News Archives for 2020-12

Diners ordering more Comfort foods

Surging demand for comfort foods made a comeback in the area and beyond in 2020.  According to Grubhub's Year in Food report, the past years have seen growth in the vegan and vegetarian options as diners' preference. This past year saw comfort food orders, like the spicy chicken sandwich, increase in popularity by a whopping 318 percent nationally.  Locally, Wanda Hilsabeck of Wanda Jeans Family Restaurant in Sturgeon Bay says she never dreamt that orders for her new spicy chicken sandwich would be in such great demand.

 

 

Hilsabeck adds that other popular comfort foods flying out of the kitchen are meatloaf, burgers, and chicken tenders.   Grubhub reported that restaurant orders for chicken wings, waffle fries, and roast beef sandwiches also saw considerable increases in 2020.  Apple pie topped the popularity for dessert dishes with a rise of 330 percent.  

 

Delay doesn't dampen demand for food box program

A shaky start to the Farmers to Families Food Box event at the Kewaunee County Food Pantry on Wednesday did not hamper the distribution of food to people in need.  President Ken Marquardt says that wintery weather conditions in the morning delayed the arrival of the truck carrying 450 food boxes by two hours.  He says people waited patiently in their cars starting at 8 am as the line stretched over a mile along the roadside to the parking lot.

 

 

Marquardt noted that they were able to accommodate just about everyone in line with food boxes except about ten vehicles that received extra milk that was available.  The distribution of the 450 food boxes was the most-ever in Kewaunee County and was completed before noon.  The Door County Food Pantry Coalition was scheduled to distribute 400 boxes at the John Miles County Park in Sturgeon Bay on Wednesday as well.   

Door County surpasses 2,000 COVID-19 cases

On the final day of 2020, Door County eclipsed 2000 positive tests of the coronavirus since the pandemic began in March.  Door County Public Health reported another 34 COVID-19 cases on Thursday along with three more “probable” results.  The positivity rate was over 50 percent of the 67 tests performed.  Recoveries went up 15 and active cases are at 320 with one more hospitalization. 

 

Kewaunee County did not issue a COVID-19 update on their website on Thursday.

 

Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported over 3,800 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, the highest single-day number in over two weeks.  The hospitalizations for COVID-19  went up 143 and 41 more people died. 

 

 

 

 


Algoma still looking for candidates

A write-in candidate may be needed for at least one seat on the Algoma City Council with the deadline to file nomination papers just a few days away. Mitch Groessl of District 3 and Jacque Wiese of District 2 filed their non-candidacy papers earlier this month. While no one has stepped up to run for Groessl’s seat, Leah Pierquet picked up nomination papers on Wednesday afternoon and will have the weekend to get enough signatures to get put on the ballot. She is vying for the seat being vacated by Wiese. Alderpersons Lee Dachelet and John Pabich have already turned in their paperwork to run for re-election.

 

In Sturgeon Bay, all of the incumbents have taken out nomination papers with Dan Williams (District 3), Gary Nault (District 5), and Kirsten Reeths (District 7) turning them back in.

 

No updates were provided for the candidates for the Kewaunee City Council. As of last week, Evan Gibbs, Jeremy Robillard, and Wendy Shelton have taken out nomination papers to replace Jeff Dworak on the city council with Shelton already turning in the necessary signatures. Richard Taylor has already returned his paperwork to replace David Kuehl, who declared non-candidacy earlier this month. Alderperson Arthur Schiller and former mayor John Blaha could be vying for the seat on the city council representing District 1. In District 3, alderperson Joe Mills is poised to face Robin Nelson in the spring election. 

 

All election-related paperwork is due back to municipal offices on January 5th.

Kitchens ready for 2021

Rep. Joel Kitchens of Sturgeon Bay hopes to tackle many of the initiatives halted in 2020 due to the pandemic. The legislation created in the aftermath of the Speaker’s Task Force on Water Quality and his bills on birth control and education were among the several items passed by the Assembly that were unable to reach the Senate for approval due to COVID-19 precautions. Much of the year was then dedicated to pandemic-induced issues, such as helping constituents receive unemployment benefits. Kitchens says many of the initiatives he would like to see move forward will likely be impacted by the budget.

Kitchens says they have built a strong business climate over the last 10 years, which could help in the state’s recovery from the pandemic. The Wisconsin State Legislature is set to convene for the 2021 session on January 4th.

YMCA offers fresh start for resolutions

The Door County YMCA is helping residents get off to a healthy start to the New Year. Both program centers in Sturgeon Bay and Fish Creek will be free and open to the public from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday. Exercising more and losing weight were the top two most common New Year’s resolutions in a YouGov.com poll heading into 2020. A study published by the Journal of Clinical Psychology showed 46 percent of people who made New Year’s resolutions were successful. Tonya Felhofer from the Door County YMCA says Friday’s free community day is a great way to tackle your New Year’s resolution with a small step.

Felhofer says people working out the YMCA will notice the steps they have taken to ensure safety. That has involved rearranging its equipment and increased sanitization procedures. You can hear more about New Year’s resolutions and the Door County YMCA’s upcoming Diabetes Prevention Program on our Podcasts page.


Law enforcement clamping down on drunk drivers

New Year's Eve celebrations may be different this weekend, but one annual program will still be in effect by local law enforcement.   The National Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign continues through New Year's Day.  Door County Chief Deputy Pat McCarty says hopes are to educate people about the dangers and consequences of driving drunk and high.  He asks anyone that is driving to act responsibly.

 

 

McCarty adds that local law enforcement will be stepping up patrols through the weekend to get any impaired drivers off the roadways. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, one-third of traffic fatalities during the holidays last year were drunk-driving related. 

State parks prep for skiing and sledding

Cross country skiing and downhill sledding are closer to starting for the season at some state parks in Door County.  This week's winter weather left up to eight inches of snow around Door County with more expected by New Year's Day.  That's drawing interest from skiers and families looking for winter fun.  Peninsula State Park Superintendent Eric Hyde believes cross-country trails near Fish Creek will be ready by the weekend, though the sledding hill may need a bit more snowfall before opening.

 





No grooming is happening, however, for cross-country ski trails at Potawatomi State Park and Whitefish Dunes State Park near Sturgeon Bay.  While the trails could open soon, Superintendent Erin Brown-Stender reminds visitors some trails will be closed due to ongoing logging operations.

Area adds 44 more cases of COVID-19

As 2020 comes to a close, Door County is on the cusp of reaching 2,000 positive tests of COVID-19.  Door County Public Health reported 29 more cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday bringing the total count to 1,999.  The positivity rate jumped over 50 percent with 53 tests performed.  Nine new recoveries were noted as active cases increased five to 290.  Two additional people were hospitalized in the last day. 

 

Kewaunee County added 15 more COVID-19 cases with a positivity rate of just over 20 percent from the 74 test results on Thursday.  Active cases went up six as nine more recoveries were reported.

 

Door County Emergency Management announced that community COVID-19 testing, with the help of the National Guard, will begin again in Sturgeon Bay and Sister Bay starting next Monday through March 8. 

 

Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported over 2,700 new positive tests of COVID-19 on Thursday with 126 new hospitalizations and 35 more deaths.

 

 


Gallagher favors veto override, against higher checks

Rep. Mike Gallagher was not afraid to go against President Donald Trump’s wishes in a pair of House votes made earlier this week. The Green Bay-area Republican voted against providing $2,000 stimulus checks to Americans a week after voting down the $2.3 trillion omnibus bill that included about $900 billion for COVID-19 relief. He says taking out some of the provisions to help fund the increase in the checks was never a part of the conversation. Gallagher adds that the omnibus bill process was flawed.

Gallagher went against the president in efforts to override the veto of the $740 billion National Defense Authorization Act. President Trump’s objection to the bill was because it was not hard enough on social media companies and it allowed military bases honoring Confederate leadership to be renamed. While he understands the President’s issues with the bill, there were pieces of the bill that were very important that needed to be approved.

Gallagher is proud of some of the provisions that made it into the two bills. In the omnibus bill, he called funding for vaccine distribution and the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative "critical" for northeast Wisconsin. The NDAA contains what Gallagher calls "the most significant cyber legislation to ever pass Congress."

 

THOUGHTS ON THE OMNIMBUS BILL, WHICH INCLUDED COVID-19 RELIEF

THOUGHTS ON THE VETO OVERRIDE OF THE NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT

 

Property purchases highlight Liberty Grove's 2020

The electors of the town of Liberty Grove will finally have their annual meeting on Thursday where they will recap 2019 and some of the positive parts of 2020. The annual meeting had been pushed off since April due to the pandemic, but the Wisconsin Towns Association told Liberty Grove officials it had to have it before the year was out. In addition to recapping 2019 with a report from CLA Accounting Firm, the town board will vote to approve the minutes for two special board meetings when property was purchased. The purchase of the Grand View parcel in March and the Old Stage Road land in September added approximately six acres to what the town already controls. The town’s electors will also get an opportunity to get their voices heard. Town chairperson John Lowry says he is proud of the progress on some of the projects they have been working on over the past year despite limitations.

If all goes well, town electors will not have to wait as long for the next annual meeting, which could be approved to take place on April 20th at 7 p.m. This year’s meeting will take place on New Year’s Eve at 11 a.m.

Villages waiting on paperwork for spring election

The area’s four villages are waiting to see what the spring election ballot could look like.  In Sister Bay, Village Clerk Heidi Teich says former board president Dave Lienau is the only one to file non-candidacy papers. Scott Baker, Chad Kodanko, and Nate Bell have indicated they will run again to keep their seats. In Egg Harbor, Village Clerk Lynn Ohnsorge says John Heller, Angela Lensch, and Joe Smith have said they are running again and are circulating nomination papers. Ohnsorge added that with the paperwork being available online, the final list of candidates could change when the paperwork is due on January 5th with people that never came into the village hall. The village clerks for Luxemburg and Casco said they would not know for sure until the Tuesday deadline.


"Personal Year-End Review" before resolutions – Mental Health Minute

Sturgeon Bay Psychologist Dr. Dennis White recommends that you take stock of what happened to you this last year before making any New Year resolutions.  He suggests writing down a personal year-end review of your 2020 experiences and reflecting on your accomplishments and what you learned in the past year.

 

 

Dr. White says the year-end review can help you reflect, learn, and grow.  The process can help better prepare you for a more positive year ahead and lead to meaningful resolutions in 2021.  You can listen to Dr. White's entire Mental Health Minute with the nine questions to ask yourself with this story below. 

 

 

Area COVID-19 positivity rates lessen 

The area saw an encouraging sign of lower positivity rates of COVID-19 in confirmed tests on Tuesday.

 

Door County Public Health confirmed ten more coronavirus cases and 17 new recoveries. The positivity rate was only 6.8 percent of the 146 tests performed. Active cases of COVID-19 went down seven to 294, with one more hospitalization. 

 

Kewaunee County saw 12 more cases of COVID-19 with eight more recoveries. Of the 68 test results reported, the positivity rate was 17.6 percent. The active cases increased five from 74 to 79. Hospitalizations remained at just two. 

 

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services announced on Tuesday the launching of a COVID vaccine data page that will track the number of shots given out and shipped to the state. 

 

 

Property tax payment rush expected this week

Property owners in Door and Kewaunee counties still have time to get the valuable tax write-off deduction for paying their 2020 tax bill. Property tax bill payments need to be postmarked, paid online, or in-person by this Thursday to be claimed on your 2020 tax return. Door County Treasurer Jay Zahn says his office has already received many property tax payments through the mail.

 

 

 

Zahn says receipts can be mailed back by including a self-addressed-stamped-envelope. Payments can also be paid online through the Door County Government website by credit card, debit card, or e-check. With the Door County Government Center currently closed to the public due to COVID-19 precautions, the Treasurer's office has set up a payment window at the South Fifth Avenue entrance that allows one person at a time to pay just inside the building. No appointment is necessary, and the office is open from 8:00-4:30 pm through Thursday this week. Kewaunee County collects the first installment of property taxes differently by having each municipality responsible for receiving payments.

Emergency Support Coalition not slowing down

Their tasks have changed since March, but the goals of the Door County Emergency Support Coalition and its 600-plus stable of volunteers have not. On Wednesday, the organization will help vaccinate residents at Good Samaritan Scandia Village in Sister Bay to protect them from COVID-19 after helping out with flu shots earlier this year. It is a far cry from the food distribution events, polling site cleanings, and the dozens of other opportunities that have come up since the Door County Fire Chiefs Association formed in March to discuss what they could do to help the community get through the pandemic. Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Chief Chris Hecht gives all the credit to the volunteers and the variety of tasks they have been asked to do.

Hecht’s Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Department joined forces with local businesses and community partners on Christmas Eve to distribute over 250 meals to people across northern Door County.  He says it is just another example of “Door County being Door County.” If you’d like to volunteer, you can reach out to the Door County Emergency Support Coalition by clicking this link.

Election reform group continues push

The Wisconsin Voters Alliance is encouraging Republican lawmakers to continue their fight for election reforms. The conservative organization was created earlier this year to address private money being used by public election officials last fall. It also went to the Wisconsin Supreme Court earlier this month to challenge the results of the November election, citing thousands of pieces of evidence it has collected alleging voter fraud. The Wisconsin Supreme Court declined to take the case in a 4-3 decision. The organization filed another lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Washington D.C. last week challenging the election results in five states including Wisconsin. Two current state assembly members and one candidate running for Rep. John Nygren’s former seat have also signed on. WVA President and Kewaunee County Republican Party Chairperson Ron Heuer says they do not plan on stopping until they are able to get election reforms addressed like private money being used for elections and absentee voting.

Heuer sent a letter to Republican lawmakers on Monday asking for their support for their efforts. You can find that letter below. Governor Tony Evers told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel over the weekend he would veto any bills putting restrictions on voting, including the definition of “indefinitely confined.” That has been a major focus of legal challenges against Wisconsin’s results, including from the Wisconsin Voters Alliance. State Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu has suggested allowing clerks to count absentee votes before election day, something Governor Evers is open to allowing.

Winter weather advisory issued for Door and Kewaunee counties

The second storm in a week is the reason for another winter weather advisory being issued for Door and Kewaunee counties. Lasting from 8 p.m. Tuesday until noon on Wednesday, the winter weather advisory affects all of northeast Wisconsin. The National Weather Service is predicting three to six inches of snow to fall across the area before it switches over to a freezing drizzle Wednesday morning.  In addition to slippery road conditions, southern winds are expected to increase along the lakeshore, leading to patchy blowing and drifting snow throughout the night.  The hazardous conditions are expected to have an impact on the Wednesday morning commute.

 

 

Crossroads closer to grooming ski trails

Mother Nature will need to cooperate a little more before Crossroads at Big Creek can fully-groom the trails and begin the Ski-For-Free Rental program originally slated for this weekend.  The over three inches of fresh snow on Sunday that fell in Door County allowed Crossroads personnel to roll the trails around the nature preserve, but not enough to set track.  Program Director and naturalist Coggin Herringa says outdoor enthusiasts can still snowshoe or use their own ski equipment to blaze their trials at this point.

 

 

Herringa notes that Crossroads at Big Creek has ski-only and multi-use trails. The secondary routes are designed for non-skiing activities like snowshoeing and hiking.  With additional snowfall forecasted for the next couple of days, Herringa is hopeful that more families will have the opportunity to enjoy the nature preserve's snow-covered trails this weekend.

 

(photo courtesy of Crossroads at Big Creek)

 

COMING SOON.... .........but not quite yet. The trails were rolled Monday morning, but there is not yet adequate snow...

Posted by Crossroads at Big Creek on Monday, December 28, 2020

 

 

 

One more COVID-19 death

Kewaunee County reported its 31st coronavirus death on Monday as the area saw a substantial increase in recoveries the past several days.

 

Since last Tuesday, active cases in Kewaunee County dropped from 102 to 75, and 53 new positive tests were confirmed. Two fewer people were hospitalized with two remaining hospitalizations. 

  
Door County Public Health reported 88 new COVID-19 recoveries since last Wednesday. Half of the tests performed were confirmed positives reflecting 36 new coronavirus cases. Active cases did drop 49 and now are at 301. No additional people were hospitalized for COVID-19 since last Wednesday.


The Wisconsin Department of Health Services announced 19 additional deaths on Monday, with 1,335 new cases of COVID-19 and 82 more hospitalizations. One of the deaths was the second fatality of someone under the age of 20 in the state.  

 

 

Door County YMCA names new CEO

A familiar face will be leading the way for Door County YMCA in 2021. Heidi Erickson, who served as the Northern Door executive in Fish Creek from 2016 to 2019, was appointed as the fifth CEO in the 34-year history of the Door County YMCA.   Board of Director's chair Mike Felhofer says Erickson brings many qualities that the organization was looking for in the leadership position.

 

 

Erickson will assume her new position next Monday and replace Tom Beerntsen, who had announced his retirement in November. Most recently serving as Branch Executive of the Green Bay Association's East Side Y branch, Erickson has an extensive background in programming and has worked with the Appleton Park and Recreation Department and the Eau Claire YMCA. 

 

(photo submitted) 

The road stops for new Rogue Theater building

After years of bouncing between venues, Rogue Theater is hoping to have a place to call their own by Memorial Day.

 

In recent years, Rogue Theater called an old train depot and the former Jaycee Clubhouse home, only to see those buildings sold and their operations forced out. COVID-19 did not even allow Rogue Theater to perform indoors for much of 2020,  opting to perform outdoors in a church parking lot. The performing arts troupe’s future home, the DC Arts Center, will be located off of 14th Avenue in Sturgeon Bay when it is completed in spring 2021. Rogue Theater founder Stuart Champeau hopes the entire Sturgeon Bay arts community will find a use with the building.

Rogue Theater is looking to raise approximately $150,000 to help outfit the building with lights, a sound system, and other features so it can begin performing in the space for audiences in 2021.

Washington Island altering services amid outbreak

Everyday life on Washington Island is getting an overhaul thanks to a spike in cases on the island. Town supervisor Hans Lux, Jr. alerted residents over the weekend that the recreation center and the offices for the town and the police department will be closed this week as a precaution.  He says over the last week, town officials were notified of a high percentage of positive COVID-19 tests coming back in the results. The news was made worse on Christmas when two Island residents died of COVID-19-related complications. The holidays are making it easier to handle, but Lux adds they need to do what is necessary to protect its residents.

Lux says the town has mandated masks and other mitigation strategies at its landfill and recycling center for the time being. He is happy that organizations like the Washington Island Community Health Program have volunteered to deliver essentials to residents who are stuck in quarantine.

First snowfall results in several accidents

Emergency personnel and tow truck drivers were kept busy in Door County as the first significant snowfall of the season hit the area on Sunday. The storm system kept the area in a winter weather advisory until midnight on Monday and dumped one to three inches of snow. The Door County Sheriff’s Department and Sturgeon Bay Police Department took to social media Sunday evening to ask people to travel carefully and sparingly as they responded to several accidents in the area. One of those accidents was in Ephraim on State Highway 42 where a heavy-duty pickup truck was swung into a ditch and into a utility pole after losing control of his trailer. The crash occurred at approximately 3:45 p.m. and the highway had to be closed for a few hours. The driver was able to leave his vehicle safely without injuries and no service was lost when the utility pole was snapped in half by the vehicle. Ephraim Fire Chief Justin MacDonald says it is a good lesson for people to slow down as the weather gets slick.

Between 2 p.m. Sunday afternoon and 7 a.m. Monday morning, Door County Dispatch responded to calls for nine accidents,  four cars in ditches, and three motorist assists. The area is expected to get a second dose of winter weather on Tuesday night when the National Weather Service predicts between four and six inches of snow could fall by Wednesday morning.

 

Photo credit to Tad Dukehart

Local author's book on World War II garners award

A non-fiction book published last June and written by a Sturgeon Bay author has received a national award.  Joe Tachovsky co-wrote “40 Thieves on Saipan:  The Elite Scout-Snipers in One of WWII’s Bloodiest Battles” along with Cynthia Kraak detailing his father’s war stories.  The 300-plus page novel won the American Book Fest’s 2020 Best Book Award in the History: Military category.  Joe Tachovsky says the inspiration to chronicle Frank Tachovsky’s experience as a marine came at his dad’s funeral in 2011.

 

 

Tachovsky says the four surviving members from his father’s platoon shared stories and remembrances that turned a chronicling into writing a book in 2014.  The 28-chapter publication is available for purchase at local bookstores and online.  You can listen to the entire conversation with Sturgeon Bay Author Joe Tachovsky on the podcast page

 

Lt. Frank Tachovsky receiving the Silver Star from Admiral Chester Nimitz in World War II

 

(photo contributed)

The Door County League of Women Voters to host candidate forums in 2021

The 2020 elections may be over, but a local organization is already planning to host candidate forums for the next spring races.  With filing candidacy papers due on January 5, the League of Women Voters of Door County will accept “forum requests” from January 6 through 21. Dan Powers, the voter service forum coordinator, says the first forum will depend on if any primaries are scheduled on February 16.  He shares the valuable information that candidate forums offer.

 

 

The League of Women Voters is a non-partisan organization that engages the community to promote positive solutions to public policy issues through education and advocacy.  The organization sponsored two forums earlier this year.  You can find contact information for the League of Women Voters of Door County below.

 

PO 306, Sturgeon Bay, WI  54235

lwvdcprez@gmail.com

leagueofwomenvotersdoorcounty.org

Farmers and families get year-end help

The final Farmers to Families Food Box distribution will be held next Wednesday in both Door and Kewaunee counties.  Door County Food Pantry Coalition will have 400 boxes to hand out, while the Kewaunee County Food Pantry will distribute 500 boxes of the fruit, vegetables, cheese, and meat products.  The USDA-funded program started earlier this year to help families in need, as well as the agricultural community.  United Way of Door County Community Impact Coordinator Dakota Londo says this event is extremely important right now.

 

 

Pick up in Sturgeon Bay on December 30 will begin at 4 pm at the Fairgrounds at John Miles County Park.  Distribution the same day in Algoma will be at the Kewaunee County Food Pantry from 8 am until 5 pm.

Restaurant adapting to changes during the holiday season

A typically busy time between the holidays may not be the case for some restaurants this year as COVID-19 concerns and precautions remain.  But one area restaurant has found a way to adapt to the health pandemic's challenges and restrictions.  Jason Estes, the owner of Sonny's Italian Kitchen and Pizzeria in Sturgeon Bay, says his restaurant has seen a considerable increase in take-out and deliveries this year.

 

 

Estes notes that although larger parties and gatherings are not happening, smaller tables of six people or less are enjoying a meal safely with socially-distanced tables and masked staff in the restaurant.  Since outdoor dining is not practical this time of year, Sonny's has experienced longer wait times to accommodate customers inside.   Estes says customers have been patient while bussers are clearing and sanitizing table settings after each use.  Like other establishments, Sonny's has had challenges finding enough staff to fill all the shifts.  Estes credits a bigger labor pool for the restaurant staying open all year long.

Student correspondent writing her own future

A love for writing and a Youth Apprenticeship Program led Sara Miller to a journalistic opportunity of a lifetime.  Miller is the Kewaunee High School student correspondent who recently started writing weekly news stories for NEW Radio and DoorCountyDailyNews.com.  She says the apprenticeship program is getting her ready for the future, and her friends are giving her positive feedback on her published articles about Kewaunee High School.

 

 

Miller, an Algoma resident, has connections with the Kewaunee Elementary School as well, where her mother, Clare, is a fourth-grade teacher.   Balancing her studies with the apprenticeship, along with a second job at a fast-food restaurant, keeps Miller more than busy.  She plans on attending a four-year college in the UW system when she graduates in 2022 and pursues a degree in journalism or communication.  

Great Lakes Restoration Initiative renewal welcomed by lakeshore communities

Door County officials are welcoming Congressional approval extending the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative for another five-years.  The program helps lakefront communities and state governments to improve water quality, develop invasive species action plans and respond to erosion caused by rising water levels.  The GLRI will see a substantial funding increase from $300-million in 2021 to $375-million in 2022 with annual increases of $25-million, topping off at $475 in 2026.  Door County Administrator Ken Pabich believes continuing the program benefits Great Lakes communities and the entire nation.
 



Without reauthorization, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative would have expired at the end of 2021.  The reauthorization bill now goes to President Trump for his signature.

Giving going up at year's end

The Door County Community Foundation is seeing plenty of dollars coming in and going out as the final days of 2020 go by. President and CEO Bret Bicoy says the surging markets are causing a record number of people to donate stock to their favorite charities. Likewise, the Door County Community Foundation is also writing out a large number of checks to local organizations that have seen the demand for their services skyrocket because of the impact of the pandemic. Bicoy says that factor has driven giving.

Bicoy did point out donors who are struggling themselves are not giving as much this year as they have in the past. He adds that recent changes to the tax code and a provision in the federal CARES Act has also incentivized donors to give. You will be able to deduct up to $300 in cash donations to qualifying organizations from income through the end of the year. If the omnibus bill approved by Congress on Monday is signed into law, that program will be extended into 2021.

Falling COVID numbers a double edged sword

The number of positive COVID-19 tests have tumbled in recent weeks, but Door County Medical Center Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jim Heise sees the good and the bad from it.  The state reported 2,579 positive tests on Wednesday, well below the highs seen in November where positive cases averaged between 5,000 to 8,000 a day. Testing has also dropped considerably, averaging 10,000 to 12,000 tests administered in December compared to the 15,000 to 20,000 in November. Heise told DoorCountyDailyNews.com that a reason for that could be “COVID fatigue.”

Heise is encouraged by the drop in numbers both in positive cases and hospitalizations. He also added the turnaround time for tests has drastically improved over the last several weeks with patients in some cases getting results back in less than 24 hours.

Superintendent surprised by tax reaction

Sturgeon Bay Superintendent Dan Tjernagel says they tried being as transparent as they could be throughout the referendum process that reared its head on property tax bills this month. The district’s levy rose approximately 19 percent over last year, which meant an extra $1.40 per $1,000 of assessed value for district homeowners. That is actually down from the $1.47 that was originally projected by district officials at the end of last year heading into the spring election. It still pushes the mill rate to $11.69 per $1,000.  Tjernagel says the anticipated reaction is why they tried to “overcommunicate” as much as they could over the last few months to prepare people for their tax bill this winter.

Tjernagel says many of the conversations he has had in the community has been more about the reassessment of property in the city and how it coincided with the passage of the referendum. The $16.84 million referendum approved by voters in April is helping fund an addition at Sawyer Elementary School and improvements at Sunrise Elementary School and Sturgeon Bay High School.

Climate task force, local agriculture on same page

When Governor Tony Evers’ Task Force on Climate Change released its report earlier this month, many of the suggestions looked familiar to producer-led watershed groups like Peninsula Pride Farms. The report showed the agriculture sector accounting for 15 percent of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions. It also pointed to intensified agriculture as one of the reasons the state’s carbon-sequestering forests and natural lands lost 25 percent of their carbon sink capability between 2005 and 2017. Without them, there is a higher amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which is a major contributor to greenhouse gases. The task force recommended farmers get paid for increasing their soil carbon storage, avoid converting more natural working lands, and make managed grazing livestock production systems a priority. Some of this would increase incentives for practices like cover cropping and reduced tillage. Both are things Peninsula Pride Farms members have been experimenting with and have been encouraging other farmers to do over the last five years. Peninsula Pride Farms President Don Niles is happy to see that farmers are not chasing improved environmental practices, but rather help set them.

Niles says they still have plenty to learn about how they can be better stewards for the land they work. Interseeding cover crops and creating grass waterways were some of the soil conservation practices introduced to members this year at field days. Niles adds that the good weather this year allowed more farmers to try out some new techniques and sets the stage for more continuous learning in the future.

Safety protocols guide patrol numbers

Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department deputies made safety their top concern when approaching their patrol duties in 2020. The number of arrests, citations, and warnings made in 2020 were all down compared to 2019, though they were not off by much. Deputies made 203 arrests and issued 1,162 citations in 2020, compared to 246 arrests and 1,183 citations a year ago. The biggest drop was with warnings, which saw a drop of close to 400 to 1,159. Deputies were still assigned over 2,100 complaints and conducted close to 2,300 property checks. Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski says deputies took precautions when determining if making a stop, and potentially exposing themselves to COVID-19, was necessary.

A minimum of two deputies patrol Kewaunee County roads at all times, covering about 400 square miles. You can see a full breakdown of the patrol numbers for Kewaunee County below.

 

FROM SHERIFF JOSKI

As I continue with reporting the activity of the Sheriff’s Department thus far in 2020, I would like to share some data from the Patrol Division. Probably the most visible division within the Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department is our Patrol Division, and it comprises of the most recognizable duties which we carry out throughout the year. There are twelve deputies assigned to the Patrol Division which is supervised by Lt. Jason Veeser. The minimal staffing for Kewaunee County’s 400 square miles are two patrol deputies. When you consider the distance from Tisch Mills on our southern border and Dyckesville on our northern border you begin to understand the demands which this puts on our staff both from the perspective of continual presence to that of response time.

       

In 2020 we have had to make many adjustments in an effort to minimize exposure to both our Deputies as well as members of our community who may be requesting our services. This may have meant conducting initial interviews with victims or witnesses by phone versus in person, as well safety considerations when actually engaging with potential suspects. In the end however, our Deputies must balance the risk of exposure with the need to make contact with those who either need our services, or require physical arrest due to their actions.

       

If we were to look at the overall process from the time that a call or complaint is made to the Sheriff’s Department through its completion, the Patrol Division plays an important role. Aside from those calls which are determined to be civil in nature, and not involving an active crime, the patrol division is dispatched to every one of them ranging from keep the peace to traffic offense to domestics. The category for these calls is “Complaints Assigned” and they account for 2,864 of the total activity. In many cases the complaints may be occurring within one of the local jurisdictions or even involving an adjacent county, but we are requested to provide assistance. These are categorized as “Assist Other Agencies” and account for 502 of the total patrol activity.

         

Of these complaints that we respond to not all result in arrest. Many times the Deputy is able to mediate the situation, or resolve the complaint with a warning to the perpetrator. In some cases the evidence which is provided to the Deputy requires that an arrest be made. In those cases where it is necessary to arrest the total number thus far in 2020 is 203. While this number may seem low these calls tend to be very involved and require a great deal of the Deputy’s time in follow up and documentation.

         

The most commonly perceived duty of the Patrol Deputy is of course traffic enforcement, although it accounts for very little of the overall time spent in a given shift due to the demands of call response. So far in 2020 there have been 1,162 Citations issued along with 1,159 Warnings. We like to approach traffic enforcement from an educational perspective, and when possible try to achieve the learning experience through warnings. Unfortunately there are times where either the offense is so egregious or the individual has already been given the courtesy of a warning that a citation is unavoidable. It is important for people to realize that Deputies do not enjoy issuing citations any more than the person on the receiving end. Our ultimate goal is always public safety.

          

Some of the duties which the Patrol Division carries out which may not be as commonly known are those related to civil process. By statute the Sheriff’s Department is tasked with carrying out actions which are a result of our circuit court Judge’s orders. These can range from eviction actions, actions in support of a writ, or even involvement in child custody orders. We are also part of the notification to those involved in these actions through the service of papers or notices. These “Papers Served or Attempted” account for 402 of the calls so far this year.

           

The two final categories are what I would consider Customer Service. They are “Citizen Assists” and “Property Checks”. The category of citizen assists is for the most part unplanned events which are a result of an unfortunate circumstance on the part of the citizen. These can range from stranded motorists to providing information regarding vehicle registration or licensing. Deputies handled 468 citizen assists so far this year. Property checks are a service we provide when requested from individuals or businesses in our community who may be away from their homes for an extended period of time, or they are areas we give additional amount of attention to as a result of being a victim of a recent criminal act. So far in 2020 we have logged such duties resulting in Deputies checking on various properties 2,292 times.

             

I hope that the take away from this article is that when you see a Sheriff’s Department squad you have a better understanding of the many different duties that these men and women engage in on a given shift. The work of these Deputies has been especially trying during this past year as they navigate through the many health precautions while still responding to and taking appropriate actions to keep our community safe.

             

In all of these numbers, the most important element is the relationship that we have with those whom we serve. All the data and statistics mean nothing if we do not have the support of our community and it is our goal to maintain a high level of professionalism for those we have sworn to protect and serve! On behalf of the Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department, I wish everyone a peaceful and joy filled Christmas.

Americorps VISTA provides Habitat support

Jerry Phelps knew he was going to be emotional last week when Door County Habitat for Humanity dedicated its 43rd home because as he put it, he always is on dedication day. Phelps served as a volunteer building the home as a member of the Americorps VISTA program. VISTA stands for Volunteers in Service to America and the organization has partnered with Habitat for Humanity affiliates in Wisconsin to help others while building on their own skills for their career. It was the 31st dedication Phelps was a part of after previously serving with a Habitat for Humanity affiliate in Durham, North Carolina. Speaking at the dedication ceremony, Phelps told the crowd that the number of houses an affiliate builds in a year does not make or break an organization.

Executive Director Lori Allen honored Phelps for all the help and guidance he was able to provide during what was a challenging build year.

Allen said she is hoping to raise enough money and recruit enough volunteers to hopefully start building multiple homes a year.

Bay Shipbuilding beautification of Third Avenue update next week

Sturgeon Bay's Finance/Purchasing & Building Committee will be considering the Memo of Understanding between the City and Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding regarding the beautification of Third Avenue.  Conditions were placed on the Zoning Board of Appeals' approval in October of Fincantieri's request to exceed the 110 foot-high variance for a new fabrication hall at 341. N. Third Avenue. The variance's approval was subject to Bay Shipbuilding submitting a plan and schedule for Third Avenue improvements within six months. The upgrades would address landscaping, parking enhancements, the new building's appearance, and the following of storm-water management set down by the DNR.  Bay Shipbuilding was granted two variances associated with the shipyard's upgraded plan related to a contract with Fincantieri Marinette Marine's building of a U.S. Navy Frigate. The Sturgeon Bay Finance/Purchasing & Building Committee will meet at 4 pm next Tuesday in Council Chambers at City Hall.  

Lake trout bag limits reduced starting January 21st

Anglers on Lake Michigan will be limited to two lake trout daily after New Year's Day.  Wisconsin's Department of Natural Resources is adopting the two-fish limit based on the COVID-19 pandemic, partial fishing seasons and while research to update lake trout reproduction and harvest models is being completed.  That data would help develop new bag limits and restore a year-round open season.  Kevin Naze, an organizer of the K & D Salmon Tournament, believes the new bag limits will likely have little impact along Door and Kewaunee counties.  He says charter fishing customers are more interested in landing salmon and the lake trout population in northern Lake Michigan is going strong.
 



In addition to the daily bag limit of two lake trout, the open trout season will run from March 1st through October 31st or until permanent regulations are adopted.

State expands testing for assisted care facilities

Governor Tony Evers and the Department of Health Services announced this week that expanded testing for Wisconsin's assisted living facilities will be conducted.

 

The new program will allow for community-based residential facilities and adult family homes to opt-in for routine COVID-19 surveillance testing. 


The expanded testing is one part of Wisconsin's testing strategy that also included at-home test collection for all Wisconsin residents.  The state currently has 74 community testing sites in operation.

 
You can find the latest information about COVID-19 on the Department of Health Services website.

Sheriff's Department celebrates retirements

Two long-time members of the Door County Sheriff’s Department said goodbye this week after decades of service.

 

Lt. Bob Lauder retired after joining the Sheriff’s Reserves in 1998. He was hired as a full-time deputy the following year. He started in the jail division before moving to patrol. Lauder was also a team commander on the department’s SWAT team and a founding member of its honor guard.

 

Jan Schartner also retired this week after joining the department in 1997. She made the switch after serving in the Soil and Water Conservation Department for six years. As the records clerk, she oversaw the legal paper service function of the Sheriff’s Department as well as handling its open records requests.

 

Photo from Door County Sheriff's Department

 

 

DCMC receives vaccines, antibody treatments

The fight against COVID-19 in Door County is getting stronger. Door County Medical Center announced on Wednesday it has received its first shipment of the COVID-19 vaccine. In accordance with guidelines outlined by the Centers for Disease Control, health care workers and long-term care patients will be the first to get vaccinated.

 

 

For those who end up contracting the virus, Door County Medical Center are able to distribute antibody treatments.  Bamlanivimab, a monoclonal antibody, and casirivimab and imdevimab, a polyclonal antibody, can be distributed to certain patients in an effort to reduce complications and possibly prevent hospitalizations. Door County Medical Center President and CEO Brian Stephens sang the praises of bamlanivimab earlier this month when they were first able to distribute the treatment.

The Food and Drug Administration recently gave the three antibody treatments and two different vaccines emergency use approval in the country’s efforts to limit the impact of COVID-19.

Door County Toys for Kids makes special delivery

With Santa in tow and local law enforcement guiding his “sleigh”, Door County Toys for Kids made the holidays brighter for area families. Approximately 80 businesses collected over 5,000 toys in a matter of just a few weeks. Twelve families got an extra burst of the holiday spirit when Door County Toys for Kids delivered the toys with help from the Door County Sheriff’s Department, the Sturgeon Bay Police Department, and St. Nick himself. Adam Peronto helped organized the effort this year and he was appreciative of all the support it received.

Thanks to the generosity of the community, over 500 kids received toys from the organization this year. Peronto hopes it continues to be a holiday tradition for years to come.

 

Picture from Sturgeon Bay Police Department

 

Take extra time to enjoy the little things this holiday season

As crazy as 2020 was I am grateful to have experienced it. It has shown me that slowing down and enjoying the little things like a garden, a campfire at home, or even a board game is more memorable than having to run to 2 different baseball/softball games at once, or going straight from swim practice to softball practice then do it all over again the next day! So, what I am most grateful for this year is time. The extra time with my kids, with my husband and to enjoy the little things life offers that often get overlooked.  

 

Enjoy the extra time you have and make the most of it. Happy Holidays! 

 

 

 

Lau Christmas Wish... not store bought

Happy Holidays everyone!  I’m Shelly Lau from New Radio.  I just want to thank all of my clients, listeners, and customers who shop on our Big Deals site.  The radio stations of New Radio and Door County Daily News wouldn’t be here without you.  I’m thankful to each and every one of you, and grateful for our owner Bryan Mazur, my co-workers, family, and friends.  Hopefully, we’ve learned a few things during 2020 and we’ll carry them into a happier and healthier 2021. May you all have a blessed Christmas and Happy New Year.  And please remember… Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store.  Maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more!

 

Happy holidays from my family and Scout (pictured)

 

Merry Christmas and New Year's greetings from my household to yours

I've received many Christmas gifts over the years including an unexpected stereo system in 1974, a down winter parka that was the perfect gift for an upcoming skiing trip, and others too numerous to mention.   Then there was the first Christmas I spent with my wife and stepdaughter just two-months after we were married.   That made it among the greatest gifts of just getting together with friends, family, and relatives for Christmas Eve or Christmas dinner (and exchange gifts, of course), to catch some of the seemingly endless TV football games and just shoot the breeze.  The memories of these gatherings have become some of my greatest holiday treasures as many of those people I celebrated with are now spending Christmas Day in eternity.  So please pause a moment to enjoy those who are with you this holiday season.  They're making your celebrations merrier and, even if they won't admit it out loud, you're adding to their holidays.  I'm hoping for a healthier, prosperous, and peaceful 2021 and the chance to venture out more than has been possible this year.  God Bless!

 

 

Photo:  top left corner going clockwise, Terry Kovarik, Dellrose Kovarik (wife), Indira (youngest grand-daughter), Isis (oldest grand-daughter), Averey (grand-son) and Angela Inman (Daughter)

Making the best of 2020

It will never cease to amaze me the twists and turns this job has taken me and my family over the last six years, but yet here we are. I usually prefer my drama to take place on the sports airwaves as we saw with the Gibraltar girls coming up just short of a regional championship bid or the toes of a Southern Door wide receiver ending up just out of bounds after an amazing grab. In between has been something none of us will ever forget. I'm thankful for you, the reader, for trusting us with the latest developments the pandemic dealt all of us on a daily basis. I'm thankful for our clients for trusting us through the high peaks and the low valleys this year has brought. Even though plenty of things got canceled this year, 2020 will be memorable to me for the things that were merely "altered."  We brought graduation ceremonies, animal sales, and 4-H Awards banquets to the radio as a way of saying "enough is enough" and still hopefully made some memories along the way. The story of Christmas is a tale where people followed a star in hopes of something great and bigger than themselves. The journeys of Mary and Joseph, the shepherds, and the kings weren't easy, but well worth it once they realized what that single star guided them towards. On behalf of my wife Laura, our two daughters Grace and Madison, and our dog Miles, we wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. May the journey that has been 2020 lead you to your own personal star in 2021.

Keeping the faith beyond 2020

The challenges faced by many people this year will never be repeated, hopefully. My family has faced obstacles during the pandemic in 2020 like many, but nothing compares to those impacted directly by the life-threatening coronavirus. I know that Christmas will not be the same in our household, like millions of other ones throughout the world, but the spirit of Christmas that lives in all of us can transcend the miles.

 

I have been blessed with a wonderful career in broadcasting and journalism that has allowed me to meet some incredible people in Door and Kewaunee counties.  That along with a wonderful family that continues to give me so many great memories, even in a more virtual form.  My hopes are that 2021 will be a year that will bring us and everyone together like never before. I want to thank all my clients and news contacts for your loyalty and continued belief in NEW Radio and DoorCountyDailyNews.com.  I look forward to working with you again in 2021.

 

On behalf of my wife, Patti, our three children, and our precious grandchild, Henry, may you have a blessed Christmas along with a healthy and Happy New Year.

Happy Holidays from NEW Radio

It’s been just over one year since embarking on a new endeavor of owning and operating radio stations and a business. Nothing would have prepared us for what the past year had in store, especially me. I’ve been asked numerous times if I’m glad I bought the company and my answer has always been the same, “yes”. Even with everything that 2020 has put in from of us, there’s nothing I would change and it’s because of the staff and the support that surrounds me. I can’t thank them enough for everything that they do to make the stations and the company as successful as it is. 

 

I was lucky enough to inherit a solid and dedicated staff and from around them, fortunate enough to add even more wonderful pieces to it. They were, and still are, the reason this past year seemed to go by with much more ease and growth than I had expected. I am thankful for their hard work and dedication to the company and to their clients. I also have to say how grateful I am for our clients as they stayed with us when a brand new owner came in with new ideas. They showed faith that we would continue to help them grow and achieve success. 

 

And to our listeners and readers, the reason we do this, I personally want to thank you for trusting us for entertainment, music, news, sports, weather and everything local because that is what makes our jobs exciting. When I ask everyone here why they do this job the answer always comes back to one thing and that’s “you”, the people in our community. As this year comes to a close and we look ahead to 2021, I hope that we will continue to serve our community in the best way we can and that together we grow throughout the coming years. 

 

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to Everyone. 

Bryan Mazur

 

Congregations embracing change for Christmas

Services at some local churches have a different look this year for more reasons than just the pandemic. Instead of crowded pews in filled up sanctuaries, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Algoma will be holding multiple services between Christmas Eve and Day while also live streaming them online. Pastor John Moll hopes people walk away from their services knowing that even in hard times Jesus will come again.

Members of Algoma and West Kewaunee United Methodist Churches will gather around their computers and smart devices to worship together this Christmas. The congregation taped their own segments to be included in the online service. Pastor Jennifer Emert says she wants her members to feel hope this Christmas season.

This will be the first Christmas service at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Kewaunee led by Pastor Matthew Sprunger, who answered the congregation’s call to serve earlier this year. He wants people leaving his services to know Christmas is just the beginning of the story.

You can find a schedule of some of the local services on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day below.

 

National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help, Champion, WI: MIDNIGHT MASS begins with group rosary at 11:30 PM (cst), Thursday evening, December 24, 2020 with Mass for the Solemnity of the Nativity of Our Lord offered at 12 AM (cst) Friday, December 25, 2020. CHRISTMAS DAY MASS begins with group rosary at 10:30 AM (cst)  Friday, December 25, 2020 and Mass for the Solemnity of the Nativity of Our Lord offered at 11 AM (cst) Friday, Dec. 25, 2020.

 

Shepherd of the Bay Lutheran Church, Ellison Bay, WI: Christmas Eve 1) Drive-in Candlelight Services at 4:00 & 7:00p.m. or 2)  Traditional Candlelight Service Video (available on church's website)

 

St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Algoma: Christmas Eve Candlelight Services 4:00pm, 5:30pm, and 8:00pm, Christmas Day Service 9:00am

 

Hear more from area churches by clicking this link

 

Friends Community Church, Sturgeon Bay: Christmas Eve at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.

 

Immanuel Lutheran Church, Kewaunee: Christmas Eve - Thursday, December 24 at 4PM and Christmas Day - Friday, December 25 at 10AM

 

Algoma United Methodist Church: Christmas Eve service will premiere at noon on Facebook, YouTube, and church website

 

St. Mary's Catholic Parish, Luxemburg (SM) and Holy Trinity Parish, Casco (HT): 12/24 2:30pm (SM), 4:00pm (SM), 5:30pm  (HT), 8:30pm  (SM), 12/25 7:30am (SM), 9:00am (HT)

Keep pets inside in extreme cold

With outside temperatures expected to drop into the low teens through Christmas Day, veterinarians remind pet owners not to leave their four-legged friends outside too long.  Dr. Jordan Kobilca of Door County Veterinary Hospital and Luxemburg Pet Clinic says that extra caution with your pet is advisable when freezing temperatures arrive.

 

 

Even thick fur does not necessarily protect your dog from frostbite to their ears, tail, or toes.  Dr. Kobilca also suggests that you check your pet's paws and stomach areas for ice and salt chemicals after coming back inside.  You can find tips on care for your pet during the winter below.

 

Holiday Hazards 
Be careful how you deck your halls! The holiday season is generally a time of family togetherness in which even our pets participate. One's thoughts generally are far from thoughts of injury; however, one must be aware of some important seasonal hazards in order to ensure a happy holiday season.

RIBBONS & TINSEL

These are of special interest to playful cats and kittens who see these materials as toys (or prey) to be chased, pounced upon, chewed or swallowed. While chasing and pouncing pose no health threats, chewing and swallowing do, as these strings or "linear foreign bodies" can catch in the GI tract, leading to bunching of the intestine as the body tries in vain to move the string or ribbon through. This is a life-threatening condition requiring surgery for correction. Supervise animals who play with string closely.

ELECTRIC LIGHT CORDS

These are also tempting to cats who like to play with string as well as to puppies who are teething and interested in chewing. If a pet bites through an electrical cord, it could result in a severe burn to the tongue, which causes the pet's lung to fill with fluid, causing respiratory distress. This is also an emergency requiring immediate veterinary attention.

CHOCOLATE

Many people do not realize that chocolate can be poison. Unsweetened baking chocolate carries a much higher dose of the toxin "theobromine" than does milk chocolate, but even normal milk chocolate can be dangerous; a small dog sharing candy can wind up in big trouble. Clinical signs of chocolate poisoning include hyperexcitability, nervousness, vomiting, and diarrhea, and death.

POINSETTIA

Consuming this festive-looking plant can be irritating to the mouth and stomach of the dog or cat that chews on or eats it. Contrary to popular belief, poinsettia is not especially toxic.

MISTLETOE

The fact that there are several types of mistletoe makes it difficult to predict the clinical signs of poisoning. Some mistletoes produce only stomach upset while others may lead to liver failure or seizuring. Consider mistletoe to be a hazardous substance and keep it inaccessible to pets and children.

COOKING

Keep pets out of the kitchen during the hustle and bustle of the season. The last thing you want is for someone you love to get underfoot or burned from spillage.

DIETARY INDISCRETION

We all like to include our pets in Holiday meals along with the rest of the family, but try to keep in mind that sudden rich diet changes are likely to upset a pet's stomach. Vomiting and diarrhea are not uncommon. If leftovers are of an especially fatty nature, the pancreas becomes inflamed and overloaded. This condition is serious and may require hospitalization

Staying active - Daycare may be the best option for your energetic dog to keep them trim and fit during the cold months.

 

 

Very high COVID-19 case activity levels

Wednesday saw another uptick in positive tests for the coronavirus in Door County right before Christmas.  Door County Public Health reported nineteen more confirmed COVID-19 cases.  Active cases increased by 16 to 350, countered by five new recoveries.  There were no recent hospitalizations in Door County as the total ever hospitalized stayed at 67.

 

Kewaunee County did not have a report Wednesday, and the next COVID-19 update will be on Monday, December 28. 

 

Kewaunee County has been showing a growing trajectory in COVID activity and experiencing very high case activity levels.  Door County is experiencing very high case activity levels with no significant change in disease activity.  Both counties have been downgraded from the “critically high” to the “very high” category since last month. 

 

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported over 2,500 new cases of COVID-19 and 69 more deaths on Wednesday.

 

Sturgeon Bay gets big harbor grant

The city of Sturgeon Bay is one of nine communities awarded a state grant that will boost economic development along its waterfront.  On Wednesday, Governor Tony Evers announced over $6 million in Harbor Assistance Program grants would be issued statewide.   Sturgeon Bay will receive $249,920 for Sarter Marine Towing to construct moorings and waterfront infrastructure at the west side’s Sawyer Dock.  Mayor David Ward says the Harbor Assistance Program is the third state grant the City has received this year.  He says making the dock area productive for Sarter Marine Towing is very important.

 

 

Sarter Marine Towing provides tugboat support to Finacantieri Bay Shipbuilding Company and other marine businesses.  Mayor Ward credits the City’s staff in pursuing state grants and finding money outside of property taxes to improve the community.  

Churches welcome believers for Christmas

Christmas Eve may be the first time many residents in Door and Kewaunee counties step into a church since the beginning of the pandemic. A Lifeway Research study shows that 61 percent of Americans attend church at Christmastime. In anticipation of the increased attendance, several churches are holding additional services and continuing their online offerings so people can still celebrate while doing so safely. Friends Community Church is holding two services this year on Christmas Eve. Pastor Nancy Bontempo hopes attendees realize that in a year of change, there is still one constant.

St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Luxemburg is holding its first service at 2:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve as a way to have its older population have a safe way to worship. Father Dan Schuster believes that even though this year is different, there is no reason why this Christmas cannot be joyful.

Pastor Jim Honig will be delivering his Christmas message in the parking lot at Shepherd of the Bay Lutheran Church in Ellison Bay. He wants attendees to drive away with a message of hope.

You can find a schedule of some of the local services being made available on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day below.

 

National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help, Champion, WI: MIDNIGHT MASS begins with group rosary at 11:30 PM (cst), Thursday evening, December 24, 2020 with Mass for the Solemnity of the Nativity of Our Lord offered at 12 AM (cst) Friday, December 25, 2020. CHRISTMAS DAY MASS begins with group rosary at 10:30 AM (cst)  Friday, December 25, 2020 and Mass for the Solemnity of the Nativity of Our Lord offered at 11 AM (cst) Friday, Dec. 25, 2020.

 

Shepherd of the Bay Lutheran Church, Ellison Bay, WI: Christmas Eve 1) Drive-in Candlelight Services at 4:00 & 7:00p.m. or 2)  Traditional Candlelight Service Video (available on church's website)

 

St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Algoma: Christmas Eve Candlelight Services 4:00pm, 5:30pm, and 8:00pm, Christmas Day Service 9:00am

 

Friends Community Church, Sturgeon Bay: Christmas Eve at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.

 

Immanuel Lutheran Church, Kewaunee: Christmas Eve - Thursday, December 24 at 4PM and Christmas Day - Friday, December 25 at 10AM

 

Algoma United Methodist Church: Christmas Eve service will premiere at noon on Facebook, YouTube, and church website

 

St. Mary's Catholic Parish, Luxemburg (SM) and Holy Trinity Parish, Casco (HT): 12/24 2:30pm (SM), 4:00pm (SM), 5:30pm  (HT), 8:30pm  (SM), 12/25 7:30am (SM), 9:00am (HT)

 

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Families prepare for unique holiday season

Kewaunee County UW Extension Family Development and Relationships Educator Renee Koenig is suggesting families get creative to make this year’s holiday celebrations more joyous. Health departments across the country are suggesting people celebrate Christmas with loved ones virtually or while practicing social distancing. This is in addition to not being able to celebrate the holidays with those that have passed away over the past year. Koenig says grief is a normal response during times like these. She says people should take advantage of technology to still connect with people and potentially start some new holiday traditions.

Koenig also suggests people reach out to others to make sure they are doing ok during the holidays and not be afraid to share their own feelings as well. You can find more tips on dealing with grief and loss during the holidays below.

 

FROM RENEE KOENIG

 

Grief, Loss and New Traditions during the Holidays

 

As the holiday season approaches and the weather gets colder, it may be more difficult to connect with people we care about.  With the COVID-19 pandemic, this holiday season will look different for many Wisconsin families and we may experience grief and loss.   Whether we’ve lost a loved one, we’re missing out on seeing family members, or we miss the normalcy or traditions, coping with these feelings can be challenging. 

 

Grief is a normal and natural response to the loss of someone or something important to us.  We all experience and express our grief differently.  Some common reactions include feeling empty and numb; physical responses such as nausea, change in sleep or eating patterns; crying or anger; or withdrawing from family, friends and common activities.

 

UW-Madison Division of Extension provides information about grief, including these suggestions:

  • Express your needs.  It’s alright to let people know what is and isn’t helpful right now.
  • Help someone else.  It may be helpful to volunteer or make a donation to a favorite cause in memory of what you have lost.
  • Give yourself time.  There is no set time to be done grieving, but grief usually softens and changes with time. 
  • Be aware of your feelings.  Allow yourself to mourn or feel sadness. 
  • Name your strengths and coping skills.  Consider other times of loss you’ve gone through.  What did you do to help get through it?  What skills can you draw upon now?
  • Stay connected.  Social distancing doesn’t have to prevent you from getting support.  Use phone calls, text messages, video chats and social media to stay in touch with family and friends who are positive and supportive. 
  • Limit your news intake.  Spending too much time reading or listening to news about the COVID-19 pandemic can cause you to focus heavily on what you’ve lost, as well as increase anxiety.  Find a balance to stay informed without being consumed by it.
  • Reach out to others for support.  Counseling and support services can be a guide through some of the challenges of grieving. 

 

The COVID-19 pandemic may prevent us from practicing some of our holiday traditions this year. 

Creating new holiday traditions can help us in our healing and increase our mental well-being. 

Think about what was important about the holiday traditions you aren’t able to do this year.  Then be creative in coming up with new ways to accomplish this while keeping everyone safe and healthy. 

 

For ideas and more information, visit our website at https://extension.wisc.edu/health/behavioralhealth/ and watch our recorded presentation at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6cFYsq5zUss&feature=youtu.be or call the Extension office 920-388-7137 to request a copy of materials be mailed to you. 

Little movement for potential city races

A few more pieces of paperwork were turned in the past seven days but the potential races for the city councils in Algoma, Kewaunee, and Sturgeon Bay do not look much different.

 

In Algoma, Mitch Groessl joined Jacque Wiese in declaring non-candidacy for their seats representing District 2 and 3 respectively. John Pabich and Lee Dachelet have taken out nomination papers for their re-election, but have yet to turn them in.

 

In Sturgeon Bay, Gary Nault is the only candidate to have turned in their nomination paperwork. Kirsten Reeths, Dan Williams, and Helen Bacon are still circulating their nomination papers to keep their seats on the Sturgeon Bay Common Council.

 

The path to the Kewaunee City Council remains crowded. Evan Gibbs, Jeremy Robillard and Wendy Shelton have taken out nomination papers to replace Jeff Dworak on the city council (COMMA) with Shelton already turning in the necessary signatures. Richard Taylor is the only person to take out nomination papers to replace David Kuehl and he has already returned them. District 1 alderperson Arthur Schiller is seeking to keep his seat on the city council and could face a challenge from former mayor John Blaha, who has already returned his paperwork. District 3 alderperson Joe Mills is also seeking to keep his spot and could have an opponent in Robin Nelson, who has returned her signatures. 

 

All election-related paperwork is due back to municipal offices on January 5th.

Holiday travel expected to be down

Local law enforcement encourages travelers to take the proper precautions for holiday travel this week, as the traffic volume is expected to decrease significantly compared to past years. AAA predicts that auto travel will be down nearly 30 percent from this Wednesday through January 3.   Door County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Pat McCarty suggests keeping an eye on the weather if you need to travel over the holidays.

 

 

Chief Deputy McCarty adds that local, and other law enforcement agencies, are engaging in the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign that is currently in effect through New Year’s.  He advises people that will be drinking to find arrangements to get home, like a designated driver. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that drunk driving takes the lives of more than 10,000 people every year in the United States. 

Poinsettia popularity still strong

Not even the COVID-19 pandemic can dampen the demand for Christmas's most popular flower. Larry Maas from Maas Floral and Greenhouse says the market for poinsettias has been so great this year that they ran out of poinsettias twice this month already and had to reorder more. He says red is still the most popular color requested, but white poinsettias this year stood out.

 

 

Maas says dyed poinsettia plants are popular, with several churches placing blue ones around nativity settings.  He adds that keeping your Poinsettia freshly watered and away from direct heat sources will make for a much healthier plant. 

COVID-19 cases slow locally, record deaths in state

The number of positive tests for the coronavirus in the area took a downturn on Tuesday. Only six additional COVID-19 cases were reported in Door County, with nine more recoveries noted. The active cases decreased by four and stands at 334. Hospitalizations did not increase on Tuesday as the total number of positive tests topped 1,900, with negative tests surpassing 12,000.


Kewaunee County Public Health reported 12 new cases of COVID-19 with 25 more recoveries on Tuesday. The active cases lowered to 102, with one less person hospitalized.  Health Director Cindy Kinnard noted that this would be the last update until December 28, 2020. During the week of December 28, updates will be abbreviated due to the State of Wisconsin announcing they will not be sending out their daily update until after the first of the year. 


The Wisconsin Department of Health Services announced a record-high of 120 additional deaths on Tuesday, along with 2,403 new cases of COVID-19.  

 

 

 

 

Three-car accident caps busy day

 

No one was hurt in a three-car accident Monday afternoon in Sturgeon Bay on a day that kept local law enforcement on their toes.

 

Just after 2 p.m., deputies were called to the intersection of Highway 42/57 and Idlewild Road. A vehicle was trying to cross the highway towards Idlewild Road when it struck another that was traveling southbound. A third car got involved in the accident as it sat at a stop sign. All three cars suffered damage but no one was transported to area hospitals.

 

It was the fourth accident Door County Dispatch was notified of on Monday, with two happening before 9 a.m. near Brussels and Sturgeon Bay respectively and a third occurring at around 10:30 a.m. north of the quarry on Bayshore Drive.

Peninsula State Park group wins partnership award

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources recognized the efforts of the Friends of Peninsula State Park on Monday with its annual partnership award. The group saw two of his major projects take major strides in 2020 thanks to over $1 million in fundraising. Over $360,000 was raised to build an addition to the nature center and another $750,000 was collected to construct a new Eagle Tower. Steve Strucely from the Friends of Peninsula State Park says the award is tremendous recognition for what they have been working so hard on over the last few years.

Both projects will still see some work done before they open for visitors. The Friends of Peninsula State Park is raising money to build an amphitheater and improve walkways near the nature center. Handrails and some other safety features still need to be installed at the new Eagle Tower, which is set to welcome visitors in the spring.

 

Picture courtesy of Friends of Peninsula State Park

Relief bill draws ire of local congressional members

Three local members of the United States Congress were left unsatisfied by Monday’s vote for a $900 billion COVID-19 relief bill and an over trillion-dollar stopgap measure to fund the government through September 30th.  The relief bill offers a $300-per-week supplemental jobless benefit and $600 to most Americans. It also provides subsidies to businesses heavily impacted by the pandemic and resources needed to help vaccinate the country. The 1.4  trillion appropriations bill offers additional money for food stamps, broadband expansion, clean energy,  and public transit. U.S. Representative Mike Gallagher voted against the House version of the bill, decrying the lack of time members of Congress had to read the over 5,700 page bill. The Green Bay Republican questioned how something like this could happen when the House has been on vacation for two-thirds of the year. Wisconsin’s Democratic U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin voted in favor of the bill but says it needs to do more. She is urging members of Congress to work with the Biden administration in the new year to pass additional relief. The state’s Republican U.S. Senator, Ron Johnson, echoed Rep. Gallagher’s sentiments about passing a bill with so little time to read its final texts. Speaking to DoorCountyDailyNews.com last week, Johnson said there is still a lot of money from the last COVID-19 relief bill that has been unspent.

President Donald Trump was expected to sign the bill on Tuesday. You can read the full statement from the local Congressional leaders online with this story.

 

STATEMENT FROM REP GALLAGHER

"Yesterday, members of Congress were advised that we should expect a vote on a more than two trillion dollar funding bill. Members had little clarity on the hundreds of significant provisions included, and no timeline as to when we could expect to see the text of a final agreement. 

 

"Then, after the white smoke rose out of the Speaker’s office last night, members were finally provided with the actual text of the agreement at approximately 2:00pm today. Now, after less than seven hours, we were expected to vote on a more than $2 trillion bill which is a whopping 5,593 pages -- more than twice as long as the Affordable Care Act and more than 1,000 pages longer than the entire Harry Potter series.  

 

"To state the obvious: no one knows what’s all in this bill because no one has actually read this bill. And while there are no doubt long overdue and badly needed provisions -- such as $28 billion to support the purchase and distribution of a vaccine -- they make up an incredibly small fraction of the nearly $2.3 trillion in spending that we voted on this evening.

 

"After being on vacation for more than three quarters of the year, there’s no reason why Congress should vote on a bill of this size on a few hours notice. If Congress was elected to simply be a rubber stamp of leadership, why even have a Congress?"

 

FROM SENATOR BALDWIN

“I am voting for the bipartisan COVID-19 relief legislation because Wisconsin needs help and it’s essential that Congress provide some now before the end of the year. But our job is not done responding to this public health and economic crisis. In January, we need to come back and start working together with the Biden Administration to provide federal support to Wisconsin that working families, our state, and local communities are going to need next year to get past this deadly pandemic and build back better.”

 

FROM SENATOR JOHNSON

“The dysfunction of Washington, D.C. was on full display as Congress combined covid relief with a massive omnibus spending bill three months past the deadline and into the current fiscal year. This monstrosity was 5,593 pages long, and passed only nine hours after the Senate first saw it. It will be weeks, maybe months, before we begin to understand all that has been included. I simply could not support this dysfunction, so I voted no.

 

“While I am glad a government shutdown was avoided and that financial relief will finally reach many who truly need it, the fact that this dysfunction has become routine is the reason we are currently $27.5 trillion in debt. This combined spending bill will drive our debt to over $29 trillion by the end of this fiscal year. I supported the CARES Act because we had to act quickly and massively to prevent an economic meltdown and to provide needed financial relief.  I also helped craft and voted for a bill in September that would have provided more than $600 billion in targeted relief, but Democrats simply voted no.

 

“We do not have an unlimited checking account. We must spend federal dollars — money we are borrowing from future generations — more carefully and place limits on how much we are mortgaging our children’s future.”  

COVID vaccines coming to Door County

Vaccines for COVID-19 will beat Santa Claus in its arrival to Door County. During its Facebook Live session on Monday night, Door County Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jim Heise said it would be getting its first allotment of COVID-19 vaccines later this week. The Moderna-produced vaccines will be made available first to health care workers and nursing home residents before going down the list of tiers established by the Centers for Disease Control. Door County Public Health Manager Sue Powers said some long-term care facilities in the area could be getting the vaccine as soon as next week. She adds that they have been planning the rollout for weeks, but everything is subject to change.

Both Powers and Heise said there is no sign-up list available right now, but there could be in the future as more people are inoculated and more vaccines become available. You can watch the full video of the vaccine-focused Facebook Live session below.

 

 

Death toll goes up

Kewaunee County reported two more COVID-19-related deaths on Monday as the total fatalities now stand at 30.


Coronavirus cases in Kewaunee County increased 37 over the weekend. Total recoveries eclipsed 1,900 as 61 more people recovered in Kewaunee County since last Friday. Active cases decreased by 26 to 115, and one new hospitalization was noted on Monday.


Door County Public Health disclosed 30 additional positive tests since Friday, with 31 more recoveries. Active cases went up six to 338 due to seven more "probable" cases. Hospitalizations in Door County also went up one.


Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported 1,435 new COVID-19 cases with 48 additional hospitalizations and eight more deaths on Monday. The DHS also announced that the state expects the Moderna vaccine to be delivered to hospitals and clinics this week. 

 

 

 

Area judge recalls Abrahamson friendship

Many thoughts come to Door County Circuit Court Judge Todd Ehlers' mind about Wisconsin State Supreme Court Justice Shirley Abrahamson: colleague, mentor, an occasional adversary, and most importantly, a good friend.  Abrahamson died late Saturday from pancreatic cancer, just two days after her 87th birthday.  Ehlers first met Justice Abrahamson after he was elected to the bench 19-years ago.  He says he didn't agree with some decisions she made, though he was impressed with her commitment to equal justice.

 


Judge Ehlers also says he was impressed by Justice Abrahamson's personal approach with circuit court judges in all 72 counties.  He recalled one time when she officiated at the wedding of one of her staff members in Door County.
 



Abrahamson was appointed to the Wisconsin Supreme Court in 1976 by then-Governor Patrick Lucey. In 1979 she was elected to the first of four, ten-year terms on the bench before retiring in 2019. She served as Chief Justice from 1996 until 2015, marking the longest tenure of anyone in that post.

 

(photo courtesy of Wisconsin Courts)

Five injured in Carlsville crash

A two-vehicle accident on Sunday south of Carlsville sent five people to the hospital with two suffering from serious injuries.  The crash report showed that the driver of a Chevrolet Impala, Donna McDonald of Sturgeon Bay, was traveling on Highway 42 south and failed to yield the right-of-way while turning left onto Townline Road.  McDonald’s vehicle was hit by a Toyota Scion driven by Kathleen Navis of Egg Harbor that was traveling north on Highway 42.  Navis and two other occupants in her vehicle were taken to the hospital with suspected minor injuries.   McDonald and her companion suffered suspected serious injuries, with McDonald later being airlifted to a Green Bay Hospital.  Door County Chief Deputy Pat McCarty says that no criminal charges are expected and with the initial investigation complete with appropriate citations pending.

 

 

The accident occurred at the intersection of Highway 42 and Townline Road shortly after noon on Sunday.  Traffic was down to one lane for over an hour while emergency crews responded to the incident.      

New hope for west side school project

There may be hope after all for new affordable housing at the former West Side School in Sturgeon Bay. Part of a string of resolutions passed by the Door County Board of Supervisors opened the door for a possible community block grant to be used at the site for a housing project. As a condition of the grant, at least 51 percent of the available units would have to be for low-to-moderate-income individuals. The board also approved a citizen participation plan and designated a committee to oversee hearings regarding the project. Door County Administrator Ken Pabich says it is a win-win for the county and the city, especially for those that were worried about the future of the adjacent park.

Pabich added the county and the city will announce more details when renderings are available. The Door County Board of Supervisors also passed a plan that would try to minimize the direct and indirect displacement of individuals from housing. Pabich says the string of resolutions were required to be eligible for the federal assistance.

Ephraim church rings bells for COVID victims

The bells ringing from Ephraim Moravian Church on Sunday gave those who heard them an opportunity to reflect on all that has happened in the past nine months. Pastor Dawn Volpe had the church bells ring 300 times on Sunday to represent the 300,000 American lives lost to COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. Door County itself has lost 13 people to the coronavirus. Volpe says she wanted to do something to commemorate the lives of those lost because of the disease that has kept Ephraim Moravian Church’s doors shut.

The bells rang at Ephraim Moravian Church to commemorate 200,000 lives lost back in September. Volpe hopes they do not reach the next milestone and they can soon worship together. Churches in Philadelphia, Washington D.C., and other parts of the country have done similar gestures to commemorate the lives lost to COVID-19.

 

Screenshot from video shot by Tad Dukehart

 

 

Staats pushes through as fire chief

Egg Harbor Fire Chief Andy Staats knows there is a lot to accomplish as his probationary period was officially lifted last week. Staats has been the subject of controversy since he was promoted to the position of fire chief after the retirement of Steve Schopf.  He promoted his brother Jason to assistant chief and his wife Ashley to captain/EMS crew chief. That triggered some members of the Egg Harbor Fire Department to take a leave of absence in protest of the decision before eventually getting fired. A petition to remove Staats as fire chief started two months and has since collected over 450 signatures. Staats knew his decision would generate some conversation but also knows he installed qualified individuals into those roles.

Staats believes the camaraderie in the department has actually improved over the last several months, even as the pandemic has caused them to interact a little differently.

He says they hired a couple of new firefighters in the last few months but added that they are like many volunteer departments across the country with their recruitment struggles.

 

Picture from Egg Harbor Fire Department

Gun locks promoted as simple and effective

Law enforcement agencies recommend cable gun locks for firearms owners in Door and Kewaunee counties to reduce the risks of accidental shootings, especially among children.  Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and the Wisconsin Department of Public Health show that 27 children were killed in accidental shootings between 1999 and 2014.  Door County Sheriffs Department Chief Deputy Pat McCarty says the department continues to use every opportunity to provide these simple tools to firearms owners.
 



Free cable gun locks are available at the Door County Sheriff's Department offices on S. Duluth Avenue in Sturgeon Bay during regular business hours.

Crossroads at Big Creek expecting more family outings

A nature preserve in Sturgeon Bay is expecting an even busier outdoor holiday season.  Despite the temporary closure of the John Collins Learning Center due to the pandemic, Crossroads at Big Creek has remained open for nature enthusiasts.  Program Director and  Naturalist Coggin Herringa says trail hikes during the holidays have become a tradition for many families. 

 


Herringa adds that free cross-country ski rentals this winter are still being planned on weekends, but Mother Nature must cooperate with some significant snowfall before the groomed trails open.  Crossroads at Big Creek has trails through the three properties on its 125-acre preserve; the main campus at Big Creek, the Cove property on Utah Street, and the Ida Bay land on Canal and Cove Road.  

 

(photo contributed)

Kewaunee Rescue giving the "gift of life"

A piece of equipment that can mean the difference between life and death has made its way into another Kewaunee organization.  Thanks to the Kewaunee Rescue Auxiliary, the Kewaunee County Historical Society now has an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) for the History Center.  Joe Steiner of Kewaunee Rescue says the more the life-saving equipment can be publicly accessible, the better chance for someone to survive from cardiac arrest.  The donated AEDs found throughout the community are compatible with the ones by the rescue squads. 

 

 

Steiner estimates that the portable, life-saving devices cost anywhere from $800 -$1600 with about 15 to 20 AEDs stationed in the Kewaunee community.

 

 

 

Shown Joe Steiner (Left) of the Kewaunee Rescue Auxiliary presenting to Brian Huben
(Right), Historical Society Board Member.  (Photo contributed)

Kewaunee band planning virtual performance

The Kewaunee High School music department has found it hard to showcase the band with active COVID-19 restrictions. Kelton Jennings, the band director from 5th to 12th grades, has found a unique way to keep his students performing. Jennings describes this new way as a "virtual band." He says this way is beneficial because it can include the fully virtual students and those "in-person." Jennings' way includes each student recording their part. Then he edits these recordings together to create a collage similar to a music video. Jennings himself is very excited about the potential that this form of performance brings.

 

 

The finished product will be band students and teachers who have volunteered to play an instrument. Although there is no release date for the performance, the finished collage of videos will be made available on the Kewaunee School District Facebook page after completion.

Rollover accident on Highway 42 near Carlsville

A serious one-vehicle rollover accident had Highway 42 near Carlsville down to one lane of traffic early Sunday afternoon.  The accident occurred at the intersection of Townline Road and Highway 42, just south of Carlsville.  Door County Sheriff's Department and other emergency agencies were at the scene until about 1:30 when both lanes of traffic were reopened.  The Door County Sheriff's Department personnel could not comment on the accident or the driver's condition at the scene.

 

DoorCountyDailyNews.com will have more information on Monday morning when more details are made available.

 

(photo submitted)

Sturgeon Bay lays out five-year street plan

The City of Sturgeon Bay is playing catch up on maintaining the streets.  In 2017, the Street Ad Hoc committee wanted to keep the 25-year replacement schedule in place, which required 2.7 miles of roadway to be maintained.   Nearly three miles of road work was completed this year, which was well above previous years.  About $500,000 was put into the street fund this past year from the general fund, which allowed roughly an extra mile of work.  Sturgeon Bay City Engineer Chad Shefchik informed the Board of Public Works this past week that the commitment helped offset inadequate street mileage completed in 2013 and 2014.

 

 

The city came in over 2.6 percent above the bid costs this year. 
That was about $16,000 over a $1,329,000 street budget. On Tuesday, the Board of Public Works unanimously approved the Five Year Capital Plan and authorization of the 2020-21 roadway improvement projects.     

Mental health response training ongoing for law enforcement officers

Law enforcement agencies in Door and Kewaunee Counties continually train officers on how to aid people with mental health issues during emergency calls.  That's become more prevalent as daily contact between those with mental health issues and law enforcement has increased. A survey by a retired police chief posted on MentalIllnessPolicy.org finds that just over 63-percent of the officers questioned are spending more time on responses involving those people with mental illnesses.  56-percent of those officers also say they're spending more time trying to link people in need with the proper treatment services.  Sturgeon Bay Police Chief Clint Henry says that's why his department makes mental illness response training a budget priority.

Officers who took part in the survey also say mental health-related calls take more time to process than domestic disputes, larcenies and traffic cases.

Long-term care facility glad that COVID-19 vaccine enroute

A Sturgeon Bay long-term care center is hoping for a happy and healthier 2021 after COVID-19 vaccines are administered to staff and clients.  Anna's Healthcare on S. 18th Avenue has been notified it will begin receiving the vaccine by month's end.  Surveys by the AARP Public Policy Institute and the Scripps Gerontology Center show Wisconsin had the sixth-highest rate of COVID nursing home deaths.  So, Tama Begley, the Administrator of the Anna's Healthcare facility, says getting the vaccine to staff and clients who want it is a necessity.

Begley says her long-term care center had a close call with COVID about two weeks ago when someone at the facility tested positive.  Isolation protocols,  masking, and social distancing procedures has paid off.  Tests that were taken this week came back negative.

Gibraltar records one-act winner

Gibraltar is used to having success at the state one-acts festival, but never quite like this. Earlier this month, six students presented the one-act play “Loose Parts,” which is a series of vignettes based on the lives of people coping with the pandemic in their own ways. Written by Gibraltar students Adela Tesnow and Lilliana Sweeney, the one-act play won state awards for its ensemble, director, and Critics Choice. Lexie Henkel and Audrey Viste also captured honors for their acting. The pandemic played in a role in the challenges the kids faced this year. Gibraltar High School students have not been in-person for instruction since March, so the actors had to record their parts remotely with sometimes no one to do the lines with. Director Liz Thomas says it made it difficult, but not impossible.

The production also had to deal with one member of the one-acts dropping out and poor Internet, but Thomas says the kids learned a lot through the experience. Luxemburg-Casco and Algoma also participated in the event.

 

Screen shot from "Loose Parts," which is featured below. Acting in Loose Parts includes Wyatt Beaudot, Lexie Henkel, Mak Koehler, Bekka Porter, Carlos Torres, and Audrey Viste.

 

 

Fire department acquires land for fill site

Two local businesses recently helped the Brussels-Union-Gardner Fire Department secure the land they needed to build an important water fill site pond. With the help of John and Polly Alberts and the owners of the Belgian Delight, the B.U.G. Fire Department will be able to build the water fill site pond near its station off of Highway DK. By having the water fill site pond located there, it will not only help the department in its response times to area fires, it also plays a crucial role in their training efforts. B.U.G. Fire Chief Curt Vandertie says it is just another example of the type of support they are blessed to have in the community.

Thanks to the support of the community both through grants, donations and volunteer hours, the water fill site pond and the accompanying dry hydrant piping will be installed at zero cost to the department’s budget and no impact on taxes.

New look for Algoma City Council coming

Two members of the Algoma City Council have indicated they may not be running for their seats in the spring.

 

District 2 alderperson Jacque Wiese has filed her non-candidacy papers while District 3 alderperson Mitch Groessl has told members of Algoma City Hall he will likely opt not to run for his old seat. He did leave the door open for a possible return to the post if no one else runs for the role. John Pabich has taken out nomination papers to run for his spot representing District 1. There has been no paperwork taken or filed for District 4, which is currently represented by Lee Dachelet.

 

The deadline to register and file nomination papers for a spot on the spring election ballot is January 5th.

Guide expects strong ice fishing season

The ice may not be forming everywhere quite yet, but professional ice fishing guide JJ Malvitz is shaping up quite nicely. The outdoor recreation industry has been booming all year long due to people limiting their travel. The Wisconsin Department of Tourism reported earlier this year a 100 percent increase in first-time fishing license sales this year. Malvitz says the early signs show people staying closer to home but still want to do something fun and socially distant.

He adds that each group has its own shack and he does not mix them together when they head out onto the ice. Ice fishing season traditionally begins in late December to early January, but milder than usual temperatures will likely push things off a little longer.

Christmas "star" viewing still on with DPAS

Stargazers will still be able to get expert guidance from the Door Peninsula Astronomical Society to view the “Christmas Star” conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter.  That's with COVID-19 precautions in place.  From Saturday, December 19th through Monday, December 21st,  the DPAS campus will be open to everyone hoping to glimpse the two largest planets in our solar system pass at their closet point since the Middle Ages.  By Monday evening it will almost appear that the two are one large planet in the western sky just after sunset.  Visitors will have to social distance and wear masks. Tom Gwilym, DPAS Vice President, also says the society's telescopes won't be available for use.  However, members will be on hand to help those who bring their own gear.
 



Gwilym recommends checking the Door Peninsula Astronomical Society Facebook page for updates on weather and sky conditions.    

Grocers keeping up with increase holiday demand

Less than one week from Christmas, local supermarkets are dealing with more store traffic and significant demand for cooking ingredients.  With more people expected to eat at home and travel less this holiday season, Tadych’s Econofoods Store Manager Jon Calhoun says the spikes in grocery store transactions have strained the food supply chain. Still, Tadych’s has been able to keep up to this point.  He says the baking goods have been even more popular this year. [CALHOUN]  Calhoun advises shoppers to pick up their holiday turkeys and hams soon because supplies could very well be tapped out by next week.  According to estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, sales at grocery stores increased nearly two percent in November despite overall retail sales declining last month.   Grocery store sales in 2020 have shown an increase of over 10 percent from last year through November.  Overall, the National Retail Federation has projected holiday sales this year to grow between 3.6 percent and 5.2 percent compared to 2019.

Four more COVID hospitalizations in Door County, Kewaunee adds one

On Friday, Door County Public Health reported another jump in new coronavirus cases with 31 more positive tests confirmed.  Active cases increased 19 to 332 with 11 recoveries noted.  Hospitalizations for COVID-19 went up four in Door County.

 

Kewaunee County Public Health disclosed 13 more COVID-19 cases on Friday with 20 new recoveries.  The active cases in Kewaunee County dropped eight to 133.  Kewaunee County now has five current hospitalizations after adding one more on Friday.    

 

Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported 3,325 new coronavirus cases with 60 more deaths confirmed and 145 additional hospitalizations. 

 

 

Door County YMCA to run holiday food programs

With school heading to winter break in the coming days, the Door County YMCA is offering two different food programs. The community foods program connects Sturgeon Bay youth with free lunches for the two week period. The organization is also joining forces with the Door County Food Pantry Coalition to distribute pantry bags at Southern Door Elementary School and the Door County YMCA’s Sturgeon Bay and Northern Door program centers. Tonya Felhofer from the Door County YMCA says if the on-going snack program is any indication, there is certainly a need out there for healthy food items for area families.

Registration is required for the community foods program before the distribution dates of December 21st-23rd and 28th-30th. No registration is required for the pantry bag pick-ups on December 23rd and 30th beginning at 3:30 p.m. Additional information is available below.

 

FROM THE DOOR COUNTY YMCA

 

On weekdays, the Door County YMCA will provide supper meals for youth 18 and under consisting of entrée items such as wraps, pasta salads, salads and sandwiches. Each meal will be served with fresh fruit, veggie, grain, protein and milk. These meals are distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis out of the Sturgeon Bay YMCA Program Center at 1900 Michigan Ave between 3:00 and 5:30 pm.

 

On Wednesday, December 23 and December 30, the Door County Food Pantry Coalition will be providing pantry bags available to ALL community members regardless of age on a first-come first serve basis. These pantry bags will feed a family of 4 for the weekend and will include non-perishable food items which will vary week to week. Distribution is at Sturgeon Bay YMCA Facility, Northern Door YMCA facility, and Southern Door High School (Door  #9) at 3:00 – 5:30 pm.

 

All meal pickups will be contactless. Drive up to the pick-up location and request the amount of meals/households you will be serving a volunteer will bring these meals out to you. No registration required.

Kewaunee County corrections processing goes down in 2020

Less time was spent by fewer people at the Kewaunee County Jail in 2020. Data provided by Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski shows 529 people being processed at the jail so far in 2020, down by about 100 compared to 2019. That helped keep the daily population average closer to its 22 person capacity at 23.5 people compared to approximately 33 the year before. The average stay also shortened by a day from nine to eight. Much like the number of dispatch calls it received in 2020, Joski believes the pandemic had something to do with the drop.

Joski says in many cases if the person was not a danger to the community, they opted for electronic monitoring over incarceration and other strategies to limit possible exposure. You can see more of a breakdown of the corrections numbers from Joski below.

 

FROM SHERIFF JOSKI

In this week’s article I would like to continue my yearend report by sharing some information and data in regards to our Jail facility. The current Kewaunee County Jail was built in 1968. It has a housing capacity of 22 with three short term holding cells which brings the total to 25. By law a county jail is intended to hold sentenced individuals for up to one year. Any sentences beyond one year are remanded to a state correctional facility. While we do hold the title of the oldest and smallest jail in the State of Wisconsin, I am deeply grateful to the County Board and the community in general for the support which has been provided in regards to the planning and ultimate updating of our facility. I will be providing an update on that planning process in an upcoming article.

 

          The Jail is staffed by 14 Deputies, who carry out the various duties which are set forth by state statute, federal law, as well as department policy. These men and women are also tasked with the duties of Dispatcher which is very unique in the State of Wisconsin. I believe that there are only a handful of Departments which are still configured in this manner and it speaks volumes as to the professionalism and competence of these men and women. In this year of COVID-19 their commitment has been tested as in no other year. We have taken numerous steps to minimize exposure to both them as well as the inmates in our care. This has meant modifying schedules, restricting access, and a constant regiment of cleaning and disinfecting.

 

           Every person arrested in Kewaunee County is processed through our jail and the following are some of the most common criteria for bookings so far in 2020 which stand at 529.

          The first is that we call non- custody bookings. These are bookings that occur when the individual is not physically arrested. This may be in the case where the offense was not immediately reported, and it is through investigations that the probable cause for an arrest summons was completed. It could also be where we are not able to locate the suspect at the time of the event, and we are able to send charges up to the District Attorney’s Office for his consideration. These bookings account for 274 of the total bookings.

 

           The next most frequent category is pre-sentence bookings at 142. These are bookings which are for those who are currently awaiting the completion of their court process but do not meet bail criteria. These can be some of our lengthiest stays as the legal process itself is complex and lengthy at times.

 

            In third place we have a tie between warrant pickups and probation holds. These two are actually quite similar as they are the result of a failure to comply with either a court order in the case of warrants or probation rules in the case of Community Corrections. These tend to be our shortest stays. But account for a great deal of the total bookings. If you have found yourself within the courts system it is vital that you understand and comply with the various courts dates as well as requirements so as to avoid being one the unfortunate within this category. The same is true for probation clients. Many of those on probation forget that this is a privilege and an alternative to incarceration which brings with it many rules. It is incumbent on the individual to know and comply with these rules to avoid a return visit to jail or in some cases a state correctional facility.

 

        So many ask what our daily population is here in Kewaunee County. Due to the pandemic, much of our criminal justice system has incorporated processes to limit the spread and as a result many court cases along with sentencing had been postponed, thus impacting our daily population and extending some stays beyond the traditional time period. As I stated earlier, our maximum capacity is 22 and to date for 2020 our daily population average stands at 23.5 with males representing 19.59 and females 3.91 throughout the year. The average stay is approx. 8 days with the shortest stay at approx. 1 hour and the longest stay at 576 days.

 

        To meet the daily overcrowding in our facility we make use of two primary resources; out of county facilities, primarily Door County, and the use of electronic monitoring. For the most part those who we send to Door County are the female inmates which take pressure off of our scheduling requirements to have both male and female staffing when we have females in our facility. Electronic monitoring is utilized for those who have been granted work release by the courts and meet the many requirements we have to guarantee compliance in return for this privilege. I want to acknowledge Lt. Chris VanErem our Jail Administrator for the amazing work that he and his staff do on a daily basis to balance the constant demands of the inmates, the courts, and the many regulations with the limited resources both in budget and facility.

 

          Along with the duties of Jailer and Dispatcher, these men and women also facilitate all of the transports which are required not only locally but many times across the state to bring inmates to Kewaunee County for court as well as monitoring the Huber Program (Work Release) and Court Security. These men and women give multi tasking a whole new dimension and we are fortunate to have them serving in these roles to keep our community safe. Contrary to some beliefs, these Deputies are Law Enforcement Officers just as their counterparts in Patrol and Investigations and are a vital component of the Criminal Justice System. Next week I will share some information from 2020 as it relates to our Patrol Division.

             

Batter up for Berns

John Berns has circled the base paths more than a few times in his lifetime and he has finally written it down. The Sturgeon Bay head baseball coach traded in his scorecard for a notepad to write his book “Nine Innings of Memories and Heroes.” Written with his friend Tom Roy, Berns highlights the different people in his life that have had a positive impact on his life and the lessons he learned. Some of those people include his father, his substitute little league coach, and other coaches in the sport of baseball. He hopes readers not only learn a little bit about his journey, but are also inspired to jot down a few memories of their own.

Berns is just as anxious to fill out a scorecard again as he is for people to read his book, which is available directly through him and online. He has not been able to coach baseball since last year due to the pandemic. You can hear our full conversation online with Berns on the NEWRadioSportsNetwork.com podcast page.

New condominium complex proposed in Sister Bay

A new 18 to 20 unit condo-boutique hotel is being proposed in Sister Bay.  Developer Al Gokey of Packerland Builders, who is finishing up the 14-unit Shore View Condos in Sister Bay as well, went before the Plan Commission earlier this month with his initial plans.  He says the new development would have a hydrotherapy spa and lounge designed to attract visitors in the winter months.

 

 

Gokey adds that the hotel will mainly be a Vacation Rentals By Owner (VRBO) and Airbnb.  The three-story complex would be located at the end of Maple Street behind the Sister Bay Yacht Club.  Gokey, who also built the Park View and Marina View condominium developments in Sister Bay, will present more details of the condo's dimensions and layout to the Plan Commission in January.

 

(photo submitted)

Kewaunee County tops 2,000 COVID-19 cases

Kewaunee County Public Health surpassed 2,000 total cases on Thursday as 26 more COVID-19 cases were confirmed.  The active cases in Kewaunee County increased to 141 and 20 new recoveries were recorded.   There was one additional person hospitalized.

 

Door County saw recoveries outnumber positive tests of COVID-19.  On Thursday, Door County Public Health reported 21 new coronavirus cases with 23 recoveries noted.  Active cases did increase four due to six "probable" positive tests. No recent hospitalizations were reported in Door County.

 

Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported that 3,643 more cases of COVID-19 were confirmed on Thursday, with 129 more hospitalizations and 59 additional deaths.

 

While all 72 counties are either in the critically high or very high category, 33 are experiencing a shrinking trajectory, compared to just 10 last week.  Door and Kewaunee counties are currently classified as very high.   

 

 

City of Sturgeon Bay explains property tax hike

Many Sturgeon Bay residents opened their mailed property tax bills this week and were surprised at a considerable tax increase from 2019.  City of Sturgeon Bay Administrator Josh Van Lieshout says he and several council members have been fielding many calls from residents and business owners about their tax bills.  The two main drivers determining property tax payments are the overall tax levy imposed on all property throughout the city, and the assessed land and improvements value. This year, the Sturgeon Bay City Council passed a $7.9 million levy for 2021, which was about a 1.1 percent increase over 2020.  The Sturgeon Bay Schools’ levy rose just over 19 percent, while the Door County levy went up about one percent, and the NWTC levy rose by 1.9 percent.  The city has been re-assessing properties for the first time in nearly 15 years, and Van Lieshout says residential properties showed the most significant increase in value.

 

 

Van Lieshout says the total value within Sturgeon Bay increased $124 million, with most of the levy burden falling on residential property.  He says that is why the city makes efforts to grow the commercial and manufacturing base to lessen the impact on residents.  The City of Sturgeon Bay did the assessments this year to address past “dark store” arguments and keep assessed values close to the fair market values in line with state statutes.  You can listen to the entire conversation with Josh Van Lieshout on the podcast page.

Senator hopes hearing addresses future election concerns

He knows it is unlikely to flip the result of the 2020 presidential election, but Wisconsin U.S. Senator Ron Johnson says Wednesday’s hearing was more about future voting practices. The Wisconsin Republican held the hearing as the chairperson of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee to address what he has called irregularities in the election, which include lax enforcement of laws, fraudulent votes, and corruption of voting machines. Former election security official Christopher Krebs disputed it during the hearing according to Politico, telling the committee the claims are “corrosive to the institutions that support elections.” Johnson says for four years Democrats were convinced Russians were to blame for voting intervention efforts that led to the election of President Donald Trump. Four years later, it is Republicans calling foul. He believes Americans need to be able to trust their elections.

Johnson is against the federal government taking over elections, but believes national standards could be used to restore trust in the process.

He added that a paper trail should exist for every ballot and there should be increased transparency for election results. Johnson believes the lack of transparency is leading to many of the lawsuits challenging the election results to be thrown out because the litigants do not have enough standing to bring the case forward.

Kewaunee City Council to get facelift

There will be at least two new faces on the Kewaunee City Council as municipalities statewide hit the halfway point to its nomination papers deadline.  

 

District 2 alderperson Jeff Dworak and District 4 alderperson David Kuehl will step down from their seats in April after filing their non-candidacy papers this month. Evan Gibbs and Wendy Shelton have taken out nomination papers to replace Dworak with Shelton already turning in the necessary signatures. Richard Taylor is the only person to take out nomination papers to replace Kuehl and he has already returned them. District 1 alderperson Arthur Schiller is seeking to keep his seat on the city council and could face a challenge from former mayor John Blaha, who has already returned his paperwork. District 3 alderperson Joe Mills is also seeking to keep his spot and could have an opponent in Robin Nelson, who has returned her signatures.

 

In Door and Kewaunee counties’ other two cities, Algoma has had no one take out nomination papers, including incumbents John Pabich, Jacque Wiese, Mitch Groessl, and Lee Dachelet. All of Sturgeon Bay’s incumbents up for re-election, which include Helen Bacon, Gary Nault, Kirsten Reeths, and  Dan Williams, have indicated they will run again. 

 

With the spring election scheduled for April 6th, nomination papers need to be returned to municipal offices by January 5th.

Heise leaving Egg Harbor post

Ryan Heise is moving on from his job as Egg Harbor Village Administrator to take a job a little closer to his hometown. Heise accepted an offer earlier this week to become the city manager for Saugatuck, Mich. The lakefront community of approximately 900 people is located 40 miles southwest of Grand Rapids. The Holland Sentinel reports the Saugatuck City Council unanimously picked Heise because of his experience with a tourism-driven town and a passion for environmental sustainability. Among Heise’s highlights in his five years on the job include the construction of the Kress Pavilion in 2018, the completion of the beach restoration, and the establishment of a public art initiative. He is sad that he will be moving away to take the position in the coming weeks, but he is proud of what he has been able to accomplish during his five years.

Heise says he has already notified the trustees of his pending resignation and will serve in his current role until possibly mid-February. The village will begin recruiting his replacement in the New Year. The move to Saugatuck will bring him closer to his hometown of Jackson, Mich., located approximately two hours away.

The L-C Food Pantry gets needed boost

After a successful food drive last weekend, the Luxemburg-Casco Marv Bins Food Pantry was able to restock its shelves during a crucial time of the year.  The "Fill the Shelves" event on Saturday was a drive-thru donation spot at St. Mary's Church parking lot in Luxemburg and Holy Trinity parish in Casco.  Director Jackie Peot says the food and money donations should keep the pantry stocked for the next few months.   She credits excellent community support for keeping the pantry continually stocked with food.

 

 

Peot adds that staples like soups, peanut butter, jams, canned vegetables, and fruits are useful items to donate.  She estimates that the Luxemburg-Casco Marv Bins Food Pantry benefits between 20 and 30 area families every month.  The pantry is currently open on the second and fourth Saturday of the month from 9 am until 11 am in Casco.  Starting on January 7, the pantry will also be available the first and third Thursday of the month from 5 pm until 7 pm for greater convenience for those who have to work.

Bruemmer Park Zoo metal menagerie grows

The Bruemmer Park Zoo in Kewaunee will add some animal attractions to some green space that will be accessible and safe for visitors.  The Kewaunee County Board of Supervisors accepted a $20,000 donation from Steven Bruemmer, a relative of those for whom the park is named.  That will be used to place life-sized metal statues of a lion, a rhino, a zebra, and an elephant.  David Myers,  Kewaunee County Promotions and Recreation Director, hopes the addition to the metal menagerie can draw more visitors and donors for future exhibits.

 



Myers says the zoo hopes to have the four additional animal statues in place by April 2021.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another area COVID-19 death, over 50 new cases

For the second consecutive day, Door County Public Health reported a coronavirus-related death.  On Wednesday, the death toll rose to 13 in Door County while Kewaunee County remained at 28, after three deaths earlier this week.  

 
Door County had 26 more people test positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday, with active cases going up 14 and 10 recoveries noted.  Kewaunee County also reported 26 new coronavirus cases with 18 new recoveries and active cases rising eight to 135.  


There were no new hospitalizations recorded in either Door or Kewaunee counties on Wednesday.  


The Department of Health Services reported a decline in cases with 2,402 confirmed positive tests and 146 more hospitalizations on Wednesday.  The death toll in Wisconsin went up 74 to 4,196. 

 

 

 

 

County approves next phase of Cana Island, Washington Island projects

The Door County Board of Supervisors gave approval to two resolutions on Tuesday aimed at giving a pair of historic buildings new life.

 

The board first approved entering phase 1 of a plan to turn the historic Island Dairy building on Washington Island into a new emergency medical services facility. It coincides with the county working with Samuels Group Inc. for design work.

 

The board also agreed to start the fourth and final phase of the Cana Island restoration project. It includes working with the Door County Maritime Museum to secure enough funds to restore the lighthouse keeper’s quarters to its former glory. The building had previously been used not just as a museum but it also housed a small gift shop.

 

Restoring historic buildings for government use is nothing new for Door County after it was able to turn its old highway shop into the new Aging and Disability Resource Center and EMS facility a few years ago. Door County Administrator Ken Pabich says it is a win for everyone when they are able to do so effectively and cost-efficiently.

The Door County Board also approved the donation of approximately 43 acres of land near the Door/Kewaunee border that Pabich says will be a part of the park system in the future.

Habitat, Marvin family dedicate 43rd home

With a few Christmas ornaments twinkling in front of them, Door County Habitat for Humanity welcomed the Marvin family home in a dedication ceremony held in Baileys Harbor Tuesday afternoon. The dedication marked the 43rd home built by Door County Habitat for Humanity, a feat construction supervisor Chuck Stone called their most challenging build yet. COVID-19 halted construction by two months and delayed outside contractors from coming in as they worked on their own backlog. Keeping the project close to budget was also a hard task as costs for some materials went up. Despite this, new volunteers were able to help the organization’s reliable workforce get the home ready enough that the Marvins may be able to move in sometime next week.  Door County Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Lori Allen told the crowd of volunteers and community members she was not about to let the pandemic get in the way of the Marvin family becoming homeowners.

The moment was not lost on 16-year-old Emiliano Marvin. He told the story of how his dad Doug described the Habitat for Humanity partner family process and the disappointment of not being chosen that he was preparing for.  Instead, the Marvins were chosen and logged hundreds of sweat equity hours to make the home a reality. He is happy that at least for now there is no moving from place to place and is appreciative for everything the community did for them.

The dedication ceremony also included the presentation of a bookshelf from Altrusa Door County, a tool kit from Door County Habitat for Humanity, a bible from St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, and a full pantry and freezer thanks to the generosity of students at St. Peter Lutheran School and local businesses. You can watch the full ceremony below.

 

 

Sister Bay burglary suspect arrested

A 30-year old Liberty Grove man is behind bars after burglarizing a Sister Bay pharmacy early Monday morning.

 

Deputies arrived at Hometown Pharmacy in the Country Walk Shops during the early morning hours in response to an alarm. Upon arrival, Christopher Bartoli was attempting to leave the storefront with a large bag containing a cash box, a ball-peen hammer, a box cutter, and over 125 bulk prescription medication boxes and bottles. The initial investigation suggests he broke the glass out of the front door to get inside the pharmacy. Following Bartoli’s arrest, his vehicle was towed and a search warrant of his Liberty Grove home was executed. As a result, he may also be charged with possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia in addition to burglary.

 

The investigation is ongoing and Bartoli will remain in the Door County jail pending a $5000 cash bond.

 

Photo from Door County Sheriff's Department

City of Sturgeon Bay approves amendment to granary development

The Sturgeon Bay Common Council approved the amended development agreement between the City and the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society Tuesday night. The second amendment passed by a 5-2 vote with councilmembers Gary Nault and Kirsten Reeths voting no. City Attorney James Kalny informed the council that the agreement would include changing the project from a restoration of the Teweles & Brandeis granary to a renovation. The completion date would be pushed back one year to June 1, 2022. He shared the change in the footprint of the granary that required the second amendment.

 

 

In other business Tuesday night, the Sturgeon Bay Common Council approved the deactivating of the emergency sirens used to notify the public outside of tornadoes. Fire Chief Tim Dietman said that six sirens are 24 years old and need significant repairs that would cost over $20,000 for each one.

 

City Administrator Josh Van Lieshout reported that the old Westside School is again a potential housing project. Andy Dumpke from Northpointe Development, who initially proposed a 50-unit apartment complex that included the westside ballfield location, is now looking at a potential 15-17unit apartment within the old building. The renovation project would be eligible for the one-time state Community Development Block Grant through Door County, amounting to $1.4 million. According to Van Lieshout, half of the housing would have to be for low-to-moderate-income (LMI) renters. 

 

(Note: The Teweles & Brandeis granary is owned by the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society.  No city tax money is being used for the restoration or maintenance of the building)

Anderson remembered for community involvement

A Sturgeon Bay businessman is being remembered for his passion for many community-based projects.  Roger Anderson passed away last Friday, one day after celebrating his 77th birthday.  According to his obituary, Anderson owned and operated Sturgeon Bay Metal Products after taking it over from his parents with his wife, Sandy.  Anderson was also active with the Rotary Club of Sturgeon Bay for many years and co-chaired the Rotary Environmental Protection Committee with Greg Meissner.  Having worked on many community projects, including Little Lake's restoration with Anderson, Meissner says he was very generous with his time, talents, and resources.

 

 

Meissner says Anderson's community impact will be greatly missed and that Sturgeon Bay is a better place because of all his efforts.  You can read the complete obituary for Roger Anderson with this story at DoorCountyDailyNews.com.   

 

 

 

https://doorcountydailynews.com/obituaries/545786

COVID-19 death toll goes up three in area

Kewaunee County reported two more COVID-19-related deaths on Tuesday, and Door County confirmed another one as well. The total coronavirus death count is now 28 in Kewaunee County and 12 in Door County. 

 

Door County Public Health disclosed five additional positive tests on Tuesday, with 13 more recoveries.  Active cases lowered by eight and hospitalizations went up one in Door County.

 

COVID-19 cases in Kewaunee County increased 21, bringing the total to nearly 2000 positive tests.   Total recoveries eclipsed 1,800 as 12 more people recovered in Kewaunee County.   Active cases went up seven to 127 and one new hospitalization was noted on Tuesday.

 

Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported 3,501 new COVID-19 cases and 54 more deaths on Tuesday.  The increase in cases statewide has decreased significantly since the record high of 8,510 on November 18.

 

 

Kewaunee County looks to improve housing stock

Over 60 percent of homes in Kewaunee County were built before 1970, and Administrator Scott Feldt would like to see that number change. Earlier this month, the Kewaunee County Executive Committee discussed the final draft of a housing study it did with help from Bay-Lakes Regional Planning. The study showed that even though the county’s population is expected to decline after 2030, there is a demand for housing across all sectors. That includes single-family, workforce, senior, and rental housing options. Feldt says that with help from the board, it needs to find ways to help encourage more development.

Feldt says you always want a stock of new housing available for people looking to upgrade from their current living situation. County officials and Bay Lakes Regional Planning will comb through the plan one more time before presenting the information to the board in the near future.

Fatal Casco crash victim identified

The Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department identified the 54-year-old Forestville man who died after a single-vehicle accident in Casco on Saturday.

 

According to the department’s release, Thomas P. Geldmeyer was behind the wheel when he lost control of his sports utility vehicle traveling westbound on State Highway 54 near South View Lane after hitting some ice. The vehicle rolled over several times after going into the ditch, ejecting Geldmeyer out of the vehicle.

 

His passenger, a 55-year-old Forestville woman, was also injured in the accident but has not been identified and her condition has not been updated. The crash remains under investigation by the Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department.

Peninsula Preschool practicing patience

Peninsula Preschool is committed to waiting out the pandemic before it welcomes back students again. Based in the basement of the Village of Ephraim Administrative Center, Peninsula Preschool has not welcomed back students since they closed back in March. A recent meeting of its parent-led board reinforced their decision to stay closed for at least another six weeks. It comes as Gibraltar Elementary students begin their second week of a hybrid schedule that sees the building at 50 percent occupancy on a daily basis. The district’s high school students will be the last in the peninsula to return to in-person instruction when they start on January 11th. Peninsula Preschool Director Jill Harkaway says she will keep a close eye on how Gibraltar handles having students back in the building as other districts in Door and Kewaunee Counties have had sporadic returns to virtual learning.

Harkaway adds that parents were concerned their kids would not be able to see grandparents or other at-risk people if they attended in-person classes. Those families have been able to make other accommodations as the center has been closed. Preparations are underway for the day when Peninsula Preschool will be back in session for its three and four-year-old students. Enrollment has declined since the pandemic started and Harkaway has been looking at ways to expand their outdoor learning spaces so students can learn in a safer environment.

 

Picture from Peninsula Preschool taken before the pandemic

Door County vaccines a waiting game

The first COVID-19 vaccines were distributed in the state on Monday, but Door County residents will have to wait a little longer. Door County Medical Center announced on Monday it did not have a supply of vaccines to distribute to the community and it was not taking any appointments from patients to receive them. Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jim Heise says a big reason for that is the vaccines themselves. The first vaccines to be distributed were by Pfizer, which needs to be kept at extremely cold temperatures. Those will be distributed via a “hub-and-spoke model,” which means the vaccines will come from a central location like Green Bay before going out to other health care partners. The vaccine produced by Moderna, which can be kept in a standard refrigeration unit, just received its endorsement for emergency use from the Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday morning. Heise says he is not sure which one the hospital will receive.

Heise adds that even once Door County does receive COVID-19 vaccines, you will have to fall into certain categories to be eligible.

Until you get vaccinated, Heise recommends getting tested when you show symptoms and follow the proper COVID-19 mitigation practices such as social distancing and masking. You can listen to our full discussion online on our podcasts page.

Sturgeon Bay gets look at granary concept

The second amendment to a development agreement between the City of Sturgeon Bay and the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society will be discussed at the upcoming Common Council meeting Tuesday evening.  The development agreement was amended once about a year ago to shift ultimate ownership of the Teweles & Brandeis Granary from the City to the Historical Society.  City Administrator Josh Van Lieshout explains the reason behind the second amendment.

 

 

The Sturgeon Bay Common Council will also have a second reading for modifying the zoning code in the commercial district that would relax the residential to commercial-use ratio to allow for more property flexibility.  The Board of Public Works will meet prior to the regular meeting to approve the Five Year Capital Plan and 2021 Roadway Improvements at 5:30 pm.  You can find the entire agenda and packet for Tuesday’s meeting below.  

 

(photo is a scematic rendering of granary included in packet)

 

City Council meeting agenda

Think safety first with Christmas trees

As many families take part in putting up fresh Christmas trees in their homes, local fire department officials remind people to take precautions to prevent a disaster.  According to the National Fire Protection Association, Christmas trees alone result in over 14 million dollars of property damage annually.  Brussels-Union-Gardner Assistant Fire Chief Jim Wautier shares sound safety tips to follow. 

 

 

When decorating the tree, Wautier recommends using the new LED lighting which is much cooler than incandescent lights.  He also reminds us that tree lights should always be turned off before leaving the house or going to bed.  You can find more fire safety tips for your home with the link below.

 

https://www.christmastreeassociation.org/fire-safety-tips-for-your-christmas-tree/

Another COVID-19 death

On Monday, the Kewaunee County Public Health Department reported the 26th COVID-19 death in the county since April.  All but two of the deaths have occurred in the past ten weeks.  Kewaunee County noted 30 new coronavirus cases since Friday with a positivity rate reflecting 31.6 percent.  Active cases decreased to 120 with 33 new recoveries noted in Kewaunee County with a second hospitalization.  


Door County added 15 more positive tests and reported 57 new recoveries.  The active cases dropped 33 to 303, with the nine more “probable” cases factored in.  No new hospitalizations were disclosed.

 

On the day that vaccines arrived in Wisconsin, the Department of Health Services reported 2,122 new coronavirus cases in the state as well as 12 additional deaths. 

 

 

 

 

Coalition hopes recommendations come with action

The Climate Change Coalition of Door County believes the release of a task force report from the state will lead to meaningful action down the road. 

 

The Governor’s Task Force on Climate Change released its final report last week, which included 55 recommendations to help combat its impact. Some of those recommendations include additional funding for farmers to adopt more sustainable practices, enacting policies to promote public transportation, and reducing carbon emissions and food waste. The task force, chaired by Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes, was made up of a bipartisan collection of legislators, farmers, environmentalists, tribal leaders, and business community members. Climate Change Coalition of Door County Coordinator Nicole Matson is encouraged by the report and hopes it turns into action.

The Capital Times in Madison suggests some of the recommendations could be implemented as items in next year’s budget or by executive order, they could also be stripped out and not considered again.

 

Photo from LNRP

Mobile home catches fire Sunday

The Sturgeon Bay Fire Department is still investigating a mobile home fire that occurred Sunday afternoon.

 

Crews were dispatched just after 1:15 p.m. Sunday afternoon to 1613 Erie Street where they found flames and smoke coming up from under the mobile home. It took five trucks and 11 firefighters to put out the fire before they were able to clear the scene approximately two hours later. Sturgeon Bay Assistant Fire Chief Kalin Montevideo says most of the damage was kept to the bottom of the mobile home.

 

No cause has been determined and Montevideo added the fire remains under investigation.

Luxemburg pastor emeritus passes

Retired Pastor Milton Suess of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Luxemburg and Holy Trinity Church in Casco has died. Suess passed away on Sunday due to complications from pneumonia. He served over 55 years in the Catholic ministry, including almost forty for the twin parishes. He also served churches in Green Bay, St. Anna, Pilsen, and Oneida. St. Mary’s Parish Council President Rod Mleziva knew Suess before he began attending mass at the church 30 years ago. Mleziva says Suess was a man who got along with everybody.

The funeral is set for 11 a.m. on Thursday, but Mleziva says it will be a large undertaking because of the number of people who will want to give their last goodbyes. Suess was 84 years old.

Land Trust balancing acquisition with management

The Door County Land Trust takes in many considerations when it comes to managing and procuring properties in the area.  Executive Director Tom Clay says the organization works with many landowners to protect more than 8,500 acres of fields, wetlands, farmlands, and shoreline.  He shares how the Door County Land Trust evaluates each property differently, depending on where it’s located.

 

 

Clay says the Door County Land Trust assesses the conservation value and determines the needs.  From there a formula is calculated for the conservation stewardship going into the future.  Each year, 12 months are given from the time of purchase to actually fund the endowments and legal defense to make sure properties can be financed long-term.  The Door County Land Trust owns about 60 percent of the properties outright while the other 40 percent are conservation easements.

Sturgeon Bay couple providing meals on Christmas Eve again

The Starr family in Sturgeon Bay is keeping a relatively new Christmas tradition going despite having to make adjustments this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.   The past two years the Starrs have invited community members over for dinner on Christmas Eve.  Like two years ago, the meals will be offered at the Knights of Columbus building but this time on a drive-thru basis only to safely provide for others.  Carrie Starr says her family feels it is important to be there for the community and for those who may feel alone during Christmas.

 

 

About 75 people attended the dinner last year.  This year’s community Christmas Eve dinner will be from noon until 2pm and any leftovers will be given to a homeless shelter.

 

 

 

Boys and Girls Clubs looks ahead to post-pandemic

As Christmas approaches, the Boys and Girls Club of Door County is looking toward the New Year.  The club had been seeing increased demand from working families up for after school and some weekend activities until the COVID-19 pandemic.  Executive Director John McMahon says even though club facilities have been underutilized since March the Boys and Girls Club is preparing for post-pandemic operations.

 



The organization's 2021 capital campaign goal is 
$40,000. Donations can be made at the Boys and Girls Club of Door County website https://bgcdoorcounty.org/ until December 31st.

Difficulty in leaving abusive relationships

A local advocacy group that addresses domestic violence wants to change the social viewpoint to focus on the abuser.   Help of Door County Executive Director Milly Gonzales says too many people wonder why victims have a difficult time leaving abusive relationships, rather than why doesn’t the abuser stop his or her behavior.  She says the most dangerous time for victims is at the time they leave the relationship.

 

 

Gonzales notes that domestic abuse is about power and control.  When abusers lose control they tend to lash out to deter the loss of power.  In 98.3 percent of the cases of domestic violence, the abuser controls the finances in the home.  Gonzales adds that affordable housing, child care, and employment challenges due to the pandemic are reasons people choose to stay or return to dangerous relationships.  Help of Door County has resources to devise a safety plan for victims as they make difficult decisions surrounding their family.  You can find more information on Help of Door County services at www.helpofdoorcounty.org.        

Year end estate planning important to review

Keeping your estate plan updated is as important as preparing your personal taxes in the New Year, according to one estate planner.  Attorney Bob Ross of Ross Estate Planning in Sturgeon Bay says reviewing and updating one's estate plan should also be done when changes occur in your family.  He says one should take note of life-changing events that may affect your estate.

 

 

Ross says people may want to make changes to their advance financial and health care directives as well as take advantage of charitable contributions for tax purposes before the New Year.

One dies, one hospitalized in Casco crash -- UPDATE

A Forestville man died and his passenger was injured Saturday evening after a single-vehicle rollover crash in the town of Casco.

 

Just after 7 p.m., the Kewaunee County Sheriff's Department responded to the crash near the intersection of State Highway 54 and South View Lane where an SUV was found in a ditch. The initial investigation shows the driver, a 54-year-old Forestville man, lost control of his sports utility vehicle on an icy stretch of road. The vehicle traveled across the road, into a ditch, and ejected the driver. His passenger, a 55-year-old Forestville woman, was trapped inside the vehicle and had to be extracted by the Luxemburg Fire Department.

 

Both individuals had to be transported to a Green Bay hospital. An updated release from the Kewaunee County Sheriff's Department states the driver succumbed to injuries sustained in the crash after arrival to the medical facility.  The woman suffered what was described as non-life threatening injuries and her condition is unknown at this time. The name of the driver will not be released until after family notification.  The Casco-Lincoln-Red River First Responders were also called onto the scene of the incident, which is still under investigation by the Kewaunee County Sheriff's Department.

Search for new KCEDC Executive Director begins

The search is on for a new Kewaunee County Economic Development Corporation Executive Director.  The organization has been operating with its chairperson Amber Hewett as its acting executive director since it let Richard Baker go back in October. The hope is the new executive director will be able to help promote, serve, and support the community for new business development and start-ups. Hewett adds they are thinking outside of the box with the hire.

The Kewaunee County Economic Development Corporation will accept applications through December 21st.

Principal sees opportunity in pandemic

Southern Door High School Principal Steve Bousley is appreciative of the lessons being taught to students on a daily basis thanks to the pandemic.  As of December 4th, there was only one positive case and 47 in quarantine among its students and staff members. While the volleyball team chose to wait until spring for their season, the cross country and football teams were able to navigate their seasons without any cancelations. Many of the other activities, although altered for safety concerns, have been able to be held. Bousley says students and staff members have been able to work together on decision making while instilling a sense of optimism and resiliency.

He adds it is important to be able to continuously improve how they present academics to their students both learning in-person and virtually. Southern Door students head out on winter break after classes on December 18th.

Baldwin takes aim at student loans

Wisconsin U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin is looking towards future relief for student loan borrowers after having legislation pass against scammers earlier this week.  On Monday the U.S. House of Representatives passed a version of her bipartisan Stop Student Debt Relief Scams Act after last week’s passage in the Senate. The bill heading to President Donald Trump’s desk enhances the enforcement of federal crimes against scammers and requires the U.S. Department of Education to maintain a record of how it is protecting its borrowers. With student loan debt hovering around $1.7 trillion, Baldwin says students do not need any other factors working against them.

As for recent calls in favor of forgiving student loan debt, Baldwin says she would be in favor of it as a way to help stimulate the economy.

Student loans have been a major part of the conversation on Capitol Hill in recent weeks with Democrats urging Joe Biden to forgive up to $50,000 in student loan debt when he takes office. The Trump Administration recently announced student loan borrowers would not have to make payments on loans until February.

Sprunger embraces community in first year

Pastor Matthew Sprunger never thought he would have to lead his congregation through a pandemic during his first year on the job. Sprunger took over the role at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Kewaunee after Pastor Michael Sullivan answered the call of a congregation in Ottawa, Canada. He previously served congregations in North Dakota and Minnesota. A few months after beginning his tenure, Sprunger had to learn how to connect with his members through primarily virtual means until churches were able to slowly reopen in late May. Sprunger says he has learned a lot about himself during this time, even though it was nothing new.

Sprunger says he, his wife Katy, and their two sons have enjoyed the time they have spent in Kewaunee, especially the people their church serves.

Resumption order for DACA applications applauded

Advocates for Hispanic workers and their families in Door and Kewaunee Counties are pleased with a federal judge's order to resume accepting applications for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.  The DACA program protects those brought to the U.S. as children by undocumented immigrants.  The program was put on hold by the Trump Administration in July 2017.  Imelda Delchambre, with the Hispanic Resource Center of Door and Kewaunee Counties, says the decision will help put many area families' minds at ease.

The federal judge's order requires the Department of Human Services to publish notices on websites that first time and renewal DACA applications are being accepted.

 

Picture courtesy of UW-Extension

Live and socially distanced music coming to Egg Harbor

Live music is coming back to Door County in mid-winter.  The Peninsula Music Festival has scheduled February Fest concerts over three consecutive Sundays.   The chamber music concerts will be held at the Donald and Carol Kress Pavilion in Egg Harbor starting February 7th.  Festival Executive Director Christoph Ptack says the pavilion's success in hosting smaller social events helped his organization decide to reopen on a smaller scale while also observing full COVID-19 precautions.

Each Peninsula Music Festival performance in February is limited to 50 people each.  Ptack says the public response has been enthusiastic.

 At the same time, other performing arts organizations in Door County like Midsummer's Music and Northern Sky Theater have opted to go with virtual seasons for the time being.

 

Picture courtesy of Peninsula Music Festival

Mattson performing free virtual concert

Nationally-recognized musician Eli Mattson will be performing a free, virtual concert Saturday evening from the Southern Door Auditorium.  “Home for the Holidays” will be Mattson’s first attempt at a holiday concert.  He is excited to play some requested songs by some friends and followers as well as his personal favorites.

 

 

Mattson gained national acclaim in 2008 by finishing second on the America’s Got Talent TV show with his powerful voice and piano skills. He currently lives in Sturgeon Bay after returning to the area after a brief stay in New York City last year.  The free holiday concert begins at 7 pm Saturday and is hosted on the Southern Door Community Auditorium’s Facebook Live site.  The event is sponsored by Door County Medical Center.  You can listen to a conversation with Eli Mattson on the podcast page.

 

https://www.facebook.com/events/2833033800284220

Food drive organized by Algoma American Legion 

A local veterans organization is stepping up to help those in need for the holidays.  The American Legion Ernest Haucke Post 236 in Algoma is holding a food drive for the Kewaunee County Food Pantry this weekend.  American Legion member Bill Vinnes says this is the first time his organization has been involved in a food drive and is hopeful that it will be impactful during these challenging times.  He notes that many community members are hurting financially and need support.

 

 

The food drive will take place at the Legion Hall in Algoma from noon until 2 pm both Saturday and Sunday.  All non-perishable foods and household goods will be accepted over the weekend.  Vinnes adds that his American Legion Post will deliver the all items donated to the Kewaunee County Food Pantry next Tuesday to keep the shelves stocked prior to the holidays. 

Recoveries keeping pace with positive tests

A consistent increase of COVID-19 cases and recoveries continued in the area this week.  Nearly 50 more cases were added Friday in Door and Kewaunee counties combined.   Door County went up 20 more cases of COVID-19 on Friday.  Active cases went up only two as recoveries matched the positive tests and probable cases decreased by two.

 

Kewaunee County saw another 29 positive tests returned but active cases went down to 124 with 33 new recoveries and one hospitalization reported. 

 

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services noted 3,858 new coronavirus cases on Friday and 47 additional deaths.  The state also disclosed 145 more hospitalizations.  The state has shown a decline in daily positive tests since the record- high of 8,510 coronavirus cases was reached on November 18. 

 

 

Marijuana decriminalization efforts applauded

Door County supporters of marijuana decriminalization efforts say they're encouraged by recent actions in Madison and Washington D.C.  The U.S. House of Representatives last week approved the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act.  The bill would remove weed from the federal Controlled Substances Act and rescinds prior convictions for marijuana growing and possession.  At the same time, the City of Madison Common Council last week approved three ordinances that allow anyone 18 and older to have 28 grams of marijuana and for use in public places where smoking tobacco is allowed, while banning its use on buses and within a thousand feet of a school building.  Door County Supervisor Megan Lundahl has supported past marijuana legalization proposals.  She says both efforts are steps in the right direction.

Sturgeon Bay Alderperson Seth Wiederanders believes the benefits of legal marijuana far outweigh the risks.

Driving under the influence of and selling or attempting to sell marijuana will remain illegal in the City of Madison.  Under the federal MORE Act a 5% sales tax would be added to marijuana products.  That would go toward job training and substance abuse treatment. While it has been approved by the U.S. House of Representatives, it's expected to be defeated in the U.S. Senate.

Committee rejects proposal for Marquette School site

A proposal to build “twindominiums” on the former site of Marquette School was rejected by the Kewaunee Historical Preservation Committee.  Developer Jeff Wellhouse proposed constructing four units containing two single-family homes sharing a common wall.  Wellhouse told committee members Thursday night the design is a far different concept than traditional duplexes.  Wellhouse believes his project will benefit property owners surrounding the vacant site.

 


The property's long history as a school site ended with the building's demolition in 2017.  Neighbors, like Kirt Johnson, say the property should continue to be utilized for community use.

 




In the end, the Kewaunee Historical Preservation Committee voted 6-2 against issuing a certificate of appropriateness for the twindominium project.  Jeff Wellhouse has the option of appealing the committee's decision to the Kewaunee Common Council in 30-days.

 

(Photo of old Marquette School courtesy of Wisconsin Historical Society)

Dispatch calls go down in Kewaunee County

Workers at the Kewaunee County Dispatch Center were kept busy in 2020, but not as busy as they have been in the past. As of Tuesday, Kewaunee County has received 8,854 calls for service from the dispatch center in 2020. There were about 900 more calls at the same point last year. There have been 1,036 rescue calls, which has been the most frequent in 2020 but is down a couple of dozen from 2019. Hangups were the second most common at 1049, and increase of over 200 from 2019. Even with the impact of the safer at home order earlier this year, Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski was a little surprised with how the numbers shook out.

Joski saluted his dispatch center staff for handling a wide variety of calls throughout the year and making sure the right people get the information that is needed.

 

FROM SHERIFF MATT JOSKI

As we come to the end of 2020, I thought I would use this article as well as the next few as a format to share some yearend statistics on the various components of the Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department. I like to consider this my version of an annual report, and welcome any questions or feedback on the information provided.

         I would like to begin by going over some numbers from the perspective of our Dispatch center. The Kewaunee County Dispatch Center serves as the primary answering point for all 911 and other emergency calls throughout Kewaunee County. We also dispatch and page for all of our local Fire EMS and Law Enforcement agencies. We are unique in Kewaunee County that we dual role our staff as both Dispatchers and Jailers. In most other counties there are two dedicated Jailers and two dedicated Dispatchers. Kewaunee County has financially benefitted from this arrangement for years, and it is a testament to the quality of our staff that they are able maintain a high level of effectiveness and proficiency in both of these areas.

         In 2020 to date we have handled 8,584 calls for service, which projects to over 9,364 calls before the year’s end. Last year at this time we had 9,484 calls, so we are actually down a bit. I would like to go over some of the most common calls which we receive and some background to the nature of these calls.

        The highest frequency of calls that we receive are categorized as “Rescue Calls” which account for 1,036 so far this year. That is in comparison to 1,108 calls at this same time last year. These calls range from citizens who may be in their homes experiencing medical emergencies to patients at local clinics who are in need of transport due to a medical emergency. In each of these calls our dispatchers lay an important role in obtaining vital information about the patient and then following up with the appropriate response based on location and sense of urgency.

        The next most frequent are 911 hang ups. These are many times accidental mis-dials which require follow up either by our dispatcher or in many cases actually sending an officer to the location where the call came from. Thanks to enhanced 911 we are able to determine the location of these calls in the event that the caller is unable to provide location information. If these calls are determined to be legitimate calls for service their status is then changed to reflect the nature of that incident. So far in 2020 we have handled 1049 calls of this nature. Last year at this time we were at 820, so a significant increase in these calls.

         Following 911 hang ups is the category of “Citizen Assist” which account for 347 calls thus far. That is down slightly from last year where we had 435 at this same time. These calls range in nature from assisting people who have locked themselves out of their homes to assisting with civil matters where law enforcement is asked to be present during a volatile situation.

         “Traffic Offenses” are next with 255 calls so far this year. This is also down from 356 at the same time last year. These types of calls have been on the increase since the advent of cell phones as members of our community serve as an extra set of eyes out on the roads. These calls are greatly appreciated and send a clear message that we are all holding each other accountable as motorists. We would just ask that if you do call in a traffic offense to do it in a safe manner that does not jeopardize your own safety or cause you to be distracted from your own driving.

          Another category of calls we have seen an increase in are the “Animal Problem” at 328, down from 358 last year. These are unfortunate situations which typically result from the actual or perceived lack of care that an animal is receiving or the lack of control that an animal owner is maintaining over their pets. These types of calls can be easily reduced by those of us who own pets being a more attentive and responsible pet owner.

         The last two that I will cover came in with very close numbers. “Welfare Checks” at 270 in comparison to 282 in 2019 and “Suspicious Activity” at 285, down from 316 in 2019. Actual these two are very similar in that the caller is concerned about the activity of either someone they know and would like them checked on or someone they do not know and want us to investigate. In either circumstance these again are very important calls and show that our community is involved in the well being and security of their community.

           If you would like to know more about what we do at the Kewaunee County Dispatch Center, please do not hesitate to contact our department. I would very much enjoy providing a tour of our facility, but until things get back to normal, we continue to limit public access to both our Jail and Dispatch Center. Next week, I will be covering some of our jail data, and share some of the many duties which we serve in maintaining our local facility.

Navigating mental health through pandemic

Licensed Clinical Social Worker Alecia Bretl knows she is battling other outside forces when working with patients at Door County Medical Center.  The Centers for Disease Control reported earlier this year that American adults had considerably elevated adverse mental health conditions due in part to COVID-19. Minorities, essential workers, and unpaid adult caregivers showed having even worse mental health outcomes. Bretl says the pandemic has caused many people to struggle with how to handle their emotions and feelings, even people who normally do not struggle with their mental health. 

Bretl says her role has even shifted to being a sounding board for her co-workers on the frontlines who need an opportunity to take off their superhero capes.

Bretl says reaching out is the hardest part and encourages people to take advantage of the resources they have available to them. You can hear more from our interview with Bretl online with this story.

Death toll increases

Kewaunee County suffered another death along with 30 more positive tests for the coronavirus on Thursday.  It was the 25th Kewaunee County COVID-19 death since the pandemic began.  Active cases went up 15 to 113 with 14 new recoveries.   Kewaunee County Public Health reported no hospitalizations for the coronavirus for the first time in several weeks.   

 

Door County went up another 24 COVID-19 cases bringing active cases up to 338, with 20 new recoveries.  Of the 1,751 positive tests confirmed since March, a total of 1,540 have recovered.  No new hospitalizations were reported in Door County.

 

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported over 4,000 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday with 57 new deaths.   There were 160 more people hospitalized in the state as well.  

 

 

Increased bond rating benefits Kewaunee County taxpayers

Good budget management practices have earned Kewaunee County improved bond ratings from a nationally known investing firm.  The county's $9.65-million in general obligation debt led Moody's Investors Service to award an A1 bond rating for its long-term borrowing.  That's an upgrade from the A2 rating issued in 2015 when its general obligation debts of $16.12-millon.  Kewaunee County Administrator Scott Feldt says that will allow work on major projects like the county jail to proceed with lower costs.
 



Feldt says capping the county landfill, the addition of a half-percent county sales tax and a new capital development plan have helped improve the county's financial situation. 

Sturgeon Bay's tie to a Christmas window tradition

Without the hard work of a Sturgeon Bay woman, holiday memories in northeastern Wisconsin may have been lost forever. The work of Silvestri's Art Company in Chicago had already done a tour of duty at Chicago’s Marshall Fields and Green Bay’s Prange’s Department Store when the late Georgia Rankin rescued them from a coal bin. She worked at preserving them and put them on display with the rest of her doll collection. Her daughter, Tanya Olson, says a lot of work went into restoring some of the pieces.  

Rankin eventually sold half of the set to the Sheboygan Historical Museum and the other half to the Neville Public Museum in Green Bay, which got another dose of restoration work before going on display in 2004. Olson is happy that her family could play a role in preserving an important part of the area’s holiday traditions.

The Neville Public Museum gives several nods to Rankin in its Holiday Memories of Downtown Green Bay exhibit, which is open to the public through January 10th. Rankin’s love of dolls can also be seen at The Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York where her Barbie collection currently resides.

States await federal COVID-19 relief bill

State and local officials are waiting to see what the federal government will do for additional COVID-19 relief funding. The United States Congress passed a one-week stopgap funding measure on Wednesday to buy more time for lawmakers still trying to settle on what a relief package may look like. The Democratic-controlled House bill was about $400 million more than what the Republican-held Senate has proposed.  Leaders in Brown County warned Congress on Tuesday that people and businesses would suffer if lawmakers do not act quickly. State Senator Andre Jacque says it is not just about how much money the state gets, but what kind of strings are attached as well.

Governor Tony Evers is seeking to delay his annual budget address next year in order to wait for the most up-to-date numbers from the federal government as well as from the state’s fiscal bureau. Congress could pass a bill as soon as December 18th to pass a new relief package in addition to a plan to keep the government open for a year. Jacque says any federal aid will be tied to a state COVID-19 relief bill with the expected budget shortfall in mind.

Sturgeon Bay man arrested for stabbing

A 20-year-old man has been taken into custody for allegedly stabbing another man in Sturgeon Bay early Thursday morning.  Sturgeon Bay Police Captain Dan Brinkman told DoorCountyDailyNews.com that law enforcement was dispatched to 231 Nebraska Street shortly after 5 am on Thursday and was met by the suspect outside the residence who admitted to the stabbing of the 41-year-old Illinois man.  The victim was transported to the hospital with severe, non-life-threatening injuries to his right bicep.  Captain Brinkman said the police are still investigating and are working through a language barrier with the victim.  DoorCountyDailyNews.com will update this story when more details become available. 

Granary plans to go to common council

The development agreement between the city and the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society for the former Teweles and Brandeis Granary is now on its way to the full common council  The city's Purchasing/Finance and Building Committee voted Tuesday to forward the agreement, which lays out the responsibilities and designs for future use of the historic waterfront building.  Committee Chair Helen Bacon believes taxpayers will be getting an attractive community asset.

The development agreement proposal is set to be taken up by the Sturgeon Bay Common Council on December 15th.  The granary west waterfront project is scheduled for completion in the Summer of 2022.  In other action, the Purchasing/Finance and Building Committee sent back for clarification a memorandum of understanding with Fincantieri/Bay Shipbuilding for the beautification of 3rd Avenue.

COVID-19 cases continue to rise

The area saw another jump in positive tests for COVID-19 on Wednesday.  Door County went up another 30 cases as total positive tests surpassed 1,700.   Active cases ticked up five in Door County with 26 more recoveries noted and no new hospitalizations.

   

Kewaunee County reported another 19 positive tests for the coronavirus.  Active cases went up to 113 with only two new recoveries.  Hospitalizations in Kewaunee County remained at just one. 

 

The Department of Health Services confirmed 3,619 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday as well as 81 more deaths.   There were 215 more hospitalizations in the state.  Wisconsin now has had over 422,000 COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began in March.  

 

 

Door County preparing for J-1 Visa program

A successful exchange program that helps businesses in Door County fill jobs during past summers is hoping for a comeback after a one-year hiatus caused by COVID-19.  The J-1 Visa Summer Work Travel program will be discussed at a virtual meeting at 1 pm on Thursday.  Door County is hosting a J-1 Visa Employer Update on Zoom with Intrax Accounts Manager Stacie Tollaksen sharing the new insights and developments.  Destination Door County Membership Director Phil Berndt says Tollaksen is a seasoned sponsor of the J-1 Visa program.

 

 

The meeting is free of charge but pre-registration is required.  The cultural exchange opportunity for foreign students has brought over 500 workers into Door County during the peak tourist season in recent years.  You can find a link to preregister for the virtual meeting below.

 

https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUscO6uqDIiHdJULpYHMsi_p7cr60dPqWVG  

Staffing sends Sevastopol Schools into remote learning

Sevastopol School District announced on Thursday its students will end the calendar year in remote learning. Following an in-service day on Monday, all students will learn remotely beginning on Tuesday. High school students will attend remote classes every day while the elementary and middle school kids will follow their A/B schedule. The A/B schedule had students attending on alternate days. The latest dashboard numbers from the district show 16 positive cases among its student and staff population. A total of 65 students and staff members are currently on quarantine due to cases at school. Sevastopol Superintendent Kyle Luedtke says they do not have enough teachers to offer in-person instruction.

Luedtke added that as of right now they will stick with the 14-day quarantine period for close contacts even after the Wisconsin Department of Health Services followed the Centers for Disease Control’s lead to cut that time in half. Sevastopol students will be on winter break beginning on December 22nd, and Luedtke hopes they will be able to have in-person instruction again on January 4th.

Sister Bay prepares to close on Wiltse property

The Village of Sister Bay took another step towards a large portion of their future Tuesday night with the final approval of its purchase of 56 acres. In a special meeting, the village board approved the purchase of what is known as the Wiltse property. Located between Scandia Road and County Highway ZZ, the 56 acres of land is adjacent to the village’s water treatment plant and sports complex. The village expects to pay approximately $425,000 for the property. Village administrator Beau Bernhoft says there have been plans for years to make improvements to the water treatment plant and sports complex, while also looking for a possible future home to a new administrative center. He says there has not been an opportunity to do that until now.

With the purchase officially approved by the board, Bernhoft expects the village will be able to close on the property within the next month. He added that community meetings will be planned so residents can have a say in other options for the 56 acres. Before the special meeting, the Sister Bay Plan Commission met to discuss a number of different items including the possible development of condominiums on the property formerly held by Fred and Fuzzy’s Waterfront Resort.

Fish Creek cancels Winter Festival

Those hoping to toss a bike or handicap a minnow race in Fish Creek this February will have to wait until 2022. The Fish Creek Civic Association announced on Wednesday the cancellation of its Winter Festival due to COVID-19 concerns. A fundraiser for many local organizations, the Fish Creek Winter Festival was known for its unique events like the stump fiddle competition, toilet seat tossing, and the Froot Loop Run. Karlie Schultz from the Fish Creek Civic Association says they held off on canceling it for as long as they could.

In its place, Schultz hopes visitors to Fish Creek will take advantage of its Winter [festive} Tour of Lights, which is a collection of 70 new holiday decorations for people to visit and take selfies.

For those that cannot wait until the return of the Fish Creek Winter Festival in 2022, Schultz says a light display paying homage will be put up at the end of the month.

Farmers prepare for tough conversations

COVID-19 has only added to the number of discussion topics farmers will have on their plate this winter. Taxes, COVID-19, and other tough conversations are the topics to be covered during a free webinar being put on by the UW Extension office on Thursday beginning at 1 p.m. Kewaunee County Extension Agriculture Agent Aerica Bjurstrom says they are bringing in speakers from across the state.

You can find out more about the 90-minute webinar entitled “2020 Tough Talk: Difficult Conversations, COVID-19, and Taxes” below.

 

 

FROM AERICA BJURSTROM, EXTENSION AGRICULTURE AGENT FOR KEWAUNEE COUNTY

Effectively communicating in times of stress is critically important for any business, but especially for farm businesses. Join Extension educators and community partners for a free webinar on Thursday, December 10 from 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm.

 

This fourth webinar in a series “2020 Tough Talk: Difficult Conversations, COVID-19, and Taxes.”

Many farmers are wondering how 2020 government payments and income will impact their taxes. Jonathan Shepherd, Farm Management Specialist from the University of Kentucky will discuss how farmers can address this when doing their taxes in the coming months; Cindy Kinnard, Kewaunee County Director of Public Health will discuss combatting COVID-19 in rural communities; and Tina Kohlman Extension Fond Du Lac County Dairy & Livestock Agent and Steph Plaster, Extension Ozaukee & Washington County Agriculture Agent will present on reframing tough conversations for success.

 

Registration for this webinar is free, but you must pre-register by 5:00 pm on December 9. Registration can be made online at https://go.wisc.edu/2rcpis. You will receive further details on the webinar after completing registration.

 

For any questions about the program, please contact me at 920-388-7138.

Local grocers seeing more demand for less expensive brands

Grocery shoppers are opting for lower-priced brands this year during the pandemic.  According to a survey last month by Inmar Intelligence, 61 percent of consumers have reportedly switched to less-expensive brands since March.  Stodola’s IGA store manager Alex Stodola says the opportunity to find less expensive options for shoppers came about very quickly.

 

 

The survey found that grocery customers cited cost and coupons as the two chief reasons they purchased new brands this year.  Stodola believes the biggest change that occurred this year in the food market is that people are now cooking at home more and learning cooking skills with easy online access to new recipes.    

Law enforcement warns about "porch pirates"

During the holiday season, the Door County Sheriff’s Office wants homeowners to be proactive in preventing the loss of shipped packages left at their front door.  An estimated 23 million Americans have reportedly had a package stolen from their front porch or mailbox.  Chief Deputy Pat McCarty says there are ways to safeguard any packages you might have ordered online.  He shares some options you have to eliminate being a victim of a porch pirate.

 

 

McCarty adds that you can have shipments sent to your place of work or ask a neighbor to take possession of it.  The United States Postal Service also offers a hold-for-pick-up option if you are going to be out of town.  Also, when shipping gifts to friends and family, give them a heads-up so they can be prepared for the delivery.    

Death toll goes up again in Kewaunee County

For the second-consecutive day Kewaunee County has recorded a COVID-19 death.  Kewaunee County Public Health disclosed the 24th death on Tuesday as positive tests went up another 18 cases.  Active coronavirus cases increased slightly with 15 new recoveries notes.  COVID-19 hospitalizations of Kewaunee County residents did go down drastically from four to one. 

 

Door County Public Health reported 21 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday with 31 recoveries.  Those numbers reduce active cases by nine as one probable case is listed.  There were no new hospitalizations in Door County.

 

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services announced Tuesday that 69 more people died from COVID-19.  The state reported 218 more hospitalizations and over 4,100 new positive tests for the coronavirus. 

 

 

Holiday joy reigns in condensed holiday event

What is usually a daylong venture for law enforcement officers and local families in need in Door County was shrunk down over the weekend, but it still carried the same impact. Members of the Door County Sheriff’s Department, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and Sturgeon Bay Police Department visited 32 families on Saturday to continue an 18-year tradition. Instead of taking kids out into the field to cut a tree before going shopping, law enforcement officers brought the holiday spirit to them. Door County Sheriff Tammy Sternard admits they lost out on a lot of interaction time due to this year’s safety precautions, but says it was important to still offer an altered version of it this year.

Sternard thanks the community for their support for the program, which she says has helped forged lifelong friendships with the officers and some of the lives they have touched during the event’s history.

 

Pictures courtesy of Door County Sheriff's Department

 

 

COVID relief in balancing act with budget

A large shadow will loom over the Wisconsin Legislature as they discuss possible COVID-19 relief bills this week. According to the Wisconsin Policy Forum, state spending is projected to outpace its revenues by over $370 million during the next two-year budget. Much of that gap can be contributed to the impact the pandemic has had on local businesses. Rep. Joel Kitchens suggests the number is better than what was expected compared to just a few months ago.

Kitchens says it will be a balancing act knowing what needs to be done in the short term and the ramifications of what the pandemic caused for the long-term.

In terms of other bills of local interest like those addressing water quality concerns, Kitchens believes it is likely those will have to be taken up when the new session begins next year.

Gibraltar students return to classroom

Over 30 Gibraltar elementary students entered classrooms for the first time on Monday since the district closed them due to the pandemic back in March. Students have been learning virtually since the beginning of September, but the adoption of new gating criteria last month allowed elementary school kids to begin attending in-person classes if allowed by their parents. Two groups will alternate days until Christmas break later this month with Kindergarten, first, and second grades heading to school first on Monday followed by the third, fourth, and fifth grades on Tuesday. Elementary school principal Brian Annen says even though it looks different, he is happy to see the kids back in the building again.

Annen says the challenge is now making sure the protocols they have set are followed so everyone remains safe. The district will rely on the gating criteria, which looks at the number of positive tests in its three census tracts of Northport, Gibraltar, and Egg Harbor/Baileys Harbor, until January 11th. At that point, both the elementary and secondary schools will be open for in-person instruction regardless of where threshold limits are on that date. Annen says approximately 60 percent of the district’s kids will be attending in-person instruction when they are all welcomed back.

 

Picture courtesy of Gibraltar Area Schools

Soukup pleads not guilty

Susan Soukup will be in court again in February after pleading not guilty to first-degree intentional homicide on Monday afternoon.

 

It marked the first action in the case since last month when the prosecutors entered a photo of the dagger used in the crime as evidence. According to the criminal complaint, the 52-year-old Soukup stated that she stabbed her roommate in the neck after she 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.

 

Soukup will appear in court on February 1st.

Underground transmission line work to impact travel

The high power transmission lines being bored underneath the Sturgeon Bay channel will impact travel in the city.  Starting Tuesday the main intersection of East Maple Street and S. Neenah Avenue will be closed until Thursday.  Sturgeon Bay City Engineer Chad Shefchik says the project by American Transmission Company will impact travel over the Maple-to-Oregon Street Bridge.

 

 

He says when all the work is done, repairs will have to be done to Neenah Avenue.

 

 

Shefchik says that ATC’s major work should be completed by late Wednesday with roadways reopening on Thursday.  

 

 

Press release:

 

Just a reminder:  Starting tomorrow the intersection of E Maple Street and S Neenah Ave will be closed to traffic along with the modified current roadway restrictions on S Neenah Ave from E Maple Street to Willow Drive.  These closures and restrictions will begin early tomorrow morning and last late into Wednesday evening while ATC is pulling their conduits underneath the Bay.  If emergency access is needed along S Neenah Ave during this timeframe:

  • Access the east side of S Neenah Ave by using S Oxford Ave and heading north if needed.
  • Access the west side of S Neenah Ave by using E Oak Street, E Pine Street, or E Redwood Street and heading south if needed.

However, if at all possible please avoid these areas until the work is completed and the roadways are reopened to traffic.

Eliminate "money leaks" when budgeting for Christmas

Money Management Counselors Executive Director Leslie Boden suggests managing money right before the holidays might present the biggest challenge of the year. She shares some of the details that many people do not account for when trying to budget their spending.

 

 

Boden adds that extra purchases, like buy-two-get-one-free offers, can have you spend more than originally planned.  Having lists and sticking to them can help curb overspending as well.  Setting boundaries and putting your cash inside an envelope to keep track is a good way to account for your holiday budget.  You can listen to the conversation with Leslie Boden of Money Management Counselors on the podcast page.  

 

 

Kewaunee County County records another Covid-19 death

The 23th coronavirus-related fatality was recorded in Kewaunee County on Monday. Kewaunee County Public Health officials disclosed 33 more COVID-19 cases since Friday as recoveries matched the new positive tests. The active cases in Kewaunee County remained steady as the hospitalizations went up from three to four.   

 

Door County Public Health reported 31 new coronavirus cases and 73 recoveries on Monday.  That brings the active cases down from 367 to 329.  No new hospitalizations were noted in Door County. 

 

The Department of Health Services disclosed 2,155 new COVID-19 cases and 19 more deaths on Monday.  The positivity rate in Wisconsin showed to be at 27.3 percent and hospitalizations in the state went up 70 more beds.

 

 

Algoma band staying in rhythm

Looking different is still sounding good for the Algoma band program. For the foreseeable future, the Algoma bands have traded their usual rehearsal space for bleachers in the school’s gym while being socially distant. It has been a departure from other programs in the area, which have either been 100 percent virtual or have only been able to rehearse with small groups. Algoma band director Jennifer Massey has even figured out a way to turn those rehearsals into performance. With a recording device and a couple of clicks of a mouse, Massey has been able to turn rehearsals into virtual concerts. In addition to showing the community and parents what they have been working on, she says it is good to have goals for the kids.

Massey is currently recording the selections for their annual Christmas concert before distributing that to parents. The radio stations of DoorCountyDailyNews.com will also air the concert in the week leading up to Christmas.

Returning to the gym becoming easier

Many people heading back to fitness centers like the Door County YMCA are finding out they can get back into shape safely. A survey done by the International Health, Racquet, and Sportsclub Association showed 88 percent of people who have returned to work out after shutdowns are confident in their safety and cleanliness measures. Approximately 54 percent of gym-goers said they missed the routine of going to the center to work out and 36 percent admitted they missed the sense of community they received. The Door County YMCA has changed many of its procedures over the last several months including spacing out their equipment and mandatory masking. Tonya Felhofer from the Door County YMCA says people are still surprised by how safe they feel when they come in to work out.

Felhofer says many of its visitors are also slowly getting used to working out with masks on, adding that it usually takes a few sessions to get used to it. Visitors to the Door County YMCA are also being asked to check the Angel Tree and its gently used shoe drive to help children not just in the community, but around the world.

Fire Department to offer holiday meal

The Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Department has found yet another way to give back this holiday season. With help from Northern Door businesses, the fire department is offering 300 Christmas dinners for pick-up Christmas Eve from its station in Sister Bay. The idea came out about after the department volunteered at last month’s Thanksgiving Dinner meal events hosted by area churches. When they became aware that there would be no follow-up event for Christmas, Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Chief Chris Hecht says his department stepped up almost immediately.

Hecht is thankful for the community support their efforts have received since the county’s departments teamed up to form the Door County Fire Chief’s Association at the onset of the pandemic. Hecht says approximately 600 volunteers have provided 9,000 service hours since March. You can find more details on how to register for the meal below.

 

 

Algoma honoring Crescent Beach Boardwalk history

Algoma’s signature landmark along Lake Michigan will be celebrating its 25th anniversary next summer with fanfare.  Friends of Crescent Beach is seeking to honor the people who help build the Crescent Beach Boardwalk while compiling a history and creating a revolving capital fund.  The fund would be used to secure improvements and maintenance of the half-mile structure in the future.  Boardwalk Project Committee member Sara Krouse says the goal is to keep improving the boardwalk for years to come while preserving its history.

 

 

The revolving capital fund was launched last month with a final fundraising goal of $15,000.  Krouse says historical information can be submitted online through the Crescent Beach Boardwalk website or by calling the organization.  You can find contact information to make donations or contributions below. 

 

 

 

FOCB is asking anyone with photographs or additional information about boardwalk construction to share to email focb@lnrp.org or call 920-621-8838. To submit your name or the name of someone you know as a boardwalk volunteer or read the history of the project visit www.friendsofcrescentbeach.org/boardwalk.

Digital Coastal Act aids erosion and high lake level responses

Waterfront communities in Door and Kewaunee Counties will be better able to react and plan for the impacts of high water levels on Lake Michigan through the Digital Coastal Act approved by Congress.  The act is the next phase in coastal mapping for U.S. Coastal areas including the Great Lakes.  It allows the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to gather more accurate, up-to-date information on current water conditions and trends.  Door County Administrator Ken Pabich says having access to such information through digital technologies gives local governments a more complete picture of surf and shore conditions. That allows for more effective responses.

 




The Digital Coastal Act received Congressional approval this week and has been forwarded to President Trump for his signature.   

Pantry adapting to changes and demand

There are many charitable businesses around the area that are changing the way they operate. The Kewaunee County Food pantry is one of those. Their new procedures include pre-packaging boxes of items and handing them to the families outside of the pantry building, as opposed to allowing families to come in and choose what they want. Ken Marquardt, the president of the Kewaunee County Food pantry, describes differences he’s seen since the beginning of COVID-19.

 

 

This addition onto the number of families has increased the amount of items that the food pantry needs. Marquardt shares how people can help out.

 

 

With COVID-19 cases continuing to rise, Kewaunee County Food Pantry is still serving the county with help from many community members.

Toys for Kids going strong this year

The annual Toys for Tots campaign will be concluding next week and area drop-offs are making a last push to increase donations.  In Door County, the newly formed Toys for Kids group aims to help out the United States Marine Corps Reserve this year make Christmas brighter and better for local children.  One donation spot in Door County is Bridge Up Brewing in Sturgeon Bay, where general manager Trent Snyder says the bins of toys keep overflowing. [SNYDER] Toy distribution in Door County will be on December 12.   Nationally, the Toys for Tots organization reportedly collected 18.5 million toys for 7.3 million children in 2019.  Monetary donations can be sent to:  Door County Toys for Kids, Inc. P.O. Box 825 Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235.  All donations are tax-free and all money will stay in Door County. 

 

Waterfront apartments planned for 2022 opening

 

The developer of a new west side waterfront apartment complex is excited to bring more affordable housing to the Sturgeon Bay market.  The City of Sturgeon Bay approved the initial plans to move forward on the 52-unit apartment building this past Tuesday.  Andy Dumke of Northpointe Development in Oshkosh previews a layout of the future dwellings.

 

 

Dumke says the four-story apartment building will fit nicely on the one-acre property set back from the Sturgeon Bay waterfront.

 

 

Apartment rentals would be around $1200 a month.  The project could be completed within one year with groundbreaking as early as next April and leasing to begin in the spring of 2022.  Dumke says that site plans should be released in the next few weeks.  You can listen to the entire conversation with Andy Dumke on the podcast page at DoorCountyDailyNews.com.

 

 

(photo courtesy of zoominfo.com)

Outdoor warning siren tests suspended until Spring

The testing of the outdoor warning sirens in Kewaunee County will fall silent during the winter months.  The weekly siren tests will not occur in the different municipalities until spring to avoid maintenance costs due to the impairment of the sirens from snow and ice.  Kewaunee County Emergency Management reminds residents that the sirens are designed for outdoor notification only, and that it is not intended to be heard inside your home or business.  A NOAA weather radio is recommended to alert you when severe weather is approaching.  Kewaunee County offers a mass notification system called RAVE to inform you of emergent messages.  You can find more information on the outdoor warning sirens, NOAA weather radios, and RAVE by contacting Kewaunee County Emergency Management.

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.

Sending Door County for the holidays

As holiday shoppers work hard to scratch people off their lists in the comfort of their own home, local Door County businesses are helping make that a little easier.  The National Retail Federation is expecting holiday shopping this year will increase between 3.6 and 5.2 percent this year, with much of that growth coming from online sales. Bea’s Ho-Made Products general manager Jeni Tveten says its online sales have been strong since the spring, but they have gotten only busier with people clamoring for jams and jellies from Gills Rock.

Renard’s owner Ann Renard says they are being kept busy with the rush of holiday orders this year. Their cheese boxes are expected to cross the border into Canada and go as far as Alaska and Hawaii. Renard adds that many of the notes they are writing are for people unable to travel for the holidays.

Both Tveten and Renard recommend shoppers make their orders early so they can get the packages to their destination in time for Christmas. Renard says they have been able to adjust their timetable to fit with the delays being felt by local carriers.  In order to get underneath the Christmas tree this year, the United States Postal Service, FedEx, and UPS all recommend getting those packages in for normal ground shipping no later than December 15th.

Driving up church attendance

Even Shepherd of the Bay Lutheran Church Pastor Jim Honig is shocked to see the parking lot full for service some Sundays. The Ellison Bay congregation is one of several area churches that have taken advantage of technology to let their members experience services together in a drive-in style format. Shepherd of the Bay Lutheran Church has been doing drive-in services since the summer, seeing their attendance top the century mark a few times during that period. As much as he wishes his congregation could sing and pray in their sanctuary, Honig is just happy they attend what some call “beep beep” church together.

Honig says they will keep doing their drive-in services rain, snow, or shine until it is safe to come inside, including this year’s Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services.

 

Picture courtesy of Shepherd of the Bay Lutheran Church

 

Luxemburg reindeer bringing holiday joy

They may not be flying from the North Pole, but a herd of reindeer from Luxemburg is still bringing plenty of holiday cheer this season. Sara Kroll started Santa’s Crew in 2016 with the purchase of two reindeer calves that got their first taste of the spotlight that winter. Kroll is no stranger to working with animals after being raised on a dairy farm and exhibiting cows at local events. While she practices with them in a similar fashion, there are some differences between walking around with a reindeer compared to a cow.

The typical precautions around COVID-19 have made things a little different this year, but Kroll is happy she can still bring a little holiday magic to families in the area.

Her season consists of the weeks leading up to Christmas, but Kroll cares for the animals year round. She says summer can be rough sometimes for animals because of the heat, but adds that she works hard to keep them cool during that time. Santa’s Crew now consists of five reindeer and are planning stops in Lake Geneva, Seymour, and Green Bay in the coming weeks leading up to Christmas.

 

THE FUNNIEST QUESTION SARA KROLL HAS BEEN ASKED

 

Lauder retiring from Door County Sheriff's Office

A 23-year law enforcement career at the Door County Sheriff’s Department will be coming to a close this month for Lt. Bob Lauder.  Lauder started his career in the department working parades as a non-sworn reserve while working his way through college.  The 54-year old Door County native graduated from Sturgeon Bay High School and from NWTC with a degree in police science.  During his career, Lt. Lauder has been a SWAT commander in which he was able to get paramedics on the team for the first time.  He appreciated the opportunity to work in partnership with the Sturgeon Bay Police Department and former Police Chief Arleigh Porter, who also retired earlier this year.  His career was impacted by many associates and family members.

 

 

In retirement, Lauder plans on starting a lawn maintenance business and continuing volunteering his time for the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle campaign.  Lauder’s last day with the Door County Sheriff’s Department will be on December 23.  You can listen to the conversation with Lt. Lauder on the podcast page.  

Local tourism promotion proceeds during changes at state agency

Tourism promotion for Door and Kewaunee counties is moving ahead even as the Wisconsin Department of Tourism is looking for new leadership.  Secretary-designee Sara Meany announced last week she's stepping down from the job to join the private sector.  Meany's resignation won't impact marketing efforts for local and regional visitors and convention bureaus.  Jack Moneypenny, the President and CEO of Destination Door County, says Wisconsin's Department of Tourism is structured to meet such changes without interruption.

Sara Meany was named secretary-designee of the department of tourism last year, though she was never confirmed by the state legislature.

Recoveries continue to outnumber new COVID-19 cases

For the third day in-a-row Door County saw recoveries outnumber positive cases of COVID-19.  On Friday, Door County Public Health reported 12 new coronavirus cases with 31 recoveries noted.  Active cases decreased by 21 to 367 which is the lowest in several weeks.  No new hospitalizations were reported in Door County.

 

Kewaunee County Public Health disclosed 13 more COVID-19 cases on Friday with 23 new recoveries.  The active cases in Kewaunee County dropped to 95 while the hospitalizations in Kewaunee County remained at three.  

 

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported 63 more deaths on Friday with 202 additional hospitalizations.  There were 4,847 more positive cases of COVID-19 confirmed as well.  The state has now surpassed a total of 400,000 positive tests for the coronavirus.

 

 

DHS follows CDC, reduces COVID quarantine period

You will not have to quarantine as long after being a close contact with someone with a positive COVID-19 test under the new Wisconsin Department of Health Services guidance issued on Friday. Beginning on Monday, close contacts of someone who tested positive for COVID-19 can come out of quarantine after 10 days without being tested and seven days with a negative test result. Door County Medical Center Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jim Heise hopes that under this new guidance announced by the Centers for Disease Control earlier this week that more people will follow the protocol.

Wisconsin DHS still recommends people monitor their symptoms for a full 14 days after being considered a close contact.

 

See the new guidance here

Barn destroyed in Thursday fire

Two horses made it out safely but a barn in Kewaunee County is a complete loss after an early Thursday morning fire. The Luxemburg Fire Department was dispatched to the blaze near County S and SS in Dyckesville at around 4:30 a.m. Luxemburg Fire Chief Lew Du Chateau says the property owner called 911 after waking up to the barn fully engulfed. Du Chateau says by the time crews arrived, there was not much they could do.

The horses were able to escape and no injuries were reported. Crews were able to leave the scene at approximately 8 a.m. and there has been no cause determined for the fire. The Luxemburg Fire Department received help from agencies in Algoma, Kewaunee, Brussels-Union-Gardener, Casco, Southern Door, and New Franken. Denmark Fire Department provided back-up assistance just in case another call occurred.

Optimism growing for pandemic future

Although he is still expecting a small spike in the numbers from Thanksgiving, Door County Medical Center Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jim Heise is finally seeing some light at the end of COVID-19 tunnel.  Heise told DoorCountyDailyNews.com Thursday that it appears the state’s positive case numbers are beginning to decline after hitting record totals in the middle of November. Door County has seen the number of active cases drop from over 600 a few weeks ago to 388 as of Thursday. Heise says the hospital has been over capacity several times in recent weeks, but he says the COVID-19 patients that are coming in are doing better thanks to some of the treatments available to them.

Heise is also encouraged by the vaccines that are coming within the next few weeks and how effective they have been.

Despite the positive trend, Heise implores people to remain vigilant when it comes to protecting themselves and their families. You can listen to our full discussion with Heise on our podcast page.

Close call for Hainesville church

Timing was everything when it came to a fire call Friday morning for the Southern Door Fire Department. The department was dispatched to Hainesville Lutheran Church on County M, near Idlewild, just after 7 a.m. when a church employee caught the strong smell of burning smoke. Crews did not notice anything wrong until they found what appeared to be a burn spot hidden by some ceiling tile. After heading upstairs, firefighters found a lit spotlight that had fallen was slowly burning the floor. A two-foot section of the floor was eventually removed, but Southern Door Assistant Fire Chief Chuck Cihlar says it could have been a lot worse.

Algoma, Brussels-Union-Gardner, and Sturgeon Bay fire departments also responded to the call. Cihlar recommends people double-check their rooms before they leave them to make sure potential fire-starters do not have the opportunity to cause damage. It was the second call in about 24 hours for some on the Southern Door Fire Department, which responded to a barn fire in Kewaunee County Thursday night.

 

Picture courtesy of Hainesville Lutheran Church

Roof sit-in raises $22,000

The eleven hours United Way of Door County Board President Peter Kerwin sat on the roof of Starr Realty proved to be well worth the time as the organization raised over $22,000 on Thursday. Kerwin reprised his fundraiser effort from over a decade ago to help raise funds towards the United Way’s goal of $650,000. Between 7am and 6 p.m., Kerwin took phone calls and hoisted buckets of money to help reach $20,000 before he came down to warm up after a day’s work. Kerwin said earlier in the day how important it was to support the efforts of the United Way.

Donations continue to come in afterward to end with a total of approximately $22,000. United Way of Door County Executive Director Amy Kohnle says they will be able to do a lot of good with the money that was collected.

The United Way of Door County is beginning the grant review process this month to see how big the needs are in the community ahead of 2021.

Christian bringing worldly music to Studio 330

A local musician has been able to keep busy working on projects at his studios in Sturgeon Bay during a year that saw canceled musical ensembles and concerts around the world.  Hans Christian, the owner of Studio 330 on North Third Avenue, says the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly affected the music scene around Door County and beyond.  Christian, a native of Hanover Germany, plays many instruments including his vintage German cello.  His large network of musicians that spans from Los Angeles to Asheville, North Carolina recently has kept Christian’s studio busy.

 

 

Other musicians from Waupaca and Door County have also recently collaborated with Christian who released an album called “After the Fall” this past spring”.  You can listen to the entire interview with Hans Christian on the DoorCountyDailyNews.com podcast page.

 

 

(photo courtesy of Studio 330)

COVID-19 Update: Area recoveries up, hospitalizations down

Area cases of COVID-19 continued the encouraging sign of recoveries outnumbering new positive tests on Thursday.   Door County Public Health reported 21 new coronavirus cases and 35 recoveries.  The active cases lowered to 388 and no new hospitalizations were recorded.

 

Kewaunee County saw their active cases drop six as recoveries outpaced new COVID-19 cases on Thursday by a 21 to 15 pace.  Active cases now stand at 105 and deaths remain at 22 after three more people died from the coronavirus earlier this week.  The hospitalizations in Kewaunee County dropped to three and is the lowest since November 11.

 

State health officials announced this week that Wisconsin is ready to distribute COVID-19 vaccines as early as mid-December with potentially 50,000 doses.  The number of positive cases rose over 4,600 on Thursday with 60 new deaths reported.

 

 

 

Kewaunee County COVID-19 UPDATE

 

 

Park attendance skyrockets during pandemic

The summer of 2020 saw increased attendance at state Parks in Door County despite the COVID-19 pandemic.  Newport State Park in Ellison Bay hosted 115,761 visitors from June through August this year. That compares with 84,606 people in 2019.  Potawatomi State Park in Sturgeon Bay drew 131,902 people between June and August, compared with 108,361 visitors during the same period in the summer of 2019. Peninsula State Park in Fish Creek's attendance from June through August was 702,778, well above the 610,083 that visited in 2019.   Those who are already dreaming of biking, hiking or camping at any state park in Door County can take the first step on December 1st. That's when 2021 Wisconsin State Park admission passes go on sale.  DNR Business Services Section Chief Chris Pedretti expects that trend to continue.

The Wisconsin State Parks and Forests annual passes can be purchased at park offices, DNR Service Centers and online.

Jay's carries on the Legacy

Whenever Renee Derenne visits with one of her in-home care clients, her dad comes to mind. It’s not just because the name of her business, Jay’s Legacy based in Manitowoc, bears the initials of her father. Jay’s Legacy offers in-home, non-medical care for clients in Brown, Door, Kewaunee, and Manitowoc counties. Staff members drive clients to appointments, help prepare meals, and assist in home maintenance. They can also be called upon to simply take them to a movie or play a hand of cards. It is the type of care Derenne’s dad needed in the last year of his life as he battled cancer.

Derenne says her company allows people to still live independently while giving family members peace of mind that their loved ones are still be taken care of while they are apart. She says her company gives their clients a little more flexibility when it comes to seeing their loved ones while many community-based residential facilities have restrictions on visitors during the pandemic.

 

Picture courtesy of Jay's Legacy

Southern Door, Sevastopol keep holiday tradition

Like many things in 2020, holiday traditions put on by Southern Door and Sevastopol School Districts will have a different look. Both school districts have welcomed the area’s seniors for an afternoon of eating and holiday entertainment. Sevastopol tied their holiday meal to a concert by its bands and choirs. Southern Door allowed its students to dine with the seniors and share season’s greetings. In both cases, the events will not take place in its old form, but instead offering curbside pick-up instead. Southern Door High School Principal Steve Bousley says it was important to them that the tradition to continue.

Sevastopol’s holiday meal event is on December 15th and Southern Door’s is on December 16th. You can find more details on these two events below.

 

FROM SEVASTOPOL

Every year we look forward to the opportunity to host our senior members of the Sevastopol community for a luncheon and to enjoy our concerts. Because of the ongoing pandemic, our holiday concerts will not be performed in the traditional manner. This also means we will adjust how we can offer our accompanying meal. On Dec 15th, we would like to invite those members of the community who would have joined us for lunch to come to school and pick up a meal to take home with them. This meal will be ready to take home and reheat at your convenience and will be offered in a contactless, drive-thru manner to help us keep our senior visitors safe. We will be waiting at the front entrance of school, and as cars pull into the driveway, we will offer you a bag with your meal without the need to get out of the car. In an effort to create new memories of our holiday tradition, in addition to meals being handed out, there will be a choir singing Christmas Carols for you to enjoy as you drive-thru. We will be offering meal pick up from 1pm-2pm on Dec. 15th. Please call Sevastopol School 920-743-6282, extension 1117, and let us know if you plan on picking up a meal.

 

FROM SOUTHERN DOOR

All senior citizens, age 62 and over, who live in the Southern Door community are invited to participate in this year’s revamped annual Southern Door Holiday Celebration, Wednesday, December 16, 2020. Due to COVID-19 precautions, the regular in-person holiday party will not occur; however, the holiday meal will be available for pickup with a drive-through curbside service.
Individuals can pick up their holiday meals between 1:00-2:00 pm on Wednesday, December 16th by driving up to door 11, which is the new east entrance to the high school. Students and staff will bring your meal(s) to your car. This year’s menu includes traditional turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, vegetable, and dessert.
Reservations for this event must be made by calling the high school office, (920) 825-7333, by Monday, December 14th at 12 noon.

Tauscher resigns from Door County Board

The search is on for a new Door County Board Supervisor to represent portions of Sturgeon Bay.

 

Door County Board Chairperson Dave Lienau announced Thursday he is accepting letters of interest for District 7 supervisor position being vacated by Erin Tauscher.  The Sturgeon Bay resident defeated incumbent Helen Bacon in the spring election this year, only to resign seven months later on November 21st. No reason for Tauscher’s resignation was given in the release. People hoping to be considered need to submit their letter of interest by December 17th at 4 p.m. Followed by a vetting process, Lienau will nominate a person to be confirmed by the Door County Board in the weeks after.

 

The person chosen would serve out the remainder of the term representing Sturgeon Bay’s first and second wards on the Door County Board until April 18th, 2022.

 

Picture courtesy of Door County

Combine fire shuts down roadway

Motorists traveling through Sevastopol Wednesday had to find a different way home due to a combine fire. The Door County Sheriff's Department alerted its Facebook followers around 5 p.m. that Martin Road between Dunn and Windermere Drive would be closed due to the fire. Local fire departments were able to extinguish the blaze, but removing the damaged combine took several hours to complete. We will have more information on this incident when it becomes available.

 

Picture courtesy of Door County Sheriff's Department

 

 

Civility challenges during pandemic and holidays

The Door County Civility Project’s mission to foster and incorporate the principles of civility into the fabric of everyday life is being challenged with the forces of a pandemic, an election year, and the holiday season.  Steering Committee member Shirley Senarighi says it’s important to show empathy when dealing with those who hold different political views.  Even a month removed from Election Day, emotions can still be running deep.

 

 

Senarighi also notes that the additional stresses of COVID-19 this year will bring about a different type of stress around the holidays.  Having perspective, respecting differing opinions, and not judging others while keeping an open dialogue can promote civility.  Senarighi adds that now is a good time to heal those family relationships that may have been damaged in the past.    

New ADRC program combats loneliness

In efforts to foster positive, meaningful relationships and help people feel less lonely, a local organization is forming an “Adopt-A-Grandparent Program”.  The new program for 2021 is being facilitated by the Aging and Disability Resource Center of Door County with hopes to match people who have similar interests across all generations.  Activity Volunteer Coordinator Nicki Scharrig says the program encourages participants to get to know each other via phone, video chat, virtual games, or old fashioned handwritten letters.  She says the idea has already been well-received by area schools.

 

 

Sharrig adds the “Adopt-A-Grandparent” would run for one year and only require a weekly commitment of one to two hours.  Interested individuals can contact the ADRC directly to participate or go online and register at www.surveymonkey.com/r/XG8VCNC

Two dead in Kewaunee and three hospitalized in Door

On Wednesday Kewaunee County Public Health reported that two more people died from COVID-19.  The positive tests for coronavirus rose 18 while new recoveries showed to be 25.  Active cases dropped nine to 120 in Kewaunee County with hospitalizations staying at four.

In Door County three more people were hospitalized and 11 more positive cases were reported.  The active cases went up 30 to 398 after dropping considerably the past two days. 

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported 82 more deaths in the state on Wednesday bringing that total to 3,502.  Confirmed positive tests showed 3,777 more cases and 197 additional hospitalizations.

 

 

 

Richmond excited for Horseshoe Bay Farms role

Drew Richmond saw his 20-plus year in non-profit return take another turn this month as he officially took on the role of executive director for Horseshoe Bay Farms. Hired as the organization’s first staff member, Richmond previously served at the Door County YMCA as its Northern Center Executive Director in Fish Creek and the Director of Development and Marketing for The Ridges Sanctuary in Baileys Harbor. Horseshoe Bay Farms has over a century of history behind it, but the non-profit behind its future stewardship is just two years old. It is that aspect of the job that intrigued Richmond to accept the role.

With a 20-year master plan as his guide, Richmond is excited to start recruiting volunteers and bring visitors to Horseshoe Bay Farms in 2021. You can listen to our full conversation with Richmond on our podcasts page.

 

Pictured courtesy of Horseshoe Bay Farms

Egg Harbor condemns disputed land

One day in court ended and another awaits regarding approximately 400 square feet in Egg Harbor. Last week, Judge David Weber ruled the Village of Egg Harbor could condemn a small sliver of land near County G so it could connect pedestrians on Highway 42 to its popular beach area. Portions of the Highway G project started earlier this year. The owners of the land, the Shipwrecked Brewpub, fought against the village purchasing the property to protect it for possible future use. Village administrator Ryan Heise says they will soon be heading back to court on a related issue. The village is being charged with not answering their injunction request regarding the condemnation of the land in a timely fashion. Heise believes case law is in their favor.

Briefs are expected to be filed shortly before the oral ruling scheduled for January 5th. Heise says if the village were to lose that case, he is not sure what that would mean moving forward since the judge ruled they could condemn the land.

Assembly, Senate releases COVID-19 bill plans

While he does not agree with everything in the proposal, Rep. Joel Kitchens believes common ground can be met to address the growing needs created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Released on Tuesday, the proposal would require teachers to head back to the classroom unless they had an approved medical reason and school districts to only go into virtual instruction in two week increments pending two-thirds board approval. The bill would also protect districts from people trying to sue because of possible exposure. The Sturgeon Bay Republican does not want to force anybody back, but he says learning should take place in the classroom if possible.

Under the plans, the Legislature’s budget committee would also have more say in how federal CARES Act funds are distributed and the power to transfer approximately $100 million from other agencies to address the pandemic. Kitchens believes the legislature should have more of a say in how the state’s money is spent during this time.

He hopes the Assembly and Governor Tony Evers can come together on some common ground so help can come to many Wisconsinites. He admits they also have to come together with the Senate, which released its own plans on Tuesday as well. If approved, this would be the first bill the Wisconsin Legislature has approved regarding the state’s COVID-19 response since April.

Kewaunee teacher creatively "flipping" classrooms

This year has been a time of adjustment for everyone, schools especially. Teachers are having to find new ways of relaying curriculum to their students in this unprecedented year. Mitchell Hahn, one of the Kewaunee High School's mathematics teachers has found a creative way to keep his students connected and up to date with the curriculum. He shares the struggles that he has faced.

 

 

Hahn has found a way to keep students engaged as he implements the “flipped classroom” for his AP Calculus class. 

 

 

This is only one of the many ways that teachers are working to educate their students the best that they can through this difficult time.

 

 

You can listen to the complete interview with Mr. Hahn on the podcast page.

 

 

Farm Market vendor fees not doubling

The City of Sturgeon Bay amended a resolution that would have doubled the fees for vendors at the Sturgeon Bay Farmers Market during Tuesday’s Common Council meeting.  During public comments, Connie Bordeau spoke for several minutes asking the council to reconsider the doubling of fees.

 

 

After much discussion by councilmembers who heard from several constituents on the topic, the council voted unanimously to only charge vendors half of the increase for 2021.  Seasonal vendors that paid $175 will now have to pay $260, rather than the initially proposed $350.   

 

In other business, a recommendation by the City Plan Commission regarding a revision of a development plan for an apartment complex planned for the west side waterfront was unanimously approved.  Northpointe Development would build 700 to 1000 square foot, market-rate, one and two-bedroom apartments that house 52 units.  Developer Andy Dumke says construction would begin on the one acre property behind Greystone Castle’s parking lot in the spring of 2021 with completion by early 2022. 

Area recoveries outnumber new COVID-19 cases

A day after recording the county’s 20th death, Kewaunee reported 33 new recoveries on Tuesday, offsetting 17 positive tests for COVID-19.  Active cases went down from 136 to 120.  There was one more hospitalization on Tuesday in Kewaunee County bringing the current total to four.

Door County Public Health had slight state-adjusted numbers for tests performed and negative test results on Tuesday, but did report four new coronavirus cases.  Recoveries went up 50 to lower the active cases to 428.  One additional hospitalization was disclosed.

 

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported the highest number of daily COVID-19 deaths with 107 on Tuesday.  An additional 277 people were hospitalized with coronavirus in the state on Tuesday as hospitals are reportedly experiencing strain and staffing shortages.

 

 

 

Town of Gibraltar budget increase passes through public vote

The Town of Gibraltar was able to get the 2021 budget passed with two resolutions Monday evening.  Over 40 town electors voted during the meeting that lasted about 90 minutes.  By state law, residents of a township must vote to approve the budget at the annual meeting.  Town of Gibraltar Chair Steve Sohns says after addressing questions and concerns, the two resolutions dealing with exceeding the levy limit by 20.66 percent, passed by a considerable majority.

 

 

The vote on exceeding the levy limit passed by a 28-18 vote while the resolution for electors to adopt the town tax levy was approved by a 24-17 margin. The town levy to be collected in 2021 will be $2,521,635.88.  Sohns appreciated the turnout of people that asked questions and provided input on keeping the Town of Gibraltar running efficiently.  

 

 

Rocks vandalized at Kewaunee County park

The Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department is looking for more information on who may have vandalized a number of rocks at a local park. The past two weekends, rocks at Bruemmerville Park, located west of Algoma were found vandalized. The most recent graffiti features artwork glorifying marijuana use. Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski says this kind of vandalism cannot be tolerated.

Residents and visitors are encouraged to call the Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department with any information they may have available. You can reference case numbers 20-08386 and 20-08260 when calling. Graffiti in a park carries a fine and jail time in some cases.

 

Gibraltar Elementary opts for soft opening

School will still be in-session on December 7th for Gibraltar Elementary students, but there will be fewer of them there. On a 7-0 vote, the Gibraltar Area School District Board voted in favor of a more phased-in approach for kids coming to the school building for the first time since March. Under the plan suggested by Gibraltar Superintendent Tina Van Meer, students in kindergarten, first, and second grades will report to class on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Students in third, fourth, and fifth grades will be in the building on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The elementary school will operate under that model until January 11th when all of the district’s students are expected to report for in-person classes. Van Meer says the more phased-in approach will allow the district to keep a close eye on their protocols and make sure they are working.

The school district is still looking at the latest COVID-19 numbers to determine if it is safe to go to school, though now they are just looking at its three population tracts rather than the whole county.  Van Meer says a recent survey done by the district showed about 60 percent of their parents were willing to bring their kids back to school, which is down from 80 percent at the beginning of the year.

4-H bringing holidays home

Brown, Door, and Kewaunee counties are bringing 4-H home for the holidays this month. For the second time this year, the three extension offices are joining forces to not only show off the fun its youth-based organization has, but also bringing families together for a collection of activities including ornament making and cookie decorating. Similar to its recently completed “Explore 4-H” series, “Home for the Holidays with 4-H” will also include an optional two-hour Zoom call where the families work on the crafts together with the educators from the three counties. Door County 4-H educator Dawn Vandevoort says the partnership between the three counties to create the at-home experiences in 2020 has been a joy.

Vandevoort says families are also getting a taste of what 4-H is like currently with the counties’ clubs meeting virtually or in outdoor, socially distant ways. Registration for the event ends on Wednesday.

 

 

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