshkosh.  The Sturgeon Bay Plan Commission this week unanimously approved the addition of 12 more units for an apartment complex that would now house 52 apartments.  Mayor David Ward, who also chairs the Plan Commission, says the revision was made because some of the county’s Economic Development Business Loan and Grant Program funds that are being closed out were not eligible for new housing.



Ward adds that the development is important because it will help pay off bonds in the TID (Tax Incremental District) and allow for other west waterfront projects in the future.  The four-story project would have market-rate apartments which will result in a higher evaluation, according to Ward.  The project, which would be built on a smaller parcel of land farther away from the Ordinary High Water Mark that prevented past private developments.  The recommendation will now go to the Sturgeon Bay Common Council for final approval. 

Livestock exhibitors embracing opportunities

Despite the pandemic, the show has gone on for young livestock exhibitors in Door and Kewaunee counties. The cancellation of events like the Door County Fair, Kewaunee County Fair, and the Wisconsin State Fair hampered the ability of local kids to show off the hard work they put into their animals over the last few years. Algoma’s Marie Prodell saw over half the shows she’s used to exhibiting in get canceled due to the pandemic. That only inspired her more for the opportunities she did have this year like last weekend’s North American International Livestock Expo in Louisville, Ky. She says showing livestock is a big part of her life and the reason why the freshman at UW-River Falls is majoring in agricultural business. Prodell knows the importance of these shows for farmers not just in Door and Kewaunee counties, but across the country.

Although her prospect steer did not bring home one of the top prizes at last weekend’s event, Savannah and Wyatt Bailey did see their fitted early ram lamb take reserve champion honors. Prodell appreciates the hard work professionals in the agriculture industry put in the extra effort to provide educational opportunities this year, ranging from in-person livestock shows to seminars and judging events online.

Changes to holiday events being embraced

Holiday events in Door and Kewaunee counties at the end of this month may look a little different, but organizers hope the spirit will still be there. Ephraim’s Christmas in the Village and Kewaunee’s Holiday Parade will still take place, although more socially distant. The tree lighting in Ellison Bay this weekend will be treated like a drive-in show. In Sturgeon Bay, its traditional Christmas by the Bay event has been replaced with the Sturgeon Bay Unwrapping Car Parade, which will feature vehicles crisscrossing the community to the tunes of 102.1 MORE FM and local businesses unwrapping their front windows this Friday night. Carly Sarkis from Destination Sturgeon Bay says the excitement for the holiday-themed events has been great despite the modifications.

Crossed off the schedule for this year are Egg Harbor’s Holly Days, Baileys Harbor’s Harbor Holiday and Sister Bay’s Capture the Spirit. You can find details for the other upcoming holiday events below.


Sturgeon Bay


Ellison Bay



Hospital capacities being tested

Door County Medical Center Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jim Heise feels like the current increase of positive cases is a continuation of the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic. He echoed those sentiments during the Faces of COVID-19 media briefing organized by Advocate Aurora Health / Aurora BayCare Medical Center, Bellin Health Systems, and Prevea Health / HSHS St. Vincent and St. Mary’s Hospitals in collaboration with the health departments of Brown County, De Pere, and Oneida Nation on Wednesday. Heise says 85 percent of Door County’s positive cases have come since September 1st. A growing number of those cases are requiring hospitalizations. Currently about 45 percent of their 25 licensed beds at Door County Medical Center are filled with COVID-19 patients. While the physical layout of the building can allow them to be flexible with capacity, he adds they are meeting twice a day

Heise says the surge is making COVID-19 a public health risk and not just because of the cases themselves.

Door County Medical Center will take care of all patients going to their facility in need of treatment, but Heise points out they have had a very small number of patients get transferred to hospitals in the Fox Valley and even one to LaCrosse because facilities in Green Bay were full. He applauded the staff for doing what needed to be done to serve the community.

Feed & Clothe My People closes thrift store keeps pantry going

Feed & Clothe My People of Door County is closing its thrift store starting November 23rd until further notice because of the pandemic. The food pantry, however, will still be providing food to those in need.  Board Secretary Nancy Skadden says steps are being taken to ensure the safety of recipients and staff members through contactless distribution.



Feed & Clothe My People depends on thrift store sales and food and cash donations to keep the pantry going.  Cash donations may be sent to   Feed and Clothe My People, Post Office Box 741 Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235.

Two more COVID-19 deaths in Kewaunee County

Kewaunee County reported two more deaths from COVID-19 on Wednesday while the state set another one-day record for new cases with nearly 8,000 positive tests. 


The two deaths in Kewaunee County brings the total to 16 with 14 of those coming in the last five weeks.  Another 32 confirmed cases of the coronavirus were also reported in Kewaunee County.  Active cases jumped to 152 with only three new recoveries reported.  Current hospitalizations in Kewaunee County went up to nine.


Door County went up 24 more cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday.  Active cases stayed nearly steady at 714 with 26 new recoveries noted.  There were no new hospitalizations in Door County.  


The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported a record number of 7,989 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday.  The state also said that 52 more people died from the virus. 


Habitat brings back holiday tradition

After a one-year hiatus, Door County Habitat for Humanity is bringing back one of its most popular holiday traditions. Earlier this month, volunteers baked approximately 575 loaves of fruit cake to be sold at outlets across the county. The recipe dates back to Franciscan nun Sr. Mary Louise Shramer, who suggested fruitcake sales as a holiday-themed way to raise funds for affordable housing projects in Door County. After not baking them last year, executive director Lori Allen realized the affection for the often holiday punchline was no joke.

Funds raised from the fruitcake sales go towards projects being planned by Door County Habitat for Humanity. Allen says they should be able to wrap up their 2020 home build later this month with a dedication date being announced sometime next week. The organization has suspended its indoor home repair projects program until COVID-19 numbers come down in Door County.



Mask mandate set for extension until 2021

Wisconsin’s expiring mask mandate will be extended into 2021 according to an announcement made by Governor Tony Evers on Wednesday.


The mask mandate was set to expire on Saturday, November 21st, but during his media briefing with the Department of Health Services, Evers said the new public health emergency would push the date out into the middle of January. He will officially release the order in the coming days. The Wisconsin Supreme Court hear virtual arguments on Monday challenging the current mask mandate, but it is unknown when they will issue a decision.


On Tuesday, Evers introduced legislation he would like the state Assembly and Senate to approve to provide relief during the pandemic. Assembly Republicans laid out their goals for possible legislation later in the day on Tuesday. The state announced 7,989 new positive tests and 52 COVID-related deaths on Wednesday.


Scouts advancing despite pandemic

A pandemic is not standing in the way of Scouts USA members achieving their Eagle rank. In order to earn scouting’s highest rank, members have to complete requirements such as earning at least 21 merit badges, organize and execute a service project, and be an active member of their troop for at least six months after achieving Life Scout status. Many of those requirements have taken a hit in 2020 due to the pandemic limiting the amount of in-person activities available. Bay-Lakes Council has done its part, organizing virtual classes for merit badges required for the Eagle Scout rank as well as increasing their online programming. Voyageur District Executive Bob Pekol oversees units in Brown, Door, and Kewaunee counties and says he has been impressed with how those scouts chasing their Eagle rank have been able to be creative.

Pekol added that Life Scouts nearing their 18th birthday can apply for an extension from the council in order to still be able to earn the rank before aging out of the program. Area troops and packs have been mostly meeting virtually or in very socially distant situations this fall.

DCEC enlists help for Ahnapee River study

In search of more data related to the drawdown of the Forestville Millpond, the Door County Environmental Council has enlisted the help of researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay for some extra assistance. The drawdown plan was approved by the Door County Board of Supervisors in 2019 as a way to improve the water quality in the millpond. Opponents to the strategy say it is having a negative impact on the Ahnapee River downstream towards Algoma as it carries excess phosphorus and other contaminants down with it. The Door County Environmental Council believes not enough testing of the site and asked UWGB professors Kelly Duerling and Kevin Fermanich to undertake the efforts with help from an independent certified lab. This type of study is nothing new for Duerling, who participated in a similar study on the impact of agriculture on water quality in Nebraska. Over the next year, Duerling hopes to give more insight into the amount of phosphorus and other contaminants in the Ahnapee River Watershed.

Her student researcher, Kyle Chaudoir, is an Environmental Engineering student at UWGB and a Door County resident. She says his knowledge of the site has given her a lot of good background. The research group will test the water in the Ahnapee River watershed near the millpond once a month for the next year. They also included one test after a rain event occurred back in October. Their first quarterly report of their research will take place in January.

Sturgeon Bay passes COVID-19 compensation for part-time firefighters

The City of Sturgeon Bay took action Tuesday evening to protect part-time firefighters from lost wages in case they would contract the coronavirus working for the fire department.  The Personnel Committee recommended to the city council to approve the coordination of compensation for the firefighters for qualifying COVID-19 conditions.  Councilmember and committee chair Dan Williams explained the reason for the provision. 



Williams added that the reimbursement of lost wages would be based on the part-time firefighter’s hourly rate for a fire call and would be comparable to workman’s compensation.  The motion passed unanimously by a 6-0 vote.  In other business, the Sturgeon Bay Common Council also unanimously approved the second reading of the ordinance regarding the zoning code amendment pertaining to height and area regulations of buildings. 

Assembly and Governor Evers at odds over COVID relief

Assembly Republicans, including District 1 Rep. Joel Kitchens, discussed moving forward on fighting the coronavirus on Tuesday, but did not draft a new bill.  Kitchens says hopes are for the Republican leadership to sit down with Governor Tony Evers, who released his own proposal, to work out a deal that will eventually become law.  One of the key components of the Republican discussions centers around speeding up the testing process for COVID-19.



Kitchens says he has been a proponent of working with Governor Evers to put out a strong message to have people follow CDC guidelines.  Since the election is over, Kitchens believes the two sides can come together to get meaningful legislation done.  The governor’s COVID-19 relief bill includes allowing for immediate claims for unemployment benefits, extending prescription refills by 30 days, and the banning of evictions until the end of 2021.      

Area COVID-19 recoveries outnumber new cases, state sets record for deaths

The area saw another uptick of COVID-19 on Tuesday but more recoveries as the state set records for new hospitalizations and deaths.

Door County went up 18 more cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, after reporting 63 on Monday.  Active cases went down to 713 in Door County with 45 new recoveries and one new hospitalization.

Kewaunee County saw another 25 positive tests returned.  Active cases stayed at 125 as 25 new recoveries were noted.  Hospitalizations in Kewaunee County increased one and now stand at seven.  

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported over 7,000 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday as well as an all-time high for deaths with 92 and added 318 more hospitalizations. 




Mariners Park proposal rejected

After a year of waiting, a group of Liberty Grove residents finally got an answer for its proposed plans for Mariners Park located near Gills Rock. Last week, the Mariners Park ad hoc committee voted 3-1 to not adopt the plan for the parcel bought close to two years ago from the town. Mike Bahrke, who helped organize the proposal in the fall of 2019, was the lone voice in favor of the plan. Steve Eatough, who also helped develop the plan says it combined a lot of the aspects the community said it wanted following a survey conducted by the town. He never expected the proposal to be accepted verbatim, but hoped it would start a conversation.

Town officials have cited the impact of the pandemic and the cost of adding shoreline protection measures for delaying some of the development of the site. At its October meeting, the ad hoc committee noted some aspects of its five-year plan including the installation of benches and parking should be considered in 2021. The Liberty Grove Town Board will consider extending the life of  the Mariners Park ad hoc committee when it meets on Wednesday at 7 p.m.

ATV Park completes its restoration

The final touches of a two-year restoration project for the Riverview ATV Park in Kewaunee have been completed this week. Kewaunee County wrapped up the project with help from Heim’s Hillcrest Dairy to seed a nine-acre parcel that will serve as a pollinator buffer at the park. In addition to helping out local wildlife, the buffer is designed to prevent erosion and surface run-off that has been a commonplace the last two years thanks to above-average rains. The restoration project also included the installation of three wetland basins to help capture some of the excess water on the site. Working with the Kewaunee County Land and Water Conservation Department and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Parks Director Dave Myers is hopeful the adjustments work the way they were designed.

Myers says the Riverview ATV Park was busy this year and there are more projects on the horizon. With help from the Baylake ATV Club, the park could be seeing a new picnic shelter as well as a beginner’s area developed in the near future.



Pictures provided by Kewaunee County

Gibraltar students going back to school

Gibraltar elementary school students could be going back to school as soon as December 7th and secondary students on January 11th after the school board met in a special session on Monday. Transitioning students from remote learning to in-person classes has been a topic of discussion the last four board meetings, three of which convened in special session. The 4-3 vote will allow parents of elementary school students to let their kids go back to class if the threshold limits in the district’s census tracts of Northport, Gibraltar, and Egg Harbor/Baileys Harbor were below 97 over a two week period. Beginning on January 11th, students in the secondary and the elementary would be allowed back in the buildings regardless of where the threshold limits sit. Gibraltar Superintendent Tina Van Meer said the administration team is committed to doing what the board wants, even if it goes against her recommendation.

School board member Angela Sherman saw her motion to remove all metrics but not allow kids back in the building until after January 11th defeated 4-3. With the holidays coming up, Sherman sought more of a compromise as the county’s COVID-19 cases rise.

School board president Stephen Seyfer, who also made the motion that got approved, felt they did compromise and can now honor the commitment they made to parents.

Gibraltar Area School District will now keep a close eye on the numbers between November 19th and December 2nd to see if elementary students will be welcomed back on December 7th. Students have not been in the building since Governor Tony Evers closed down schools in March. As of Tuesday morning, the district has one active case of COVID-19 and has 10 students and staff members in quarantine.


Audio from Gibraltar Area School Board meeting, which is available to view below


Salvation Army still ringing bells locally

A local organization that is always associated with ringing bells in front of businesses during the holiday season will be back at it this week.  The Salvation Army will begin its annual Red Kettle campaign to help people in need of assistance this year.  Chair of the Door County Salvation Army Tom Mulinix says the local efforts are geared towards shelter assistance.



Mulinix says by pooling resources together, more people can be helped.  Bell ringers this year will be wearing masks and gloves while using disinfectants to sterilize the bells and red kettle containers.  Only individuals or family units will be ringing the bells this year to maintain COVID-19 protocols.  The Salvation Army’s 2020 Red Kettle campaign will begin throughout Door County this Friday.  Kewaunee County will start on November 27.  You can listen to the complete interview with Tom Mulinix on the podcast page. 


(submitted photo from 2019 with Lt. Bob Lauder and daughter Chelsea)  

Over 100 more area COVID-19 cases, Kewaunee County records 14th death

The area saw another jump in positive tests for COVID-19 over the weekend and one more death. 


Kewaunee County reported another death along with 49 positive tests for the coronavirus on Monday.  It was the fourteenth Kewaunee County COVID-19 death since the pandemic began.   The positivity rate for the test results reported on Monday was 36.8 percent.  Active cases went up 11 to 125 with 37 new recoveries.   


Door County went up another 63 cases on Monday after reporting over 200 new cases last week.  Active cases went up to 741 in Door County with 37 more recoveries noted.  The positivity rate was nearly 50 percent of the total tests recorded on Monday.


Both Door and Kewaunee counties reported one new hospitalization each.    


The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported 4,389 new COVID-19 cases on Monday with 12 additional deaths.  The positivity rate was higher at 36.4 percent.  There were just over 2,000 hospitalizations in the state as of Sunday.





Door County Toys for Kids takes the reins

A new organization will be helping the United States Marine Corps Reserve makes sure kids in need have a Merry Christmas this year. The Sturgeon Bay Jaycees have turned over their efforts for the annual Toys for Tots Drive to the newly formed Door County Toys for Kids group. By forming the new 501c3 group, Door County Toys for Kids hopes to help people donate to the cause tax-free, ensure that every dollar stays local, and make certain the program is around for years to come. Cathy Clark from Door County Toys for Kids says they are adjusting to make sure every family in need is served despite the ongoing pandemic.

Families looking to register can do so over the phone between November 16th-20th and November 30th-December 4th. Toy distribution will be held on December 12th. You can find the specific details below:


If you would rather send a monetary donation you can send that to: Door County Toys for Kids, Inc. PO Box 825 Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235 all these donations are tax free and all this money will stay right here in Door County


To sign up:

Registration will be by phone on:

November 16th-20th & November 30 – December 4th between 4:30pm-7pm

Call the volunteer contact by your Last Name:

                Last Name A-G – Contact Jaci Baermann – (920) 495-5224

                Last Name H –N – Contact Jamie Kerscher – (920) 559-0835

                Last Name O – Z – Contact Chas Hartl – (920) 495-6902


More Information is available on the Door County Toys for Kids, Inc. Facebook Page and we will continue to update any changes.


Distribution will be held on Saturday December 12th


Picture from 2019 toy distribution event

Lawsuit dropped over election

The lawsuit filed last week by three northeastern Wisconsin voters, including Michael Langenhorst of Door County, to stop the certification of the presidential voting results in three Wisconsin counties was dropped on Monday. 


According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed the lawsuit that had been filed in U.S. District Court in Green Bay last week.  They had sought to invalidate votes made in Menominee, Milwaukee, and Dane Counties, which voted heavily for President-elect Joe Biden, based on anecdotal evidence. 


The lawsuit alleged that absentee voting is fraught with widespread fraud even though no evidence was presented.  It pointed to the high percentage of absentee vote requests and that liberal counties might have bypassed state law requiring photo ID by declaring voters “indefinitely confined” due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The lawsuit also took issue with county clerks being able to take corrective actions to remedy voter errors like missing information and addresses. 


The other two other plaintiffs in the lawsuit were identified as Michael LeMay of Brown County and Stephen Fifrick of Oconto County. 


Biden was declared the winner of Wisconsin over a week ago by capturing 20,000 more votes than President Donald Trump. 

Catholic churches preparing for Christmas crowds

Area Catholic parishes are making sure all are welcome for Christmas mass this year while staying safe. In the 1960s, the Catholic Church decided vigil masses taking place for major holidays like Christmas could start no earlier than 4 p.m. local time to coincide with sundown. The Diocese of Green Bay is offering dispensation for Catholics not attending mass at this time due to COVID-19 concern. Father Dan Schuster, the pastor of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Luxemburg and Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Casco, says attending mass for many families is a Christmas tradition. He says that is why many parishes including his will actually host an extra mass earlier to make sure people can welcome the newborn king safely.

Schuster says spreading out the masses will also help other pastors in the diocese that are older in age when adding more services later at the night would not be appealing. He is encouraging his older parishioners to attend the earlier mass on Christmas Eve at 2:30 p.m. at St. Mary’s as a release valve for the families who usually attend the 4 p.m. service usually filled with families.

Jacksonport Polar Bear Club Plunge canceled

Residents and visitors of Door County can start the year on a warmer note thanks to COVID-19. The Jacksonport Polar Bear Club has called off its annual New Year’s Day plunge into Lake Michigan due to coronavirus concerns. The event has attracted hundreds of swimmers in recent years while raising thousands for local groups like the Jacksonport Fire Department and Feed My People Door County. Founder J.R. Jarosh says with New Year’s Day falling on a three day weekend this year, it was a chance for a spread the organization did not want to take.

Jarosh admits that it is likely to continue his tradition of starting the year in Lake Michigan. He is already inviting people to take part in the official 35th plunge in 2022 and make up for this year by going in twice.

Builders facing special order backlog

Area building contractors are staying busy this fall but some consumers may have to wait for their projects to be completed.   Jeff Dorner, Wisconsin Builders Association president and sales and project manager at Van’s Lumber and Custom Builders in Dyckesville, says it’s a mixed bag when it comes to ordering products for upcoming construction work.  He says supplies, with a few exceptions, are getting better.



Dorner says manufacturers are focusing on producing the most popular and high demand building materials.  He adds that the building industry as a whole is still facing challenges finding carpenters.  Other trades, like plumbers, electricians, and HVAC companies are also having a difficult time getting and keeping employees, according to Dorner.  The labor shortage is statewide and is not confined to only northeastern Wisconsin.  HomeAdvisor reported last month that 71 percent of building professionals believe the shortage of skilled tradespeople has gotten worse in the past five years. 

Miller Art Museum still open with new COVID-19 limits

The Miller Art Museum in Sturgeon Bay remains open to visitors with some new restrictions. A new visitation policy will address the rising numbers of COVID-19 cases statewide.  As of Thursday, the limited operation hours have been replaced. Executive Director Elizabeth Meissner-Gigstead says museum visitors must now schedule an appointment to get inside.



The restrictions were ordered by the Door County Board of Supervisors and will be in effect until December 31st.

Local support for expanded groundwater testing standards

A recommendation to expand groundwater well testing for 22 substances in Wisconsin is getting some support from a Kewaunee County supervisor.  The Department of Health Services is proposing standards that would add testing for 12 PFAs, also known as forever chemicals, and six types of pesticides.  Chuck Wagner, Chair, of the Kewaunee County Land and Water Conservation Committee, believes such expanded testing would give communities a better understanding of what's happening with groundwater sources.



Wagner also believes more private well owners might participate if testing is voluntary and confidential.



The expanded well testing proposals would next go to the Department of Natural Resources for consideration and public comment.

Door County YMCA weekend lunch program making a difference

The Door County YMCA is busy this fall helping families who may need assistance for the next few months providing meals.   The Share Our Strength Weekend Meals program is continuing after the successful spring and summer lunch programs.  CEO Tom Beerntsen says the program is an important community service right now.



The registration process has not changed.  Anyone interested in receiving food from the program needs to have enrolled for the upcoming weekend by 10 am Wednesday through the Door County YMCA.  Distribution is done in northern Door County at the Fish Creek location from 3 until 6 pm and at the Lansing Avenue Center in Sturgeon Bay. 

Pandemic innovations keep hospice patients and loved ones connected

Unity Hospice of Door County is using innovative approaches to keep patients and loved ones connected.  The end-of-life care organization is going virtual to allow friends, significant others, and families to show their support to patients.  That helps reduce the risks of spreading or contracting COVID 19. Some grant monies have helped Unity Hospice to use wireless technologies to aid patients and their loved ones.  Lisa McMahon,   Unity's Director of Psycho-Social Services, says Zoom is providing key emotional support while ensuring safety.



McMahon also says the virtual platforms are aided by “Reflections Journals” written by the patients themselves.



Unity Hospice is also providing earbuds for patients who want to attend religious services or other events virtually and CD players and discs to further help reduce feelings of isolation.

Marine contractors stay busy with erosion control work

Erosion control work around Door County is keeping marine contractors very busy as winter approaches.  Mike Kahr, owner of Death's Door Marine Incorporated, says he and his crew of five people are putting in long days and trying to get ahead of strong winds predicted for the area.



Kahr says water levels on Lake Michigan are down slightly from last fall.  He also says each call for service is being prioritized.



Kahr while the lake levels are lower than last fall, he says the Spring 2021 demand will be based on this winter's snowpack.

Residents taking advantage of National Guard testing

Door County residents looking to get tested for COVID-19 are keeping the Wisconsin National Guard busy. The Sturgeon Bay and Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Departments have hosted COVID-19 testing since October 19th on Mondays on an alternating site basis. Since October 19th, the Sister Bay site has collected 200 samples and Sturgeon Bay performed 430 tests. That includes 230 tests administered this past Monday in Sturgeon Bay.  As the area’s positive case count has doubled in the last month, Door County Public Health Director Sue Powers says the increased testing can help in the long run.

The Wisconsin National Guard announced on Monday it has collected over 800,000 specimens for COVID-19 testing statewide since late April. The next free public testing conducted by the Wisconsin National Guard is Monday at the Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Station from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. No appointment is required.


Picture submitted from the testing event held earlier this year.

Southern Door musical awaits curtain

Fans of the musical productions at Southern Door High School will have to wait a little longer. The school district will host its annual musical in the middle of March this year as opposed to November this year due to the pandemic. There are a lot of questions that need to be answered before the curtains are raised March 18th through 21st for “Hello My Baby”, including seating and streaming limits. Auditions are still going on as scheduled, but senior Reece Robillard says even those look a little different than they have in the past.

Robillard is not complaining however about all the changes that are needed to make the show go on. He adds the other kids hoping to join the production are just happy for the opportunity.

Church not giving up on new tradition

A pandemic will not stop Algoma's St. Paul’s Lutheran Church from turning its Thanksgiving Dinner into a tradition. Last year was the first year the church hosted the community for the free meal, serving approximately 70 people. Pastor Joel McKenney says they had visitors attend that they have never met before and had volunteers that have never been able to help out before.

The dinner will still be held this year, albeit from socially distanced tables at church or in the comfort of people’s homes thanks to curbside pick-up or delivery.  McKenney hopes they are able to fill a void for people who may not be able to see their loved ones for the holidays.

You can contact the church to pre-order your meal, which will be available on Thanksgiving Day from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Sheriff proud of Chief Deputy's rise

Lt. Jason Veeser has done just about everything else at the Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department prior to him being named Chief Deputy earlier this week. Before the Kewaunee County Board’s Executive Board approved the promotion, Veeser worked in the Sheriff’s Department’s jail, patrol, and dispatch divisions. In 2016, Veeser graduated from the Wisconsin Certified Public Manager Program and Law Enforcement Command College. Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski says he will bring a lot of knowledge to the role.

Veeser will replace David Cornelius, who is set to retire in January. Joski says Cornelius’ retirement set off a string of shuffling roles within the department, including the position of lieutenant of operations which Veeser is vacating.


Picture from a 2016 Kewaunee County Sheriff's Department Facebook post

Door County groundwater test results available December 1st

The results from UW-Oshkosh's groundwater well testing in October will be available at your fingertips on December 1st.  That's when a virtual meeting with UWO researchers will report the data from property owners who voluntarily allowed their wells to be tested.  Erin Hanson with Door County's Department of Soil and Water Conservation says initial results are promising.



Information on how to sign up for the UWO groundwater virtual forum can be found at .

New jaws of life makes first cuts

Thanks to the community’s support at their picnic earlier this summer, the Southern Door Fire Department got a chance to try out their new toy earlier this week. The Pentheon Series tool from Holmatro is what the department calls the “Cadillac” of Jaws of Life equipment. The tool is battery powered to give users more flexibility and the blades are stronger than older models in order to cut through the frame and other tougher parts of newer vehicles. Southern Door Fire Department Captain Kim Starr says it will also benefit how they are able to respond to accidents in the future.

Starr says part of the agreement of purchasing the new equipment was to get as much training as they could out of it so members can get used to it. He added that they have been able to safely get their training done while taking the proper precautions.


Pictures and videos courtesy of Southern Door Fire Department


Kewaunee County civil rights advocate applauds VP-elect Harris

People of color and minorities have taken heart with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris's historical election. That includes Vanessa Guillen of Kewaunee County, who's been active in civil rights work including Black Lives Matter.  Guillen, whose Hispanic, graduated from high school this year.  She believes President-elect Joe Biden's selection of Harris and their victory in last week's election show there are no longer limitations to success regardless of a person's background.



Guillen also believes Harris's win compliments everyone's efforts to make positive contributions to society. 



Guillen's community involvement has included taking part in youth government day during her junior year of high school.


(photo courtesy of Vanessa Guillen)

COVID-19 cases continue upswing in area

The area saw another jump in positive tests for COVID-19 as the work week ends.  Door County went up another 45 more cases on Friday showing an increase of 233 new positive tests since last weekend.   Active cases went up to 712 in Door County with eight more recoveries noted.   Kewaunee County reported another 13 positive tests for the coronavirus.  Active cases went up 15 to 114 with 28 new recoveries.  Hospitalizations in Kewaunee County remained at five while Door County did not report any new hospitalizations.  In three of the last four days, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services has reported a record-high in positive tests.  On Friday, DHS confirmed 7,777 new coronavirus cases as well as 45 more deaths.   Wisconsin now has over 300,000 COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began. 



Spaulding shares Drug Recognition Expert training experience

Door County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Tina Spaulding is eagerly awaiting her chance to put her training from the Drug Evaluation and Classification Program to use in the courtroom.  Spaulding recently received certification from the Drug Recognition Expert school training at the Milwaukee Police Training Academy.  The training helps law enforcement officers identify the category of drugs that an individual may be under the influence.  Spaulding explains what she experienced in the third week of the four week training program.



Spaulding notes that there are seven categories of drugs and officers will look for pupil size, measure pulse and blood pressure to help identify the drug.  Officers must be DRE certified in order to testify in court to help prosecutors prove that a defendant was impaired.  Spaulding started with the Door County Sheriff’s Department in back in 2004 part-time.  After leaving for positions in Outagamie and Fond du Lac counties she returned to Door County in 2011.   She started working patrol in 2018 after being promoted to sergeant in 2015.


(photo courtesy of Door County Sheriff's Department) 

New partnership addresses seniors' mental health

A first-in-the-region partnership to address seniors’ mental health will start seeing patients in Sturgeon Bay beginning November 18th. Door County Medical Center announced earlier this month it is joining forces with Senior Life Solutions to offer the intensive outpatient group therapy program to address depression, anxiety, and stress in older adults. Senior Life Solutions has developed partnerships with health care agencies in 20 other states across the country, but the closest one to Door County before the announcement was located in Richland Center, Wis. Senior Life Solutions Program Director Shannon Kanter says the pandemic has increased the need for such services in the region.

Kanter says patients can be referred to the program, where they will then undergo an individual assessment. The program’s team includes a registered nurse, a therapist, and an office/patient coordinator.

Kewaunee County prepared for holiday season

There are less than 50 days until Christmas Day and Kewaunee County is making sure they all count.  The chambers of commerce in Luxemburg, Kewaunee, and Algoma are all teaming up to present the Kewaunee County Christmas Stroll the last two weekends of the month to help promote shopping local with chances to earn prizes. The first weekend of the stroll will feature the Kewaunee  Holiday of Parade of Lights on November 20th at 6:30 p.m. Aissen Tree Farm near Luxemburg will kick off the holiday season even earlier with its open house this weekend. Owner Tammy Aissen says they are expecting a busy season.

According to the Andersonville Study of Retail Economics, for every $100 you spend at a locally-owned business, $68 stays in the community as opposed to $43 when you buy from a national chain.


Picture courtesy of Aissen Tree Farm

Door County resident part of election lawsuit

Note: This story has been updated to reflect the plaintiffs in the case being reported.


A Door County voter is allegedly part of a lawsuit filed Thursday at the U.S. District Court in Green Bay to stop the certification of last week’s presidential voting results in three Wisconsin counties. WBAY reported Thursday night that the Door County resident joined two others from Brown and Oconto counties to invalidate votes made in Menominee, Milwaukee, and Dane Counties based on anecdotal evidence. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel identified those voters as Michael Langenhorst of Door County, Michael LeMay of Brown County, and Stephen Fifrick of Oconto County. It points to the high percentage of absentee vote requests and the high number of those that are “indefinitely confined” and do not require a photo ID to vote as possible indicators of suspected fraud.  The lawsuit also takes issue with county clerks being able to take corrective actions like filling in missing absentee voter information such as a witness’ address.  

Sturgeon Bay Wayfinding project underway

A new signage system in Sturgeon Bay that was many years in the making has hit the streets.  The Sturgeon Bay Wayfinding Program is starting to appear throughout the city.  The system allows people in vehicles as well as pedestrians to easily find parking, local businesses, and popular destinations around Sturgeon Bay.  City Administrator Josh VanLieshout says the idea was first considered as far back as 2008 before the project was led in the past few years by Destination Sturgeon Bay.  The Wayfinding Program offers color-coded signs.



VanLieshout notes that the new signs are durable and placed strategically around the city on property lines and areas that do not cause any viewing obstruction.  The Wayfinding Program gives the city’s signage uniformity while benefiting the business community in the long run.  The project has been budgeted the past three years at a total cost of $600,000.


(photo submitted)

State issues "Critically High" category, local COVID-19 cases continue to spike

The state set another one-day record for positive tests as the area saw another uptick in COVID-19 cases on Thursday.


Door County went up 22 more cases, which means 188 total cases have been added since Monday.  Active cases stand at 660 in Door County with 13 recoveries noted.   Kewaunee County saw another 26 positive tests as the total topped 1,400.  Active cases went up slightly to 129 with 24 new recoveries noted.  Hospitalizations in Kewaunee County are now at 5, after 2 new hospitalizations were reported.  Door County reported five new hospitalizations.


The Wisconsin Department of Health Services created a new emergency category called “Critically High” as COVID-19 cases spiked in the state and passed the 1,000 cases per 100,000 people threshold.  The DHS reported a record number of 7,497 new coronavirus cases on Thursday with 58 additional deaths and 264 more hospitalizations.



Farmers thankful for recent warm spell

The weather has gone back to feeling like November, but last weekend’s warmer temperatures were a welcome sight for farmers in Door and Kewaunee Counties. The United States Department of Agriculture’s Wisconsin Crop Progress Report released earlier this week showed farmers 6.7 days suitable for fieldwork thanks to temperatures in the 70s and very little precipitation. It allowed for the corn harvest and soybean harvest to stay about four weeks ahead of last year. It also allowed cover crops planted an extra opportunity to emerge and stake a stronger claim to the soil. Cornette Dairy co-owner Paul Cornette says the burst of summer was important for his fields in Brown and Kewaunee counties.

Unlike some farmers in the area, Cornette plants his cover crops with a broadcast spreader similar to when people fertilize their yards. The former agronomist says it makes the conservation strategy more time and cost-efficient for him and other operators looking to add cover crops to their field’s plans. While some of the cover crops are used strictly for conservation purposes, Cornette says some of it will be used for straw and forage. Farmers may not be able to rely on Mother Nature for another boost as temperatures will struggle to hit 50 degrees over the next 10 days.


Picture taken by Peninsula Pride Farms at event held earlier this year

Apprenticeships generate community economic benefits

Apprenticeships are filling the demand for skilled workers in Door and Kewaunee counties and students looking for career options beyond high school.  That's a winning combination for students, employers, and their home communities.  Students can learn marketable job skills and earn money while completing their studies.  Erica Janisch, with the Ahnapee Regional Youth Apprenticeship program, says that pays off for area employers and communities.

Wisconsin helped pioneer apprenticeship programs in 1911.  Today, some 3,000 employers covering 200 occupations train nearly 14,000 students annually.


Picture courtesy of the Ahnapee Regional Youth Apprenticeship program








YMCA's Beernsten to retire in March

After an over 50 year relationship with the YMCA including the last six in Door County, CEO Tom Beernsten is retiring. Prior to serving as the CEO at the Door County YMCA, he served in various capacities at YMCAs in Illinois, South Dakota, Iowa, and Minnesota. He sat on many YMCA boards and committees as he ran the family’s confectionery business. He applauds the staff and the community for making his tenure at the Door County YMCA a special one.

In a statement from the Door County YMCA, Board President Mike Felhofer thanked Beernsten for building and improving the staff,  making the facilities better, and for implementing a long-range strategic plan that led to a pre-pandemic level of 9,000 members. Beernsten will retire officially in March when he hopes to spend more time with family, travel, and of course volunteer. The Door County YMCA is accepting applications for his replacement.

Organizations earn over $900,000 in state cultural grants

Sixteen cultural arts organizations in Door County got much-needed funds recently as they continue to battle against the effects of the pandemic. Over $900,000 in COVID-19 Cultural Organization Grants were award to Door County groups, ranging from under $3,000 to the maximum award of over $137,000. Northern Sky Theater was awarded approximately $126,000 to help offset the losses of having to cancel its entire summer, fall, and winter seasons. Artistic Director Jeff Herbst says the money being distributed to cultural arts organizations from federal CARES Act funding comes at an important time.

Herbst says its virtual programming has been a godsend this year as the public has craved for its content. The performing arts group will present its annual Home for the Holidays show virtually this year on December 12th with proceeds from the sale of its Zoom links, special at-home boxes, and silent auction benefiting its mission. You can find the full list of awards below.


  • Door Shakespeare Door Baileys Harbor $53,027.40
  • Namur Belgian Heritage Foundation, Inc. Door Brussels $9,667.41
  • Door County Maritime Museum & Lighthouse Preservation Society, Inc. Door Ellison Bay $137,712.39
  • Sunset Playhouse, Inc. Door Elm Grove $137,712.39
  • Francis Hardy Center for the Arts, Inc. Door
  • Ephraim $15,878.24
  • Peninsula Players Theatre Foundation, Inc. Door Fish Creek $137,712.39
  • Northern Sky Theater, Inc. Door Fish Creek $126,144.55
  • Door Kinetic Arts Inc. Door Fish Creek $4,823.69
  • Write On, Door County Door Fish Creek $3,489.63
  • Peninsula School of Art, Inc Door Fish Creek $123,685.01
  • Door Community Auditorium Door Fish Creek $73,633.64
  • Midsummer's Music, Ltd. Door Sister Bay $41,531.63 T
  • hird Avenue Playhouse, Inc Door Sturgeon Bay $25,753.59
  • Rogue Theater Door Sturgeon Bay $2,619.29
  • Miller Art Center Foundation, Inc. dba Miller Art Museum Door Sturgeon Bay $6,284.09
  • Friends of Rock Island State Park, Inc Door Washington Island $2,649.31 

Domestic violence tends to escalate around the holidays

With concerns over increased domestic abuse around the holidays, a local advocate advises people to be aware of signs of potential violence even before then.  Help of Door County Executive Director Milly Gonzales says violence tends to escalate right before and even after holidays.  She says there is a misconception that domestic violence increases on the holiday only.



Gonzales adds that violence can take many forms besides being physical.  Mental, verbal, and emotional abuse can happen as well.  She says the abuse cycle is seen regularly this time of year.  Help of Door County has seen an increased workload of late that Gonzales says can be attributed to some degree by the coronavirus pandemic.  You can listen to the entire interview with Milly Gonzales at the podcast page at


Over 60 more COVID-19 cases in area

The area is following the state trend of significantly higher numbers of positive tests for COVID-19.  Door County went up another 36 more cases, which means 166 positive cases have been reported in just the past three days.  Active cases went up to 664 in Door County with eight more recoveries noted.   Kewaunee County reported another 25 positive tests for the coronavirus.  Active cases went up 13 to 127 with 12 new recoveries.  Hospitalizations in Kewaunee County remained at three while Door County reported one more.  The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported 7,048 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday as well as 62 more deaths and 277 additional hospitalizations.  The New York Post reported Wednesday that hospitals in northwestern Wisconsin are at 100 percent capacity.   


(correction:  previous headline showed no new hospitalizations, Door County had one)






Kewaunee County 2021 budget less taxing

Kewaunee County property owners will see lower taxes in 2021.  The Board of Supervisors gave final approval to the $24-million budget Tuesday.  The new spending plan sets a millage rate of $7.06.  County Administrator Scott Feldt says that allows the county to make some key community investments while giving homeowners some relief on their tax bills.



Feldt says this year's budget marks the third year in a row that property owners have seen their tax bills decline.

Veterans look to future

American Legion of Wisconsin Door County Commander Terry McNulty hopes people continue to honor the living history around them even in the absence of traditional Veteran’s Day activities.  COVID-19 forced the traditional Veterans’ Day ceremony to go virtual this year featuring a speech by Door County Veterans Service Officer Beth Wartella and a musical performance by Ken Pollock. It has also kept many of the over 300 members of American Legion Posts located in Sister Bay, Washington Island, Sturgeon Bay, and Forestville away from meetings and other special activities. McNulty hopes the area’s younger veterans will reach out and buddy up with its older members. He says the organization does a lot of positive things in the community.

McNulty says as its membership ages, it is becoming increasingly hard to do some of the activities they are known to do such as serving as the honor guard for veterans’ funeral and special events.


From Terry McNulty, Door County Commander of The American Legion of Wisconsin


Veterans Day observance reflects history, current events

(Door County) (11/11/2020) -- Veterans Day, the annual time for remembering the end of World
War I and the brave Americans who served in the “war to end all wars,” also draws from the news
headlines of the day.

“What we now call ‘Veterans Day’ began as ‘Armistice Day.’ It is historically significant that
this day continue to be observed on the month, day and hour that the guns fell silent in World War I at 11a.m., Nov. 11, 1918.”

While the day has strong historical roots, current events continue to add meaning to the day.

“Today, thousands of Americans are serving in uniform. They sacrifice in the war on terror and
in hundreds of locations around the globe so we may remain free. They, too, are veterans,”

To mark Veterans Day in these times your local American Legion needs those that have served
to join us and Buddy up with our aging membership.

The American Legion is the nation’s largest wartime veteran’s organization. Founded early in
1919, the delegates to the first National Convention in Minneapolis broke from business sessions to parade down a main street in a heavy snowstorm at 11 a.m. Nov. 11 to mark the anniversary of the armistice.




Maplewood food pantry offers drive-thru

A food pantry at a Maplewood Church is proving you do not need a pick-up window to feed a community. Holy Name of Mary Food Pantry is hosting a special drive-thru mobile food pantry on Thursday from 10 a.m. to noon thanks to the generosity of the Fox Cares Foundation, Feeding America of Eastern Wisconsin, and the Door County Food Pantry Coalition. Interested families can just drive up and have one of the pre-packaged boxes placed right inside their vehicles.  Clarice Brey from the Holy Name of Mary Food Pantry says they have been doing this style of food distribution for several months and will continue to do so until May 2021.

Brey says they are not necessarily seeing more families utilize their food pantry, but they are seeing new and younger faces. The coordinated effort between multiple partners has helped the food pantry keep up with the demand for food and keep their equipment in check since they have to pre-package everything in advance. She says paper products are the number one item needed for families since those are not included with their partner programs.


Picture from Feeding America of Eastern Wisconsin's Facebook page, which is also hosting a similar event in West Bend.



Counties complete fall election canvass

The Board of Canvassers in Door and Kewaunee counties have completed their work to certify the results from last week’s fall election. The Board of Canvassers serves as a check and balance of the election by looking at machine tapes, poll books, and inspector statements and compares it to what was sent to the county.  Door County Clerk Jill Lau says it had no discrepancies and had an observer for only the second time during her tenure. Kewaunee County Clerk Jamie Annoye says they also had one observer and their only issues were for write-in votes. If the state’s certification of the fall election results leads to a recount, Lau told last week that a lot of work will go into it before they even touch a ballot.

The Board of Canvassers will also look at all absentee ballot envelopes to make sure all the information was filled out completely. Lau estimates it will take Door County anywhere from four to eight days to complete a recount if requested, compared to a few hours to finish a canvass.


Listen to our full podcast with Door County Clerk Jill Lau from last week by clicking here.

Door County government buildings restricted through 2020

Door County Administrator Ken Pabich announced via a release Tuesday evening new restrictions to access government buildings until the New Year.


The release states the measures are necessary to protect the health, safety, and welfare of its employees and ensure the county can continue its day to day operations. Public access to Door County government buildings and facilities will be limited to only those who have scheduled an appointment while staff will have their telework options expanded. The Aging and Disability Resource Center will remain closed while Door County Library branches will switch back to contactless pick-up only. The Door County Justice Center will remain open, however, hearings will be conducted via Zoom. The restrictions will be in place through December 31st, 2020. You can find the full list of restrictions below.


The release came ahead of Governor Tony Evers announcement of Executive Order #94, which urges, but falls short of requiring, Wisconsinites to stay at home and take the proper safety precautions.    



Starting Wednesday November 11, 2020 and continuing through Thursday December 31, 2020:


Ø  Public access to Door County buildings and facilities will be restricted.

Ø  Access to Door County departments will be limited to by-appointment-only. Visitors must follow all required health and safety measures. This includes physical distancing (keep 6 feet distance between yourself and others) and wearing face coverings (cover your mouth and nose with a mask).

Ø  Staff telework options will be expanded.


Staff will be available by phone and email.


These measures are considered reasonable and necessary: for the health, safety, protection, and welfare of persons (including Door County employees and officials); to ensure continued operations and administration of Door County government’s day-to-day and ongoing duties; and to mitigate the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. Such are also deemed consistent with Door County’s authority under law, including Ch.’s 59, 252 & 323, Wis. Stats.


Information regarding specific Door County buildings, facilities, and departments follow:


Aging and Disability Resource Center (“ADRC”)

The ADRC is closed. All small in-person group activities and access to the fitness room, public computer workstations have been canceled until further notice.

ADRC staff is available by phone (920-746-2372), email (, or video chat. Office appointments are available by appointment only.

Also, see ARDC’s Facebook page (ADRC of Door County – Door County Community Center) and/or website (  

Carryout meals, frozen meals, and hot home-delivered meals (‘Meals on Wheels’) are available by reservation. Please call (920)746-2372.


Please contact staff by phone at 920-746-7131.


Government Center

The Government Center is operating under limited access. Public access to county government offices is by appointment only. Staff are available by phone and email.


No in-person property tax payments will be accepted at the county treasurer’s office. Please visit the treasurer department page at for information regarding payment options.


Highway Shops

The Highway Shops are operating under limited access. Public access to the Highway Department offices is by appointment only. Staff are available by phone (920-746-2500).


Justice Center

The Justice Center is open. Some staff will be working remotely. The public is strongly encouraged to call ahead. Business can often occur through mail, phone, fax, and the secure drop box in the main entrance. Court hearings will be conducted via Zoom video conferencing. Branch 1 hearings for Judge Ehlers will be live-streamed at



Door County Library branches will offer contactless pickup service only starting Wednesday, November 11. Library users may go to to place holds on items or call their local library branch to have staff pick out materials for them. Branches will set up appointments for library users to come to their library to pick up the materials. The Door County Library will continue to offer virtual programming and grab and go craft bags for kids and families.


For more information, visit or



Please contact staff by phone at 920-746-9959.

Luxemburg-Casco launches Ahnapee Automotive

A new automotive program has been initiated at the Luxemburg-Casco High School.  Students are given the opportunity to earn college credits while also receiving credit towards high school graduation.  The Ahnapee Automotive program is a partnership between the school and NWTC.  Director of Learning Services for Luxemburg-Casco School District Mike Snowberry says the program is an exciting opportunity for students looking for a career as an automotive technician.



Of the twenty students participating in the initial year of the program, 17 are from Luxemburg-Casco and three are from Kewaunee High School.  The majority of the time spent in the Ahnapee Automotive program courses are in the shop rather than the classroom setting.  Snowberry adds that the new initiative is a “win-win” proposition since the school district pays for the student courses and they are enjoying the classes offered in the high school.  

Schley looking forward to county treasurer position

Ryan Schley says he is looking forward his new role as the Door County treasurer starting next year.  Elected in a close race last Tuesday against Jan Arbter Anderson, Schley will succeed Jay Zahn who is retiring after serving over 30 years as the Door County treasurer.  Schley says he has learned a lot from Zahn in the past three plus years in the Door County Treasurer’s Office as the chief deputy treasurer. 



The 29-year-old Schley grew up in the Maplewood area and graduated from Southern Door High School before attending NWTC and Lakeland University where he received a bachelor’s degree in accounting.  He will assume his new duties as the Door County treasurer on Tuesday, January 5.  You can listen to the entire interview with Door County Treasurer-elect Ryan Schley on the podcast page.   

Area reports 38 more COVID-19 cases, state sets three record highs

The area saw a slightly slower increase of COVID-19 on Tuesday as the state set records for new cases, hospitalizations and deaths.  Door County went up 24 more cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, after reporting a record one-day high of 106 on Monday.  Active cases went down to 636 in Door County with 61 recoveries noted.   Kewaunee County saw another 14 positive tests returned.  Active cases went down to 114 with 21 new recoveries.  Hospitalizations in Kewaunee County were reduced to three while Door County did not report any new hospitalizations.  The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported a record number of 7,073 new coronavirus cases on Monday as well as all-time highs for deaths with 66 and hospitalizations with 291. 



Public safety highlights Washington Island public hearing

Two different public safety projects will be discussed at a Washington Island Public Hearing on Wednesday. The first topic will discuss the county’s pending purchase of the Historic Island Dairy for its future EMS facilities. Door County Administrator Ken Pabich and Door County Emergency Medical Services Director Aaron LeClair will be discussing the proposed plans for the site. The hearing will then transition to plans for the Washington Island Fire Station. Thanks to the county’s plans for the Historic Island Dairy, the plan for a new station can be pared down to what it has been in the past. Not only would the new facilities be able to house its current equipment being housed at a maintenance shed at the airport, but it would also have the ability to house a new pumper truck and rescue boat if those vehicles are purchased in the future. Town chairperson Richard Tobey says the plans have been kicked down the road for a long time.

Wednesday’s 6 p.m. public hearing at the Trueblood Performing Arts Center will be the first of likely many on the topic of a new fire station, according to Tobey. The public meeting will also be made available online. He says the decision on investing $2 million for new facilities for the Washington Island Fire Department could come down to a referendum vote in the future.

Fall an opportunity to test wells

Fall rains and nutrient application makes this time of the year important for those looking to test their wells.  The combination of the two in addition to leaking septic tanks and other factors could lend itself to possible groundwater contamination. It is even more possible in areas like Door and Kewaunee counties where the depth to bedrock is so thin and possibly fractured in spots that contaminated water can make its way to wells in a hurry. Lemens WaterCare owner Jim Simonar says it is important to check your well water at least once a year to make sure it is safe for you and your family.

Water care professionals like Simonar can test wells at any time to look for things like bacteria, nitrates, chloride, atrazine, and other contaminants. Kewaunee County sent out test kits in October for some of its residents. Since August 2004, approximately 30 percent of wells tested through the voluntary program have been deemed unsafe due to high levels of nitrates or bacteria.

Gibraltar Schools takes step towards reopening

Students at Gibraltar Area Schools may be getting closer to attending classes in person for the first time this year. The district’s school board has held a special meeting each of the past two Mondays to nail down a plan to welcome kids back to the building. Similar to Sevastopol and Kewaunee School District’s current models, Gibraltar would phase in the number of kids that would be allowed in the building based on the area’s burden level. That number would have to be in the moderate to low range in order to allow full in-person student attendance. The board is also adjusting the data it is looking at to determine if the schools can reopen for in-person learning. Before it was basing its information on the county’s burden level as a whole with 28 new cases allowed in a two-week period as a threshold. With that number standing at over 300 as of last week and another 106 positive cases reported on Monday, Gibraltar Superintendent Tina Van Meer admits that threshold limit may not be achievable for the foreseeable future.  

Instead, the district will allow the burden level to be in the high range instead of the current moderate to low. It will also only look at the data as it pertains to three attendance areas within Gibraltar Area School District: Northport, Baileys Harbor, and Gibraltar. Van Meer says by doing that, it could bring the kids back to school quicker with some help.

Van Meer says just like before, the new numbers will be based on a two week period.  As of right now, Gibraltar Area Schools will remain in remote learning until at least November 20th.






Gardner quarry mine decision looms

The Door County Soil and Water Conservation Department will have until the end of the year to make a decision on a permit for a new quarry mine being planned for the Town of Gardner.  Franda Mine, LLC is planning on a 40-acre limestone quarry.  Door County Soil and Water Conservationist Greg Coulthurst, who is the regulatory authority for the county’s reclamation program, says a public hearing last week brought up many concerns and questions by neighboring landowners over the project.  He shares some of the issues that residents raised.



Coulthurst notes that the DNR is looking into endangered or threatened species in the area that would require more requirements for storm water coverage.  A decision must be made within 60 days of the public hearing.  Coulthurst adds that the permit can be denied, approved, or approved with conditions.  He says he needs to see conditions of financial assurance, which is coverage of the mine in case something goes wrong and it has to be reclaimed and storm water permit coverage based on the DNR findings.  The Town of Gardner will deal only with the potentiality of operational activities since it is not bound by county zoning regulations.                  

Soukup to stand trial for killing of ex-girlfriend

The Sturgeon Bay woman accused of allegedly killing her ex-girlfriend back in August was back in court on Monday and ordered to stand trial.  District Attorney Colleen Nordin says Susan Soukup is charged with first-degree intentional homicide and will stand trial after her arraignment on December 7.  Enough evidence was presented to the court to bind Soukup over to trial.



According to the criminal complaint, the 52-year-old Soukup stated that she stabbed her roommate, identified as 32-year-old Katie McConkey, in the neck after McConkey went to sleep instead of talking to her after work.  Soukup reportedly called police and admitted to the stabbing.   If convicted, Soukup could face up to life in prison.  She will enter her plea of guilty, not guilty, no contest, or not guilty due to mental disease or defect at the December 7 arraignment.  


(photo courtesy of Door County Sheriff's Department)

Three more area COVID-19 deaths

Kewaunee County reported two more COVID-19 deaths on Monday and Door County registered one more.   The death tolls are now 13 in Kewaunee County and 10 in Door County. 


Active coronavirus cases spiked with 106 new cases from over the weekend  in Door County and another 39 in Kewaunee County.  Active cases grew to 673 in Door County were only slightly up in Kewaunee County at 121.  Hospitalizations went down one in Kewaunee County to five while Door County did not report any new hospitalizations. 


The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported fewer than 5,000 new coronavirus cases on Monday but hospitalizations in the state did top 2,000 for the first time. 



School officials take COVID lessons to heart

Officials at school districts in Door and Kewaunee counties are adjusting as they go along when it comes to handling COVID-19. While Gibraltar has not had classes in person yet this year, the area’s other seven districts have been able to host most of their students in their buildings for the majority of the year. At Luxemburg-Casco School District, there were 12 active cases among students and staff and 128 additional people out of the building due to COVID-19 as of last Friday. The high school went to remote learning for two weeks in early October. Superintendent Glenn Schlender hopes they are able to smooth out the “implementation dips” over time.

Sevastopol currently has six active cases, which has placed an additional eight people into quarantine. High School principal Adam Baier says they have learned how important technology can be in times like these.

According to COVID-19 dashboards at other districts, Sturgeon Bay has approximately eight students and staff with positive cases and another 121 in quarantine. Southern Door has five active cases among its students and staff while quarantining another 129. Gibraltar stands at zero active cases, but will not have in-person instruction until at least November 20th pending a decision by its school board. Algoma School District does not have a dashboard, but in its most recent communication with parents, Superintendent Nick Cochart wrote that it has not been uncommon for approximately 25 percent of their staff to be unavailable at a given time. Kewaunee and Washington Island do not have dashboards with their COVID-19 statistics posted.

Rotary Interact goes online with Thanksgiving efforts

A canceled Bunny Breakfast is forcing the Sturgeon Bay Rotary Interact to not take any chances this Thanksgiving. The club just kicked off its fundraising efforts last week with the goal of raising approximately $2000 to cover Thanksgiving expenses for about 40 families. It is a changing of the guard for the event, which had been done by the Sturgeon Bay Noon Rotary Club for several years in the past. Sturgeon Bay senior Lauren Alger credits that canceled event for the idea to take their efforts virtually.

Fellow member and Sturgeon Bay senior Elena LeRoy says doing something like this comes at an important time.

The Sturgeon Bay Rotary Interact Club is made up primarily of Sturgeon Bay High School, but thanks to technology have been able to reach out to students from other districts. You can learn more by clicking this link. 

Car drives through garage

Two people were injured Friday night when they missed a turn driving on a rural Sturgeon Bay road, driving it through the garage of another person’s home. The crash occurred at 1735 County H-O just east of Maplewood just before 5:30 p.m.  According to Chief Deputy Pat McCarty, the driver from Luxemburg was traveling on the road when they failed to navigate the turn, driving into the home. The driver and his passenger were transported to the hospital with minor injuries. The Door County Sheriff’s Department cited the driver with the failure to wear a seat belt and failure to maintain control of their vehicle. While the accident damaged the garage, no one else was injured in the crash.

Kewaunee looks to formally accept donated property

The City of Kewaunee Common Council will meet Monday night to discuss the acceptance of some donated land adjacent to the Fire Hall Museum.   Mayor Jason Jelinek says the Fire Museum was built on a piece of land that was owned by the previous owner of The Bucket tavern in Kewaunee.  The Firefighters organization had entered into an informal agreement which was continued with the current owner of the business.  Jelinek says the purchase was important because the property would be landlocked otherwise.  He says the council has some homework to do with the title company in order to make sure everyone has access to their property.



Jelinek noted that the issue was not addressed in the past and the resolution would allow access for the current business for deliveries and provide additional parking.  The regular meeting of the City of Kewaunee Common Council will start at 6 pm at City Hall on Monday. 


(photo courtesy of City of Kewaunee)

Smoke detectors important in preventing tragedies

Local fire departments are stressing the importance of making sure your family's lives are protected in the case of a house fire.   Reportedly three out of every five home fire deaths resulted from blazes in homes with no working smoke alarms.   Dead batteries caused one-quarter of smoke alarm failures.  Sturgeon Bay Assistant Fire Chief Kalin Montevideo says it is important to make sure your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are functioning properly.



Montevideo says detectors should be placed on all levels of your home near bedrooms and places you can hear them when you are sleeping.   She adds that the Sturgeon Bay Fire Department has seen a steady increase in call volumes, in general, this year.  You can find home fire safety tips here.  



Daughter of Earth Day founder to speak at Climate Change Coalition program

Tia Nelson, the daughter of Earth Day founder Senator Gaylord Nelson, will hold a virtual presentation on November 18 during a Climate Change Coalition of Door County virtual program.  The presentation will feature a film screening of Outrider’s “When The Earth Moves”.  The free presentation is available online with registration.  Nelson is the managing director for climate at the Outrider Foundation and will discuss the environmental movement and its greatest challenge today.  The virtual event will begin at 7 pm on Wednesday, November 18.  You can find information on registering for Nelson’s program below.


Photo taken by: Kevin J. Miyazaki

Hunting safety includes checking your deer stand

With the nine-day deer hunting season only two weeks away, local DNR officials are asking hunters to use common sense and check over their stands before climbing up to hunt.  Door County Warden Chris Kratcha says besides gun safety, hunters need to make sure their tree stand is safe to climb before the season begins.



According to a 2013 hunter survey done in Wisconsin, 84 percent of hunters used tree stands, 62 percent owned a safety restraint, but only 31 percent always used them.  Over 600,000 hunters are expected to participate in the nine-day firearms hunt this year.  Hunters registered 160,569 deer last year which was down nearly 25 percent from 2018.   

4-H Christmas Store goes "do-it-yourself"

Kids participating in this year’s Door County 4-H Children’s Christmas Store will get to experience an additional lesson this holiday season. In year’s past, children were given a holiday budget to go shopping with volunteers to buy presents for their family members. Along with learning a little independence, the experience teaches them about giving, budgeting, and decision making. COVID-19 has scrapped those plans but will live on as part of the Children’s Christmas Store Box. Each box will contain seven crafts for the kids to make and the wrapping supplies to have it ready for under the tree. Door County 4-H Educator Dawn Vandevoort says it is great they are able to still teach these lessons during the holiday season even if they cannot be together.

Vandevoort says past themed activity boxes, including its current Explore 4-H series, has been successful in engaging kids in a virtual space. More details about the Children’s Christmas Store boxes are below.



Assembly Committee on Campaigns and Elections to review election

The State Assembly Speaker is instructing the committee responsible for election review to investigate how the state election was administered.  Robin Vos (R), the Assembly Speaker, issued a news release over the weekend stating that he is instructing the Committee on Campaigns and Elections chair, Rep. Ron Tusler (R), Wisconsin citizens to look into concerns over the surfacing about mail-in ballot dumps and voter fraud.  He further stated that “Wisconsin citizens deserve to know their vote counted.  There should be no question as to whether the vote was fair and legitimate, and that the impending recount finds any and all irregularities”.  The inefficiency of Milwaukee’s central counting of absentee ballots, as well as the removal of voters from the rolls who no longer live in Wisconsin, was also cited in the news release.

Not all ATVs ride equally

Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski is reminding ATV riders that just because your community allows it does not make your vehicle legal. Many municipalities in Kewaunee County passed an ordinance last year to allow ATVs on their roads given a few conditions. Some of those include a minimum age, a maximum speed, and a restriction on roads that can be used. Joski says one often ignored by riders are specific modifications owners may make to their ATV. In many cases, those modifications are not allowed under the ordinance whether it be exhaust systems or tires.

Joski says because of the handling of low-pressure tires on paved surfaces, he does not believe there will be too many ATVs on area roads for long periods of time. The town of Franklin, the cities of Algoma and Kewaunee, and the village of Luxemburg are the only municipalities in Kewaunee County without the ATV ordinance enacted.



Over the past few years I have written articles regarding first the consideration of ATV use on local roadways, then the development of a county ordinance for the purpose of enforcement, and more recently an update on the passage of such ordinances by local Towns, Cities and Villages. This week, I want to address some of the questions and concerns I have received throughout the past few weeks as more and more people are making use of local roads due to the implementation of local ordinances authorizing operation of ATVs on public roadways.

             First let’s go over what roads are involved when a community passes such an ordinance. If a Town, City or Village authorizes the use of ATVs on their roads, then all of their respective town, city or village roads are able to be traveled with these units. In addition, if a county or state road runs through that community and those sections of county or state roads are posted 35mph or less they too are authorized for use by ATVs. Once those county or state roads leave that jurisdiction, or the posted speed limits of those county or state roads elevate above 35 mph, those roads are no longer authorized. It is also important to note that for any section of road to be authorized those roads must first be posted by that local authority with signage indicating such authorization.

             Some of the most frequent questions I get are from residents who live on a state or county road and want to travel on those roads to get to a town road. This is not authorized unless those sections of roads are posted less than 35mph.

            Another question I receive is related to the age of operation. By state law you can operate an ATV at the age of 12 on private property and local trails, however in creating safety parameters within the local ordinances, the minimum age for operation on an authorized public roadway was set at 16 years of age with a valid driver’s license. Aside from the obvious concerns surrounding the operation of an ATV on a roadway shared with motor vehicles, the other concern was that of those who do not qualify for a license using these ordinances as a way to circumvent the law.

             Just as it is the case with equipment on motor vehicles, there are also requirements related to the equipment of ATVs operating on the roads. The main one of course is the requirement to wear a helmet, but also the requirement of an unmodified, functioning exhaust as we did not want to create an environment where modified units are able to disrupt the tranquility of our communities.

            I want to thank those communities who have embarked on this endeavor of allowing these units on their roads. While I will be the first to acknowledge that such co-mingling of recreational vehicles with standard motor vehicles is not my ideal public safety traffic environment, we can be proud that we created consistent and common sense criteria surrounding such use throughout Kewaunee County.

Elementary students receive mental wellness kits

Elementary students in Door County received a surprise this week in the name of mental wellness. Every student received a coloring book, crayons, kinetic sand, and some other goodies as a part of a mental wellness kit distributed with help from the United Way of Door County and Stride. Stride was established by the United Way of Door County two years ago to address student mental health with professionals in the buildings at least one day a week and other programs. Gibraltar Student Counselor Brooke Petrie has had to work with her students in grades kindergarten through sixth virtually since the district closed their buildings in March. She says it has taken some time to adjust to help the students effectively.

She says the mental wellness kits serve an important purpose.

Petrie hopes students and families reach out to their schools’ counselor when they need a little extra support.

Parishes aim to pray together safety

The pandemic has not made it easier for Catholic parishes like St. Mary’s in Luxemburg and Holy Trinity in Casco to worship together. After closing its doors for nearly three months due to the pandemic, both churches were able to open their doors to smaller capacities. Attendance had reached its peak shortly before Bishop David Ricken of the Diocese of Green Bay lifted dispensation for those not attending mass on Sunday. Soon after that Kewaunee County’s COVID-19 numbers started to spike, causing a drop in attendance and the dispensation to return just two weeks later. The church’s smaller groups like its CCD classes and Thursday morning teen bible study have been able to maintain with safe practices but unable to grow. Father Daniel Schuster says humans were not built for virtual connection.

In the weeks since, Schuster is happy to see attendance starting to slowly build up. For his parishioners that have not felt safe at in-person church gatherings, the churches have been able to offer their daily masses, funerals, weddings, and other functions on its Facebook pages.

Operation Christmas Child proceeds despite pandemic

A Sturgeon Bay church will not let the pandemic get in the way of its annual Christmas charity.  First Baptist Church is again partnering with Samaritans Purse to collect shoebox gifts for needy children around the globe.  This year, however, the Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes will be dropped off at the church on North Fifth Avenue.  They'll be collected curbside by volunteers in protective clothing to address COVID 19 concerns.  Pamela Parks,  the Drop Off Location Team Leader, says it was important to continue this tradition because the simple gift items have a huge impact on children and their communities.



The Operation Christmas Child shoebox collections will run from 4:00-6:00 PM November 16th and from  12:00 -2:00 PM  November 20th and November 21st and 22nd.

Senator focuses on bright spots in COVID-19 response

Acknowledging a spike in cases and deaths in Wisconsin over the last month, U.S. Senator Ron Johnson says there are some positives to take away from the country’s response to COVID-19. Speaking to last week, the Republican senator from Oshkosh explained his comments about how the state was able to flatten the curve when it came to the state’s death rate from COVID-19, which is currently hovering at 39 per 100,000 residents. He credits local hospitals being able to be more effective in treating it.

Johnson also applauded the efforts of the Trump Administration to fast-track vaccines through Operation Warp Speed.

Johnson tested positive for COVID-19 in early October but says he had no symptoms or negative impact from it. He would like to see the sick isolated and the vulnerable protected while others should be able to continue with their lives as safely as possible.

Biden wins presidential election

Four days after the national election, Joe Biden has been declared the winner of the presidential election.  According to numerous national media outlets, Biden was named the winner of Pennsylvania which put him over the top of the 270 electoral vote threshold.  Biden captured Wisconsin after all ballots were counted on Wednesday.  

Award helping Adopt a Soldier remobilize

A cash award will reactivate Adopt a Soldier of Door County's mission of providing care packages to area military personnel stationed away from home for the holidays.  The organization stopped sending out the gift boxes when the pandemic began and donated all items it had in stock to area charities.  Now, 100+ Women Who Care of Northern Door County have awarded Adopt a Solider $10,000, says Nancy Hutchinson. 



Hutchinson says money will also be used to provide Veteran's Day meals for all who've served.


New Gallery opening on Jefferson Street

An art gallery is opening in Sturgeon Bay on Saturday as Mona Lucy Gallery on Jefferson Street will have a soft opening this weekend and then celebrate a grand opening on November 21.  Artist Monica Ramirez is the owner of the gallery that will feature acrylic and watercolor abstract art on canvas.  She is excited to open the gallery.



Guest pottery will be displayed as well from time to time.  The gallery is attached to Ramirez’s studio at 646 Jefferson Street in Sturgeon Bay.  Guests are asked to schedule appointments for the grand opening by calling or choosing a time online.


More information on Mona Lucy Gallery









State parks expect more visitors over warmer weekend

State parks in Door County are bracing for an influx of visitors with summer-style weather expected this weekend.  The forecast calls for sunny skies and daytime temperatures in the upper 60s to low 70s.  Erin Brown Stender, the Superintendent of Potawatomi and Whitefish Dunes State Parks, says she's already seeing interest from potential visitors who want to take advantage of a rare, warm November weekend.



Those who'd like to camp at any state park this weekend need to be aware that as of November 1st campsites are only available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Kewaunee County adds one COVID-19 death, state sets another record in cases

Kewaunee County reported another COVID-19 death for the third consecutive day.  That brings the total to 11 deaths as the state of Wisconsin recorded another all-time high for coronavirus cases on Friday with 6,141.  The State reported 62 more deaths on Friday.  Kewaunee County Public Health disclosed 12 more cases of COVID-19 with active cases standing at 119 and hospitalizations staying at six.  Door County reported 43 more positive tests of COVID-19 with nine recoveries noted.  The Active cases went up 23 to 509.  A Free Drive-Thru Testing Site is available on Monday at the Sturgeon Bay Fire Station.




Deer keeping body shops busy

Deer are keeping busy this fall, which means auto body shops like Sturgeon Bay’s Sah’s Auto and Collision Center are also seeing an uptick in business. October and November is traditionally a busy time for car/deer collisions and the state is the fifth in the nation when it comes to such incidents. Over the last two weeks, there have been at least 20 calls to Door County Dispatch to report car/deer collisions. Sah’s Auto owner Randy Sahs feels it is busier than it has been in past years.

Sahs says he has also noticed an increase in crashes between vehicles as well recently but is thankful cars are being built more safely with better construction and accident avoidance technology. In 2019, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation reported there were 361 crashes involving deer in Door County and 188 in Kewaunee County. The DOT recommends motorists drive more attentively, especially during dusk and dawn when deer are more active.

Senator promotes buying American-made ships

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin hopes her latest efforts to “Buy American” can be beneficial for Wisconsin’s manufacturing and shipbuilding hubs like Sturgeon Bay. Reintroduced last month, the Made in America Shipbuilding Act aims to strengthen Buy American requirements for the federal government’s purchase of ships. It would expand current law to cover all federal agencies, all classes of ships, and component parts. Baldwin says it could have a positive impact on Wisconsin’s shipbuilding communities.

She says some but not all federal agencies have strong Buy American policies for their ships. Bay Shipbuilding will be assisting its sister companies in Green Bay and Marinette to work on a new project commissioned by the U.S. Navy earlier this year. The Democratic senator from Wisconsin originally pushed the act in 2018.

Kewaunee principal happy to be back in school

After a month of empty hallways, Kewaunee High School Principal Mike Bennett was happy to see students back in the classroom this week. The high school had been in remote learning since the middle of September when there were a number of active cases and quarantined staff and students in the school. When the numbers started to spike at the beginning of October, Kewaunee School District held off on in-person learning for another two weeks and some additional cases in the high school pushed it back another two weeks. On Monday, high school students were able to return to the building at two-thirds capacity. The student body was divided into three different cohorts and will cycle through the building on a three-week schedule. Bennett says he is confident with things progressing in a positive direction.

Bennett says a number of students opted to stay at home following the last several weeks of remote learning. He applauded the teachers, students, and staff for adjusting to make in-person learning possible. It leaves Gibraltar as the only school district to not have in-person learning currently. That could change as the Gibraltar School Board has a second special meeting scheduled for Monday to discuss how to safely reopen the school while letting some families continue to learn remotely.

Inmates and parolees take COVID precautions during community work

Door and Kewaunee county jail residents and parolees are following pandemic precautions when working in the jails or doing community service jobs.  Door County jail inmates not involved in the Huber work release program can cut an hour off of their sentences for each hour they work.  That usually involves jail cleaning, laundry, or food preparation.  Door County Jail Administrator Lt. Kyle Veeser says during those volunteer work posts jail residents follow specific safety protocols.



The Kewaunee County Jail residents have limited contact with other inmates and staff during their in-house work assignments.  Inmates who've been paroled but still need to perform community service requirements can be used on county projects.  Sheriff Matt Joski says, however, the nature of the work involved is conducive to social distancing.



Kewaunee County Jail inmates not involved in Huber programs were once allowed to volunteer for community work projects.  That program ended shortly after Sheriff Joski was elected to his first term. 


Picture courtesy of Door County Government

Clerks cautious ahead of possible recount

Municipal clerks in Door and Kewaunee counties are already bracing for a second consecutive presidential recount. Shortly after former Vice President Joe Biden was declared the winner of Wisconsin and its 10 electoral votes, the campaign for President Donald Trump announced it would be requesting a recount. The gap President Trump would have to close is about 20,000 votes, or less than 1 percent. The campaign would have to pay for the recount if the request is granted since Wisconsin does not do automatic recounts, nor is the margin of victory less than 0.25 percent.  The soonest a recount could occur would not be until December when the state certifies its results. Kewaunee County Clerk Jamie Annoye says her focus is not on the possibility of a recount, but the pandemic would complicate things if it gets that far.

Annoye says approximately 76 percent of eligible voters participated in the fall election. If the Trump campaign does file the petition, it would be the fourth election in the last 20 years to get a recount in Wisconsin. In 2016, the recount cost approximately $3.5 million and gave President Trump an additional 131 votes.


Door County Clerk Jill Lau also discusses the recount in this podcast at

Grant spreads love of music

Virtual or not, Midsummer’s Music and its ensemble group, the Griffon String Quartet, is helping students get in touch with music. The Griffon String Quartet recently received funding to help continue its work with Sturgeon Bay and Green Bay youth to introduce them to string instruments. The ensemble has had to adjust to the pandemic like others in the arts by taking their events and private lessons to the virtual space. Funded by the Fine Arts Institute and Mosaic Arts, Midsummer’s Music Executive Director Allyson Fleck says its most recent “We’re All In” grant will help with its efforts to mentor over 100 orchestra students at Washington Middle School in Green Bay. The school has made headlines for the wrong reasons in recent years, something Fleck hopes they can help change.

The Griffon String Quartet also announced last week its 2020-2021 season, which include virtual performances on November 15th and December 20th. It will also partner with Door County Reads this February. You can read more about the upcoming season below.



Four live-streamed programs, which can be accessed at, will be scheduled throughout the 2020-2021 school year, starting with a presentation at 3:00 pm (CT) on November 15. This first program of the season will include Mozart’s Divertimento K.563 and Dohnányi’s Serenade in C Major, Op. 10. The December 20 program at 3:00 pm (CT) will include various works from the Griffon’s classical repertoire plus holiday favorites. Additional offerings in December will include the distribution of holiday-themed virtual greetings and performances to partner organizations, students, donors, schools, and communities throughout northeast Wisconsin.


The Griffon will perform for the Door County Reads’ “Big Read” event in February, spotlighting music from the time of Shakespeare. Door County Reads is a winter program that encourages the community to read and discuss a book while celebrating it with theatrical and musical performances, writing workshops, lectures and other events related to the book and its culture.

Lodging takes on different feel

Many travelers coming to Door County are not doing a whole lot when they come to town, and it is not just because of the change in seasons. Data from AirBnb shows that while bookings to international or faraway locations took a nosedive at the onset of the pandemic, travelers from 50 miles away or fewer have stayed consistent at around three to four million since October 2019. Sturgeon Bay business owner Wendy Carter says her AirBnb rentals over the winter months this year are up over 2019 as she has been consistently booked. She just has not seen as many people exploring the area as much.

Carter is interested to see if that trend continues through the winter. She adds that even though other businesses like her restaurants have been quiet, she is confident that everyone will be able to pull through together.

Snack time at the Door County YMCA

School-aged children can whet their appetite at the Door County YMCA beginning this week. The Super Snack program is run with federal funds to offer nutritious food after school Monday through Thursday. Tonya Felhofer from the Door County YMCA says kids 18 and under that stop by will find quite the assortment depending on the day.

The free Super Snack program is available at the Sturgeon Bay campus from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. for any kid regardless if they are enrolled in a program at the YMCA or not. It is different than the Door County YMCA’s Share Our Strength weekend meals program, which does require registration and is available at both the Sturgeon Bay and Fish Creek campuses.


Picture from 2019 post on Door County YMCA Facebook page



Kewaunee County reaches doubles figures for COVID deaths

Kewaunee County reached a somber milestone Thursday when it reported its 10th COVID-19 related death. It was one of the 38 deaths reported by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services during their daily COVID-19 update which added another 5,922 to the number of confirmed cases. Locally, Door County added another 21 cases with nine recoveries and no new hospitalizations. Kewaunee County added another 13 cases with 27 recoveries and one new hospitalization. Active cases in the area now stand at 486 for Door County and 158 for Kewaunee County. In addition to local hospitals, the Wisconsin National Guard continues to conduct free testing on Mondays in Door County through December 7th, including November 9th at the Sturgeon Bay Fire Station.

Algoma bridge approach to close Friday

Motorists in Algoma will have to plan accordingly beginning on Friday when a section of State Highway 42 goes under construction. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation is repairing the bridge approach pavement at Three Mile Creek. The construction shuts down STH 42 between 9th and 10th roads through November 13th.  While the road is closed, traffic will be detoured via County D and State Highway 54.

Superintendent hopeful for Sunset School plans

Sturgeon Bay School District Dan Tjernagel hopes the site of the soon to be closed Sunset School will serve the community for years to come. On Tuesday, the Sturgeon Bay Common Council voted to move forward with a proposal by SC Swiderski to build a number of apartment and townhome to rent on the site. Tjernagel says he does not have to deal with a situation like what has happened with the former West Side School.

Whether the district makes money on the sale of the property does not matter to Tjernagel.

He added that once the city gets some finer points sorted it out that it will come to the school board for an upcoming meeting. The school district chose to close Sunset School at the end of the academic year as a part of a larger referendum plan approved by Sturgeon Bay voters in April.

UMC churches Zoom to faith

The United Methodist churches in Algoma and West Kewaunee have tried a little bit of everything when it comes to practicing their faith.  Churches across the country have relied on primarily digital options since the pandemic forced congregations to host smaller capacities if not close the sanctuary off completely. An August Pew Research Poll showed about a third of Americans participating in church services online or on television.  Algoma United Methodist Church and West Kewaunee United Methodist Church have settled on doing their services over Zoom on a weekly basis with about 45 members participating on a weekly basis. Dozens more without a fast enough Internet connection or unease about using the platform have been able to watch the services online. Pastor Jennifer Emert says doing her services through Zoom has allowed her to still connect with her members in a familiar way while keeping everyone safe.

Earlier this year, The churches were able to purchase tablets with cellular plans using grant dollars for some of their members who wanted to participate but could not.  Those wishing to attend have to register with the churches in order to obtain a Zoom link for the service or they can watch as it happens on Facebook and on their website. Emert says they have also done also outdoor, drive-in, and recorded services this year.


Screenshoot from Algoma United Methodist Church Facebook page

Door County Clerk: Voter participation not updated yet

Door County Clerk Jill Lau is asking voters to be patient when it comes to tracking their participation.  The slim margins of which former Vice President Joe Biden won the race by unofficially has caused many voters to check on-line to make sure their vote was counted. Instead, they are being greeted by a message saying they have a 45-day window to have their voter participation recorded. Lau says Door County has not begun entering voter participation. Her office’s focus right now is on next week’s canvass and a potential recount.

Lau says the calls and emails they are receiving about their election participation are taking away from the county and municipal offices’ ability to tackle that task and others. Over 20,200 ballots were cast in Door County, which would be about a 92 percent turnout rate for registered voters according to data from the Wisconsin Elections Commission.


Visit the Podcast page for our complete interview with Door County Clerk Jill Lau


Carhops making a comeback

As local restaurants continue to adjust to the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, one Sturgeon Bay eatery continues an old-fashioned carhop to accommodate customers.  Wanda Jeans Family Restaurant started the concept back in April when restaurants could not have indoor seating due to the Safer at Home Order.  Waitress Cheryl Simon explains how it works.



Owner Wanda Hilsabeck says customers have really taken to the idea.



Hilsabeck estimates that over 25 percent of her overall business is done through the carhop these days.  The most popular items on the carhop menu are burgers, hotdogs, fries, cheese curds, malts, and root beer floats.  Hilsabeck notes that the special menu allows for the order to be filled within five to six minutes.    She says the only missing element from the old carhop days is the roller skates worn by the waitresses because of safety concerns.  The Wanda Jeans’ Car Hop is open daily at 8 am until 1:30 pm, and Fridays until 6 pm. 







Milk prices coming back up for local farmers

Dairy farmers in the area are happy to see a bounce back in milk prices recently.  According to Hoard’s Dairyman the price of November Base Class I fluid milk was up $2.84 to $18.04 last month.  That brings the price back up to levels close to the yearly high back in July.  Rich Olson of Olson Family Farms in southern Door County says he anticipates the demand for milk to stay strong right through the holidays.



Olson adds that with increased milk consumption at home along with the return of the school lunch programs, the dairy industry has benefited greatly.  

Kewaunee drops death count to 9, area COVID-19 cases upswing

Kewaunee County adjusted its COVID-19 death count to nine as cases continued to rise in the area.  Kewaunee County Health Director Cindy Kinnard says the total was lowered because one of the two deaths reported on Monday should have been attributed to Brown County.  Kewaunee County reported 17 more positive tests of the coronavirus on Wednesday while nine recoveries brought the active cases up to 158. 


Positive tests in Door County went up 46 with no recoveries noted.  Active cases increase to 474 with two additional hospitalizations. 


The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported that the state had set another record of nearly 6,000 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday.  Hospitalizations increased 243 with 54 additional deaths in the state on Wednesday. 




Algoma Stormwater project "95%" complete

The new stormwater outfall project in Algoma is nearly complete. Public Works Director Matt Murphy says the work is about 95 percent finished with a few punch list items that need to be done.  The stormwater outflow project began after Labor Day and includes a bio-retention area east of the Algoma Youth Club.  The ponds will act as a natural filter to clean the stormwater before it enters Lake Michigan.  Murphy notes that trees, grass, and aquatic plants will be allowed to take root before the retention ponds are fully utilized.



The smaller pond with plants will take nutrients and recondition the water before it seeps back into the groundwater.  The project cost approximately $420,000 ad was covered entirely by grant money. 

Referenda approvals provide important support

With Election Day behind them, school district officials at Southern Door and Sevastopol will now watch closely to see what will happen at the state level. Voters in Sevastopol School District voted 1,928 to 1,519 to allow the district to exceed their state-imposed revenue limit by $2 million each of the next four years. Southern Door School District voters approved a similar measure by a tally of 3,073 to 2,029. Both districts are coming off recent building referendum questions as well as measures addressing their operating costs. Sevastopol School District Superintendent Kyle Luedtke says the yes vote comes at an crucial time as state leaders begin to ponder the impact the pandemic may have on its next budget.

This was the first year Southern Door School District sought a multi-year referendum. Southern Door Superintendent Patti Vickman cites a community survey for giving them the insight for what would be supported.


Seven other school districts passed referendum questions Tuesday night, several of which also addressed their operational expenses.

Kitchens grateful for community support

First District Assembly Rep. Joel Kitchens is happy for the opportunity to continue his work in Madison. The Sturgeon Bay Republican defeated his Democratic opponent Kim Delorit Jensen with 61.7 percent of the vote. While there will be some new faces in the Assembly and the state Senate, Republicans are still poised to control both houses. Kitchens hopes the Legislature and the state’s executive officers can work together better than they have in the past, especially when it comes to getting the coronavirus under control.

He is looking forward to getting back to Madison to finish up on some of the work he started before the pandemic cut the session short.

Kitchens will begin his fourth term when the Assembly reconvenes on January 4th.


This story previously had the winning percentage for Rep. Kitchens at 58.6 percent based on numbers before all of Brown County's votes were tabulated. The change is now reflected in the story.

Fair maps referendum approved in Brown and Door counties

Brown and Door counties were among the 11 that passed an advisory referendum Tuesday asking the Wisconsin Legislature to adopt a non-partisan redistricting process. In Door County, 73.6 percent approved the Fair Maps referendum question and 71.92 percent did the same in Brown County. That makes 28 counties in Wisconsin that approved similar referendum questions in the past. Non-partisan redistricting has been an issue Common Cause Wisconsin has championed in recent years, calling for the state to adopt a system similar to Iowa where a non-partisan review board submits a proposal for the legislature to approve. Executive Director Jay Heck says the measure’s support crosses partisan lines.

Heck expects more counties to add a Fair Maps referendum question to its ballots this spring, but believes Tuesday’s result will not have a bearing on 2021 redistricting efforts. Opponents to non-partisan redistricting say it would be unconstitutional and drawing district maps are the duty of the legislature. Other counties that passed the measure include Adams, Bayfield, Crawford, Dunn, Iowa, and Jefferson.

Council gets ball moving on projects

The Sturgeon Bay Common Council gave the go-ahead for several projects to take the next step forward. It approved the bid of Black Creek’s RJM Construction to renovate the city hall’s reception area to allow for greater security for employees and more coordination between departments. The bid of $156,850.00 was between $11,000 and $28,000 less than the other four bids received. The common council also unanimously approved working with SC Swiderski on a proposal to redevelop the current Sunset School site for multi-family housing and with Maritime Heights to add to its development located near Erie Street. Alderperson Dan Williams called it a best-case scenario.

The city was expected to discuss a proposal from Northpointe Development Corporation to build multi-family dwelling units on a portion of the west waterfront. Two other proposals were received for the site and also involved housing. Sturgeon Bay Common Council David Ward explained to the council why the discussion is being moved to its next meeting in two weeks.



The Sturgeon Bay Common Council also approved moving the start time from 7 p.m. to 6 p.m. to coincide with the switch from daylight savings time by a 5-2 vote.  

Kitchens, Gallagher re-elected

Rep. Joel Kitchens is heading back to Madison for his fourth term serving the First Assembly District.  The Sturgeon Bay Republican protected his seat from Democratic challenger Kim Delorit Jensen by capturing no less than 55 percent of the vote in each Brown, Door, and Kewaunee counties. His closest race was in Door County where he collected 11,109 votes compared to Jensen’s 8,783. In Kewaunee County, Kitchens claimed nearly 72 percent of the vote with 8,612 of the 12,024 votes going in his favor. Brown County still has to count one more precinct of its small portion of the First Assembly District, but Kitchens leads there as well by a 3,936-1,821 margin as of Wednesday morning. This is the fourth time Kitchens has won the First Assembly District seat, defeating Joe Majeski in 2014, Lynn Utesch in 2016, and Roberta Thelen in 2018.


That pattern held true for the U.S. Congressional seat representing northeast Wisconsin. Republican Rep. Mike Gallagher claimed victory over his Democratic opponent Amanda Stuck early Wednesday morning, winning by a 65 percent-35 percent margin of the vote with 80 percent of the vote reported.

Southern Door and Sevastopol pass school referendums

Both Southern Door and Sevastopol school districts were given the green light for exceeding the revenue limit set down by Wisconsin Statutes to address non-recurring expenses.  Southern Door’s referendum passed by a 3,073- 2,029 margin, or 60.23 percent while Sevastopol’s referendum showed 1,928  yes votes to 1,519 no votes or a 55.93 percentage.  Southern Door will now be able to exceed the revenue limit by $975,000 per year for three years for expenses on updating curriculum materials, maintaining programs and services, mental health support services, maintaining technology equipment, and using wages and benefits to retain and attract teachers and staff.  Sevastopol’s referendum will allow the school district to maintain educational programs and pay operational and maintenance expenses by exceeding the revenue limit by $2,000,000 per year for four years starting next school year. 


Schley defeats Anderson for Door County Treasurer

In a close race Tuesday evening Ryan Schley defeated Jan Arbter Anderson for the Door County treasurer.   Running under the Republican Party, Schley captured 10,003 votes or 50.89 percent of the overall tally.   Anderson, a Democrat, garnered 9,632 votes or 49 percent.   Schley is the Chief Deputy Treasurer under Treasurer Jay Zahn who decided back in April to retire at the end of this year and not run for re-election.  Tuesday’s results will not be official until the board of canvasing approves all the votes. 


One more COVID-19 death in Door County, state sets record in cases

Door County recorded its ninth COVID-19 death on Tuesday as Wisconsin set another single-day high for positive tests.  Door County added 30 new cases with active cases rising to 420.  Ten new recoveries were noted.


Kewaunee County showed 18 more coronavirus cases with 29 more recoveries lowering the active cases to 150.  There were three more hospitalizations in Door County while Kewaunee County remained at six hospitalizations.


The Wisconsin Department of Health Services disclosed 5,771 new cases of coronavirus and 52 additional deaths with 247 hospitalizations from COVID-19 on Tuesday. 


NEW!! Understanding the Reported Data



Trees preparing for Christmas destiny

You cannot cut them down for a few weeks, but the trees at Aissen Tree Farm near Luxemburg are waiting for its big moment. A 2017 United States Department of Agriculture report shows approximately 4,100 Christmas trees were harvested in Kewaunee County and 860 in Door County. Christmas tree growers like the Aissens made improvements to their land to help control the water which, like other farmers in some cases, had a negative effect impact on their crop last year. Owner Tammy Aissen said the installation of tile lines on parts of its 70-acre farm really helped the trees this year.

Aissen expects to be busy this season as families look for something fun to do outside with each other. Tree cutting begins at Aissen Tree Farm on November 21st while others in Door and Kewaunee counties will begin the weekend after Thanksgiving. According to the Wisconsin Christmas Tree Producers Association, the sale of holiday trees and wreaths contributes about $16 million to the state’s economy.


Picture taken in 2019

Poll workers kept busy

Poll workers at area voting sites did their part to make the election go smoothly. By splitting voters up by their last name, Sturgeon Bay City Clerk Stephanie Reinhardt said Tuesday morning they were able to keep the lines moving at a quick pace while a dedicated poll worker handled the cleaning. Other poll workers were specifically assigned to processing absentee ballots, which Reinhardt says represents about 57 percent of the city’s registered voters. That gave her confidence that they were on pace to get everything finished shortly after the last voter cast their ballot. 

Over 20,200 votes were cast in Door County while approximately 12,000 ballots were collected in Kewaunee County. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported on Monday that over 1.8 million absentee ballots had been cast, which represents 63 percent of the state’s total vote in the last presidential election. Absentee ballots had to be received by Tuesday in order to be counted after the U.S. Supreme Court denied an attempt at an extension last month.


Story updated at 8:00 a.m. 11/4/2020





Governor announces $10 million for non-profit grants

Non-profit groups in Door and Kewaunee counties could get a boost from a grant program introduced by Governor Tony Evers on Tuesday. The organizations would have access to $10 million in grants funded by the Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. United Way of Door County Executive Director Amy Kohnle says even a small portion of those dollars could go a long way in supporting their efforts locally.

The United Way of Door County teamed up with the Door County Community Foundation in March to form the Door County Emergency Response Fund, which as of October 29th has raised over $854,000. Those dollars have been used to fund Lakeshore CAP’s rental assistance program, the Door County Food Pantry Coalition, and the United Way’s STRIDE school-based mental health initiative. Non-profits can apply for the grant money through November 9th.

Sheriff confident in the community on Election Day

While the country’s largest cities like Chicago and Washington D.C. are on high alert for possible Election Day disturbances, Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski is not expecting any problems. Municipalities can ask to have police officers or sheriff’s deputies on-site, but Joski said as of Tuesday morning that no one had made that request. Law enforcement agencies will be on standby just in case conflicts arise at area polling places.

Some businesses in other parts of the country are boarding up their windows in the anticipation of possible violence. Joski said he is confident local residents will act respectfully no matter who wins or loses.

He applauded the efforts of poll workers in Kewaunee County for doing what was needed to move people through the voting booths in an efficient matter.

Election Day polls open from 7am until 8pm today

Residents of Door and Kewaunee counties will be heading to the polls Tuesday to cast their vote for the general election if they did not send it in by absentee ballot or early voting.  Voters in Wisconsin are required to provide a form of identification when going to the polls.  Algoma City Clerk Jamie Jackson says anyone who may be isolating or quarantining because of COVID-19 can participate with the curbside voting option at City Hall, like in other communities throughout the state.



The curbside voting option has been used in the past for many disabled people but is expected to be utilized to a greater degree this year.  Jackson reports that, as of Monday afternoon, 1,029 voted ballots were received already.  That represents 55 percent of the 1,840 registered voters in Algoma.  She estimates with a usual 75 percent turnout for a presidential election, another 500 or so voters will show up at the polls.  All polling places will be open from 7 am until 8 pm on Tuesday. will be posting results of local races and referendums on Tuesday evening after the polls close. 

Responsibility for snow removal from sidewalks

Although the area has not seen the first significant snowfall of the season, officials in Door and Kewaunee County are reminding property owners that the removal of snow from sidewalks in front of their home or business is their obligation.  Algoma Police Chief Randy Remiker says that there are two issues concerning snow removal his department faces every winter.



Property owners can be fined and/or charged for the eventual snow removal from sidewalks by the municipality.    You could also be sued for a form of negligence if someone would slip and be injured because of failure to remove snow or ice from sidewalks.  Algoma’s ordinance for “no overnight street parking” went into effect on Sunday.  


Two additional COVID-19 deaths in Kewaunee County

Area COVID-19 cases continue to grow as Kewaunee County reported two more deaths on Monday.  Kewaunee County noted 63 more coronavirus cases and showed 21 more recoveries with active cases rising to 161.  The death total now stands at ten in Kewaunee County with seven of those coming in the last few weeks. 

Door County also reported a jump in COVID-19 cases with 64 positive tests.  Active cases went up to 400 with just three new recoveries noted.    Each county added to more hospitalizations from over the weekend. 

Statewide, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services posted Monday that over 3,400 more positive tests were recorded on Monday with three additional deaths and 100 more hospitalizations.  



Hauser accepts full position as Crossroads director

Laurel Hauser has been named the permanent Executive Director of Crossroads at Big Creek Learning Center and Nature Preserve.  Named the interim director back in April, the board of directors unanimously voted to offer Hauser the full position of Executive Director on October 21.  Hauser says she is excited to lead Crossroads and has worked closely with Coggin Herringa, the former director and now naturalist and program director.  Hauser shares some of the recent happenings at Crossroads. 



Hauser notes that Crossroads plans to replace three of the five existing trail bridges in 2021.  Family programming is being developed, subject to any health restrictions in place, where stations along the trails would have animal characters offering educational information to children.  You can listen to the entire interview with Laurel Hauser on the podcast page at     


(submitted photo)

Kinnard adjusts to changing times

Nor-Kin Dairy Farms owner Sam Kinnard is not doing things the same way he did five years ago. The small Casco operation sold off his dairy herd about five years ago, opting to instead raise heifers for other operations on his 270-acre farm. He has also changed how he farms his land to be a better steward. He has implemented some no-till practices and low-disturbance manure application on some of his fields over the years and has started to get into cover cropping. He hosted farmers earlier this year to show how installing a grass waterway can help keep water in the fields with the crops and not causing soil erosion. While some small farms have gone under due to the economy and the growth of larger farms, Kinnard has been able to adjust and stay connected to agriculture. A member of Peninsula Pride Farms, he does not see himself much differently than the bigger operations in the organization.

Kinnard believes farmers have recognized their role in some of the land and water quality issues and the area and says they have placed a higher focus on environmental practices over the last four to five years.


Picture courtesy of Peninsula Pride Farms

Pandemic allowing Rotary Interact to expand

Members of the Sturgeon Bay Rotary Interact chapter are finding the positives in the middle of a pandemic. The club has been meeting remotely for much of the year thanks to COVID-19 precautions. Its membership stands at nearly a dozen, but technology has allowed them to welcome new members. This marks the first year in at least three years that boys have joined the group and the first time Sevastopol students have been able to be a part of it. Sturgeon Bay senior Elena LeRoy says it has made it easier to get kids to attend meetings.

Sturgeon Bay senior Lauren Alger says it is a great way or high school students to get involved with other local organizations.

After having their Bunny Breakfast get canceled earlier this year due to COVID-19, members of Sturgeon Bay Rotary Interact are not about to let the same thing happen to Thanksgiving. The group is fundraising to give approximately 40 families gift cards to help pay for their holiday feast, which would be about $2,000.

High winds blamed for two Liberty Grove fires

Fire departments in Door County were kept busy this weekend thanks to powerful winds that hit the area. The county experienced wind gusts between 30 and 50 miles per hour over the weekend, toppling trees and knocking down power lines. Door County Dispatch received at least 14 calls for downed trees and seven calls for wires being down. It caused at least two fires in the town of Liberty Grove, one Saturday afternoon before 2:30 p.m. near North Bay Road and another on Sunday at 11:15 a.m. by Old Stage Road. Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Chief Christ Hecht says in both cases it was tree limbs that had fallen off and leaned on a power line, causing it to burst into flames.

Hecht says both fires were quick to put out once Wisconsin Public Service was able to respond to de-energize the site.  He recommends people stay away at least 40 feet away, or the length of one utility pole, if they come across a downed wire.

Sturgeon Bay designated as Ice Age Trail Community

The City of Sturgeon Bay added another title to its name Monday after the Ice Age Trail Alliance designated it as an official Trail Community. The Ice Trail runs through 31 of the state’s 72 counties, but only 13 communities along the way have earned such a designation.  The process started approximately a year ago and was given approval by the Sturgeon Bay Common Council to submit an application to pursue the designation. Kevin Quinn was heavily involved with the Ice Age Trail long before an official committee was established, serving as a steward for it local sections. With Sturgeon Bay serving as the home for the Eastern Terminus, Quinn believes the designation will help the city attract future hikers to either start or end their journeys here.

Other Ice Age Trail Communities include Manitowoc-Two Rivers, St. Croix Falls, and Verona. Quinn hopes the city and outdoor enthusiasts will be able to celebrate the designation in the spring with an in-person event to kick off the 2021 hiking season.



Sturgeon Bay Common Council meets on budget

Sturgeon Bay’s Common Council will have a special meeting Monday at 4:00 PM to deliberate on the 2021 fiscal budget. The Committee of the Whole, which allows the mayor to cast a vote in addition to council members, has already had two workshop sessions on the issue. Administrator Josh VanLieshout says next year’s budget is designed to minimize the levy rate increase. With Sturgeon Bay Public Schools already winning approval for a referendum, VanLieshout says that city leaders realize they can only ask for so much on top of that.

Next year’s budget continues many of the themes from 2020, namely infrastructure and parks. Sturgeon Bay delayed several capital projects earlier this year until the financial effects of COVID-19 could be better understood. VanLieshout talks about the new schedule.


The Common Council meets again Tuesday night, beginning at 7:00 in Council Chambers. On the agenda are items originating from the Parking and Traffic, and Finance Committees as well as the City Plan Commission.


Door County exhausting CARES Act funding

Passed this spring, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security, or CARES, Act provided Door County with roughly $460,000 to be used towards additional spending needed to address COVID-19. As of last week, those funds had been exhausted. Administrator Ken Pabich says the county is still incurring COVID-related expenses and is tapping its reserve account to meet those needs in the short term. He says that some area municipalities are in the opposite situation.


Pabich says Door County has been meticulous about tracking additional costs caused by COVID-19. Not all county and local governments have the same capabilities. The longer they go without allocating the money they have received, the greater the chance the State of Wisconsin will claw it back and redirect it elsewhere. Pabich expects that Door County would be rewarded with some additional money as part of the reapportionment process.


Door County finalizing hiring of additional contact tracers

In recent weeks, Door County Public Health has made many adjustments in its contact tracing efforts. It is still reaching out to those who test positive for COVID-19 but not to people who may be exposed due to close contact. Instead, employers and the individuals themselves are being asked to direct those exposed to materials explaining proper quarantine procedures.

CARES Act funding for public health is separate from other resources provided to county and municipal governments in the area. Even as Door County reports a potential shortfall as expenses outpace support, the Public Health Department can tap into a separate pool to finalize new hiring.


Powers says she expects the additional contact tracers to solidify current efforts rather than add new metrics to department reporting. Public Health recently debuted a potential cases data set, which was explained last week.


Food distribution events fight to meet demand

Area nonprofits are increasing the scale of the USDA Farmers to Families events in Door County but still struggling to keep up with demand. The distributions alternate between Sister Bay and Sturgeon Bay. Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Chief Chris Hecht lays out the progression from the spring to now.


Six hundred boxes, each containing 30 pounds of food, were handed out in under an hour last month in Sturgeon Bay. Sister Bay saw 350 boxes distributed in about 90 minutes. 

The Door County Food Pantry Coalition has moved to shore up pantry supplies for the holiday season, typically the busiest time of the year. It has also donated to the Door County YMCA to extend the Share Our Strength Weekend Meals program through December 31st and granting eligibility to all adults who apply.


REAL ID not needed for November 3rd

Legal identification does not have to be REAL ID-compliant to vote on November 3rd.  A current drivers license or state-issued identification card are acceptable.  And Department of Motor Vehicles Secretary Kristina Boardman says there are online alternatives if you've applied for a state-issued ID and don't expect to have it in hand on election day.




The deadline to go to REAL ID compliance was originally scheduled for this month.  Boardman says the pandemic forced the DMW to extend it further.




Information on driver's license and ID applications is available at .

Plan Commission finalizes West Waterfront development recommendation

The Sturgeon Bay City Plan Commission officially directed the Common Council to begin negotiations with Northpointe Development to construct multifamily housing in the West Waterfront district. At last week’s meeting, the commission asked staff to pose several questions to the developer including the potential for commercial space and an overhaul of the proposal’s aesthetics. Community Development Director Marty Olejniczak said he received a mostly positive response to the board’s suggestions, especially the idea of adding units to the overall plan.


The Plan Commission once again rejected a proposal from T. Wall Enterprises. They’re idea was for a 78-unit building that would overflow the parcel allotted for the project. The city would pick up costs associated with diverting Locust Court if it exceeded $100,000. Additionally, the 18-month due diligence clause once again proved to be an insurmountable sticking point for several members of the commission.


Churches continue community Thanksgiving meals

Several Door County churches are not letting the COVID 19 pandemic thwart their Thanksgiving traditions.  They're just making some adjustments to their community meal offerings.  Sturgeon Bay United Methodist Church has been offering free Thanksgiving dinners at its Michigan Avenue location since 1979.  The church decided to continue the event on a take out basis this year.  In addition, only 10 volunteers will be involved with food preparation instead of the usual 75 people.  Meal Coordinator Leslie Youngsteadt says volunteers will have a larger, safer meal prep area.




The pandemic is also not stopping two northern Door County churches from providing community Thanksgiving meals.  First Baptist Church of Sister Bay and Bethel Baptist Church in Ellison Bay are jointly offering this year's holiday dinner.  First Baptist Church went to a take out only menu last year.  Bethel Baptist Church offered to help out this year.  Judy Paulson, with First Baptist Church, says the meal is open to everyone regardless of circumstances.




Reservations for meals from First Baptist Church and Bethel Baptist Church are needed by Friday, November 13th.  You can call (920) 854-2544, extension 10, or via Facebook at  Sturgeon Bay United Methodist Church is accepting reservations by calling the church office at (920) 743-3241 and leave a voicemail message.  Reservations will be accepted until Monday, November 23rd.

Destination Sturgeon Bay reimagines Christmas

COVID-19 won’t stop Sturgeon Bay from celebrating the holiday season, but it is forcing some popular events to be reimagined. This year’s parade will take place at night. Lighted vehicles will wind through downtown on both sides of the canal, with businesses unwrapping their holiday displays as the procession rolls through. Destination Sturgeon Bay Events and Marketing Director Carly Sarkis says that the parade starts at 6:30 on Friday, November 20th, and wraps up at City Hall. The procession’s official soundtrack will be provided by 102.1 More FM. Participants are encouraged to park at Market Square to explore the Third Avenue district on foot and watch the city Christmas tree light up for the first time.

Destination Sturgeon Bay is also reinventing how area children interact with Santa Claus. He’ll be at the parade, but there will be no sitting on his lap this year. Instead, on Saturday, November 21st, Santa will be reading A Door County Night Before Christmas on Facebook Live to kick off a letter-writing campaign. He’ll read the notes he receives during a second Stories with Santa segment in December, says Sarkis.


The full press release is below.



Christmas is coming early this year to Sturgeon Bay! Destination Sturgeon Bay has reimagined all of their annual Christmas by the Bay events, sponsored by Nicolet National Bank, into COVID-friendly activities for the entire family to enjoy. With some new, some old, and some reimagined, Destination Sturgeon Bay is determined to bring the holiday spirit to Sturgeon Bay this season.


Unwrapping Sturgeon Bay

Bring your family and friends to the Door County Cooperative on Friday, November 20 for our new event ‘Unwrapping Sturgeon Bay’, a community car parade. Community members are encouraged to join Destination Sturgeon Bay and Nicolet National Bank at the Door County Cooperative between 6:00pm and 6:30pm. Destination Sturgeon Bay staff will line cars up for the parade, led by the Sturgeon Bay Fire Department, Police Department, and Santa. Hot Chocolate will be sold and complimentary jingle bells will be given out at this time. Destination Sturgeon Bay will also be partnering with 102.1FM, to add to the ambiance of the night.


Beginning promptly at 6:30pm, Santa will lead the parade throughout Sturgeon Bay. As Santa passes participating businesses, they will unveil their window decorations for the first time. Community members riding in the parade will get to see Sturgeon Bay lit up for the first time this holiday season, including our Christmas trees at the Maritime Museum, Community Foundation Square, and Jefferson Street. This new Christmas tradition begins at the Door County Cooperative, continues right on Green Bay Road to Madison Avenue and over the Michigan Street Bridge. Parade participants will advance down Third Avenue, to Jefferson Street where they will take a right on 4th Avenue, past Nicolet National Bank, and will end at Sturgeon Bay City Hall. Participants are encouraged to park at Market Square and walk the streets of Sturgeon Bay after the parade is over.


Stories with Santa & Letters to Santa

The socially-distanced, holiday fun continues on Saturday, November 21 for Stories with Santa. Tune into the Destination Sturgeon Bay Facebook page at 6pm for a Facebook Live session with Santa as he reads ‘A Door County Night Before Christmas’ and answers questions from guests watching live.


Don’t forget to send your letters to Santa early this year! Beginning Friday, November 20, children are invited to send letters and wish lists to Santa via Santa’s mailbox located outside the Destination Sturgeon Bay Welcome Center, 36 S. Third Avenue. Santa will be back for the second segment of Stories with Santa on Thursday, December 17 to read the letters and answer last-minute questions before he takes off on December 24 to deliver gifts. The second segment of Stories with Santa will begin at 6pm on Thursday, December 17 via Facebook Live.



It’s back! One lucky person will win $1,000! Make sure to enter the Moo-La-La Giveaway from November 20-December 13. Destination Sturgeon Bay will draw multiple winners a day (Monday through Friday) from the entry boxes at participating businesses to receive a $25 gift certificate. Entry forms are available at participating businesses. The grand prize drawing is December 15! Check for the list of participating businesses and details on giveaway dates.


For the full line-up of local holiday events, Destination Sturgeon Bay will release their 2020 Christmas by the Bay holiday brochure, available at local businesses and the Destination Sturgeon Bay Welcome Center, beginning Friday, November 20. Additional information can be found at; call (920) 743-6246 or email


Happy Holidays from Destination Sturgeon Bay and member businesses! Thank you for spending the holidays in Sturgeon Bay and for shopping locally.



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