News Archives for 2021-01

Lodging owners anticipate a good summer season

Door County lodging operators believe they'll benefit from COVID-19 vaccines and pent up demand for vacation getaways.  The American Hotel and Lodging Association's State of the Hotel Industry survey for 2021 indicates leisure travel will be strong.  That survey found that 56-percent of the respondents planned to travel for vacations this year.  That's just under the typical pre-pandemic average of 58-percent.  Dennis Statz, the co-owner of the White Lace Inn of Sturgeon Bay, expects business to improve over strong showings last year.

 



Leisure travelers are expected to make up the bulk of lodging customers for 2021.  The American Hotel & Lodging Association expects half of the rooms for business travel will remain empty.

Feed My People reopening to public this week

Feed and Clothe My People of Door County is looking forward to reopening its doors. While they have been closed, they have required families to make appointments before picking up items. People have still been able to donate food but in a more restricted way.  When Feed and Clothe My People of Door County reopen their doors, families will be allowed to enter the pantry during their operating hours. The receiving personnel coordinator of the pantry, Ashley Madson, describes their needs as they reopen their doors.

 

 

Community members will be able to stop by to drop off donations starting February 2. The pantry will continue to be open Tuesdays from 10 AM to 2 PM and Thursdays from 1 PM to 5 PM.

100+ Women Who Care aids Cradle to Career program

A program that helps single mothers in Door County with career training is getting a big financial boost.  Lakeshore CAP's Cradle to Career program is getting $10,000 from the 100+ Women Who Care of Northern Door County.  That comes through the organization's quarterly fundraising which provides money to non-profits nominated by members.  The Cradle to Career program helps single moms and some two-parent families with basic needs, set budgetary and financial goals, and obtain GED's, secondary education or job training.  The program operates on a combination of grants, United Way contributions, and other donations.  Coordinator Kris Miller says the funds from 100+ Women Who Care will be a big help for the 12 clients currently in the program.

 



In addition to helping the Cradle to Career program, 100+ Women Who Care also gave $4,500 each to Operation Not Alone, which aid active duty military personnel, and the Peninsula Players Theatre.


Man facing child sex crime felonies after arrest by Sturgeon Bay Police

A Little Suamico man, arrested by Sturgeon Bay Police last week, has been charged with three felonies related to attempting sex crimes directed at a child. According to a Sturgeon Bay Police social media post this weekend, an Internet Crimes Against Children investigation led to Corey Bergh's arrest in Sturgeon Bay on a high-risk traffic stop. The 57-year old Little Suamico man, who was on supervision for a previous child sex crime, was taken into custody without incident. The investigation on a virtual platform called Doublelist made Bergh believe he communicated with a 15-year old child. He was subsequently arrested by Sturgeon Bay Police last Sunday when he thought he was meeting with the child. Bergh has been charged with Attempted 2nd Degree Sexual Assault of a Child, Use of a Computer to Facilitate a Child Sex Crime, and Child Enticement. Bergh is currently confined to the Door County Jail on a cash bond and being held on a probation violation. The Sturgeon Bay Police news release is posted below.  

 

Press Release: Internet Crimes Against Children Arrest

 

(photo courtesy of Sturgeon Bay Police)

Plum and Pilot Island restoration work proceeds for 2021

Restoration work on lighthouses and other structures on Plum and Pilot Islands will move forward this summer. Those projects were put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.  Volunteers will be able to help with some work during one-day sessions each month from June through September.  Patti Zarling, Marketing Director with the Friends of Plum and Pilot Islands, says additional work on the former life-saving station will be done with aid from federal agencies.

 



Restoration work is also being aided by a $200,000 grant from the David L. and Rita E. Nelson Family Fund of Kaukauna.  Zarling says those funds will pay for the removal and replacement of lead-based paints from the light towers.
 



Past restoration work brought needed dock repairs and electricity to the Plum and Pilot Island structures. 

 

(pictures courtesy of Friends of Plum and Pilot Islands)

New Workforce Development director echoes call for new unemployment system

The new director of the Bay Area Workforce Development agrees with Governor Tony Evers' call for considerable investment in the state's unemployment system. The state dealt with a massive backlog of unemployment insurance claims during the last nine months of 2020 that was not resolved until late December. Matt Valiquette, who recently replaced the retiring Jim Golembeski, says the current system is extremely outdated. 

 

 

Valiquette adds that the current unemployment system's technology backbone is antiquated and needs to be replaced to prevent similar backlogs in the future.  According to statistics released last Wednesday from the U.S. Bureau of Labor, the Green Bay area showed an increased rate of nearly two percent of non-seasonally adjusted unemployment last month compared to December of 2019. December's pre-pandemic number in 2019 was 3.2 percent in 2019 and 5.1 percent in 2020.

 

 

(photo submitted)


Organizations pair up for 2021 Big Plant

Two environmentally focused organizations are teaming up to make Earth Day a little more special. The Village of Egg Harbor Green Tier Group is teaming up with the Climate Change Coalition of Door County for the 2021 Big Plant. In the past, larger-scale planting events have been scheduled around the county. This year, the organization is encouraging community members to have smaller group plantings with the goal of planting 5,000 trees. Egg Harbor Environmental and Sustainability Coordinator Lydia Semo says it is an opportunity for the Green Tier Task Force to have a positive impact in the community.

Egg Harbor earned its first Green Tier Advocate Award in 2020 and its task force also helps organize the village’s composting program. You can find more information on how you can get a tree to plant by clicking this link.

Milder winter saving money on Sevastopol school project

The lack of heavy snowfall and extreme cold is saving the Sevastopol School District some cool cash on the construction of the school addition.  The district budgeted $200,000 to cover winter weather-related expenses.  That includes snow removal from the building site and providing temporary interior heating.  Superintendent Kyle Luedtke says that's permitted interior work to be done with little use of that contingency fund.

Luedtke also says the COVID-19 pandemic has had no impact on construction.  He says work s running on schedule and under budget.

Newest Kewaunee Police dog in training

The next set of paws to uphold the laws in Kewaunee is in training. Kewaunee Police Department’s newest K-9 Chase will be on the case in the near future after he finishes his training with Wisconsin K-9 Services.

 

Until then, Kewaunee Police Officer Brian Gale continues to work with K-9 Charlie, who joined the force as the department’s first dog in 2016. The Kewaunee Police Department raised over $8,000 to get Charlie and train him. Another $8,000 was required for Charlie’s equipment and upkeep. Gale credits Charlie with getting narcotics off the street, tracking and apprehending suspects, and helping find lost subjects. He considers himself fortunate to be a K-9 handler as someone who has always wanted to be involved in that type of law enforcement. Gale knows it is very time consuming to train a K-9 and it sometimes tests his patience. Despite that, Gale says it is rewarding to see Charlie doing his job and succeeding at it.

 

The K-9 program at the Kewaunee Police Department is funded by community donations to offset the costs of training, equipment, and dog food.

 

You can read more about Gale’s experience as a K-9 handler below.

 

Question 1: What happened to the first dog?

Our first dog, Canine Charlie is still working with me on the street. He is getting up there in age and I will continue to work with him till Canine Chase is ready for the street.

 

Question 2: How do you like being a K-9 handler on the force?

Working as a Canine Handler is a honor for this department. I have been very fortunate having Canine Charlie as a partner and he has been instrumental in getting narcotics off of the streets, apprehending suspect, tracking lost subjects and tracking suspects running from law enforcement. Working a police dog is very rewarding when he is doing his job and succeeding at it.

 

Question 3: The biggest thing you learned about being a K-9 handler?

The biggest thing I have learned is that dogs are all about rituals. I cannot just throw the dog out of the car and expect him to do his job. A Canine is all about rituals before any type of deployment. Every time I deploy Canine Charlie, weather it be for a building search, narcotic sniff or track, I have to perform a ritual for that deployment. Then the dog understands what he is doing. I have also learned the virtue of patience. Training a dog is very time consuming and sometimes tests your patience. I need to remember that Canine Charlie is still just a dog.

 

Question 4: What excites you the most about Chase and getting to continue being a K-9 handler?

Like I said earlier being a Canine Handler is an absolute honor. I have been very fortunate and met a retired Canine Handler Timothy Newtols, from Brown County. Tim is the owner of Wisconsin Canine Services. He is the one that is doing the majority of the training for Canine Chase, and is also instrumental in the success of myself and Canine Charlie as a team.  

 

Ever since I was a child I wanted to work with dogs. I am very fortunate that we have been very successful as a Canine team and that I will be able to continue working a Canine. I love training dogs and at this time Canine Chase is a puppy. I am very excited to assist in the training of Canine Chase. I look forward to seeing Canine Chase progress from a puppy to working the streets as a Police Canine. It will be very rewarding seeing all of the time we have put in training Chase pay off on street deployments.

 

Pictures and videos courtesy of Wisconsin K-9 Services

 


Renstrom ready to head up granary restoration

New Sturgeon Bay Historical Society Foundation acting executive director Beth Renstrom is ready to put her love for history and historic buildings to work. The organization announced Renstrom as its point person for the group’s efforts to convert the former Teweles and Brandeis grain elevator into a three-season event space on Monday. Renstrom moved to Sturgeon Bay with her husband Jay as she was entering the final stages of her career at Oracle, a global software company. Her travels around the world helped Renstrom develop a love for history and eventually drew her to the granary restoration efforts.

She is excited to help transform the granary into a place for people to visit for years to come.

She is looking forward to working with the city and the foundation to help reach the benchmarks put forth in their development agreement and doing the necessary fundraising to make the project a reality.

School liaison officers serve important purpose

Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski was reminded last week of the importance of schools having liaison officers on duty. It was just over a week ago when Kewaunee School District received a threatening phone call that ended up sending kids home early for the weekend. Kewaunee High School Liaison Officer Scott Szydel was able to alert the county’s other two school districts and its private schools about the threat as well as communicate with the Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department. Joski says school liaison officers serve important roles even when there is no immediate threat.

Earlier this week, Kewaunee Police Chief James Kleiman said in an email that they are still looking into the origin of the phone call that sent local schools into lockdown on January 21st. He did point out that a similar call was received at another school in a different state at approximately the same time. The Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department has two deputies, Nia Dubois and Dana Schopf, assigned to Luxemburg-Casco School District. The Algoma and Kewaunee School Districts contract their school liaison officers with their local police departments. In Door County, the Sturgeon Bay Police Department has their officer at Sturgeon Bay School District. The Door County Sheriff’s Department has deputies placed at Gibraltar, Sevastopol, and Southern Door. You can learn more about the importance of school liaison officers below.

 

FROM SHERIFF MATT JOSKI

As I continue in providing information on the annual operations of the Sheriff’s Department, I feel this is a great time to focus on the amazing school liaison resources which we share with our school districts. If we look at the makeup of our community on any given week day, there is no greater concentration of people and activity than that of our schools. It is fitting that we allocate resources to these important members of our community; our students, in a setting which has such a great impact on their current and future lives.

 

        As it pertains to the Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department, we provide two School Liaison Deputies to the Luxemburg / Casco School District as part of a contract for services. These positions and their duties are quite unique and the skill set necessary to be successful is also unique. We are very fortunate to have the two Deputies we currently provide to the school who possess the very traits and qualities to make this a successful relationship. Deputy Nia DuBois is our School Liaison Deputy for the High School, and Deputy Dana Schopf is our Liaison Deputy for the Primary, Intermediate and Middle School. Both of these young ladies bring with them a great deal of energy and passion for working with our youth, and the relationships they have built over the years has been a great benefit to not only the students, but the staff as well.

 

         Just as in any community, those school communities experience a great diversity in personalities, backgrounds and behaviors. The ability to have a law enforcement resource at hand when incidents arise has proven essential time and time again. Just this past week, we had an unfortunate event at the Kewaunee School District, which had the potential to impact our other local school districts. Having an established relationship in the schools and a history of working hand in hand to develop response plans and protocols, proved valuable in a seamless and effective response as we worked alongside the City of Kewaunee Police Department to investigate and mitigate the impact of the threat.

 

         Another valuable aspect of this program is the ability for our Deputies to have daily interaction and engagement in a positive way to demonstrate that the men and women serving in law enforcement are in fact human beings who can serve as not just a resource for filing complaints or conducting investigations, but also as a trusted resource of advice and mentorship for the many challenges our young people face day in and day out.

 

        These roles, while rewarding, are probably some of the most demanding in our department. The complaints they are called to investigate and the sensitivity that they must show require a great deal of empathy, compassion and patience. The ability to interact effectively with Students, staff and parents is key to maintaining the trust needed for such a program to be successful. Thank you Nia and Dana for all that you do in our schools to keep our students safe and assist the staff in creating the best learning environment possible.

         

Highway crews doing less plowing more tree trimming

The Door County Highway Department has had fewer days running snowplows this winter.  That's making the drive along state and county roads a bit smoother for motorists.  There have been fewer days of extreme cold followed by thawing cycles.  So, highway crews are spending less time plowing sanding and salting roads.  Highway Commissioner John Kolodziej says such conditions are also allowing for highway workers to take care of other work along with township, county, and state roadways.

 


Kolodziej says the milder conditions are helping maintain salt, salt-brine, and sand supplies.   Though the county does have access to additional material should heavy snowfall move into the area.


Active cases continue downward trend

Door County saw recoveries outnumber positive cases of COVID-19 again on Friday.  Door County Public Health reported just four new coronavirus cases with 11 recoveries and active cases decreasing by six to 223.  The positivity rate of the 41 tests performed was under ten percent as reported on Friday.   There were no new deaths or hospitalizations in Door County.

 

Following the trend in Door County, Kewaunee County had only two new coronavirus cases with nine more recoveries.  The number of active cases decreased by seven and now stands at 65.

 

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported 1,567 confirmed coronavirus cases with 91 more hospitalizations and 49 deaths.  As of Friday, nearly 470,000 vaccines have been administered throughout Wisconsin and over 90,000 residents have received both doses of the vaccine.  The state's population is over 5.8 million.  

 

 

Demand increases for behavioral health services

COVID-19 concerns and a divisive political climate have led more Door County residents to consider mental health counseling.  The Behavioral Health Program at Door County Medical Center has seen more people seeking help for stresses in relationships or uncertainty over health concerns and the future.  Behavioral Health Coordinator Barb Johnson-Giese recommends people first take steps to reduce such anxieties by accentuating the positive aspects in their lives.

Johnson-Giese says, however, professional help should be considered when signs of serious issues materialize.

Behavioral treatment professionals can help their clients find ways to better cope with life's challenges and move forward.

Gibraltar School Board addressing teacher resignations

The Gibraltar Schools Board of Education is taking a serious look into the contributing factors leading to the recent untimely resignation of a teacher.  The board met in closed session Thursday to address that matter. In a written statement to DoorCountyDailyNews.com, School Board President Stephen Seyfer says “We discussed what we know, what we think we know, and areas that we do not know enough about, and a strategy for gaining a clearer and informed understanding of our school’s professional environment. The process we envision requires time and effort and we are committed to both.”   The board will discuss that strategy at its next regular meeting on February 8th.



The following is the full statement from Gibraltar School Board President Stephen Seyfer on a plan to investigate and respond to recent teacher resignations:  


“The Board, our superintendent, and our district’s legal counsel completed a clear and frank conversation regarding a study of teacher and parent concerns for the number and frequency of untimely resignations from district employment.  We discussed what we know, what we think we know, and areas that we do not know enough about, and a strategy for gaining a clearer and informed understanding of our school’s professional environment.  The process we envision requires time and effort and we are committed to both.  The Board will discuss this strategy as an agenda item at our next regularly scheduled board meeting.”

Vaccine distribution a numbers game

Health departments in Door and Kewaunee counties are vaccinating who they can and when they can, but a lot of that depends on the supply they are given by the state and federal government. Door County announced earlier this week they only received 30 percent of the COVID-19 vaccines they requested from the state government. It forced the Door County Public Health Department to cancel many of the appointments they had set up for its vaccine clinics on Thursday and Friday and to stop taking appointments altogether. The state Department of Health Services announced this week it would be expanding its Phase 1B-eligible residents to include teachers, child-care workers, and some public-facing essential workers on March 1st. Just like everyone else, Door County Public Health Educator Chelsea Smies says that will depend on how much of the COVID-19 vaccine they receive.

DHS officials announced on Thursday over 83,000 Wisconsinites have completed the COVID-19 vaccination series. Just under 5 percent of the state’s population has received at least one dose of the vaccine, which is even with Illinois’ progress (4.8 percent) and lags behind Minnesota (5.3 percent), Michigan (6.3 percent), Iowa (5.2 percent), and Indiana (6.4 percent).

 

UPDATE FOR DOOR COUNTY PUBLIC HEALTH

 

 

Cause of Nasewaupee trailer fire being investigated

The cause of a fire at a mobile home park in Nasewaupee on Thursday morning is still unknown. Fire department crews from Southern Door, Brussels-Union-Gardner, Algoma, and Sturgeon Bay were called to one of the mobile home park located near the Highway 42-57 split at approximately 11:45 a.m. There were reports of smoke coming out of the bottom of one of the trailers and into the residence. Firefighters ripped away the skirting around the trailer to find a smoldering fire near one of its corners. Southern Door Assistant Fire Chief Chuck Cihlar says there are no signs of the fire starting inside the home.

Cihlar said they were able to call off the other departments after they were able to find and extinguish the fire. Nobody was hurt in the fire and firefighters just had to vent out the home before its residents were able to return inside.

Demand growing at area food pantries

Since the start of the pandemic, nearly 20% more people in Door and Kewaunee County have become eligible for FoodShare. At the same time, many food pantries are experiencing a decrease in donations from grocery stores and manufacturers that have helped them in the past. 

 

With so many families visiting food banks for the first time, you may be wondering what food pantries need. If you are interested in donating to your local food pantry here are some common needs: 

  • personal care products such as deodorant, shampoo, and conditioner 
  • laundry soap 
  • toilet paper 
  • spices
  • cooking oil 
  • fresh onions
  • canned soups
  • canned vegetables
  • oatmeal

Please avoid perishable foods or items that need to be refrigerated or kept frozen. Don’t be afraid to ask because local food pantry needs are unique at each location. Donations are greatly appreciated and you are making a big impact in your own community.

Luxemburg-Casco's Diesel Tech program getting close

The old Luxemburg-Casco Middle School in Casco is still being utilized for educational programs with bigger plans for the immediate future.  Superintendent Glenn Schlender says the school district has implemented an alternative high school program already with even bigger repurposing plans soon.  The alternative high school is a cooperative effort with Kewaunee School District, and Schlender says a new Diesel Tech program is not that far away.

 

 

The instruction would be for the first year of a two-year Diesel Tech program.  As far as funding the project, the school district raises money through local trucking companies and works with an architectural firm to cut costs.  Schlender adds that the Diesel Tech program would be the first one in the state if the plan becomes a reality.

State Assembly halts mask mandate repeal vote

The Wisconsin Assembly, controlled by Republicans, canceled a vote on Thursday afternoon to repeal Governor Tony Evers' mask mandate.  District 1 Representative Joel Kitchens said he expected the vote to be close and that the concern over losing federal funding played a key role in delaying the vote.

 

 

Speaker Robin Vos reportedly stated that the vote would be done only if federal money the state receives would not be at stake.  The assembly could be called back in session for a vote as early as next week to repeal the mask ban.  Kitchens said the reason behind Republicans repealing the mask mandate is questioning Governor Evers' sole authority to issue such action.  Governor Evers extended Wisconsin's mask mandate last week through March 20.

Active cases continue to decrease in Door County

Door County saw a low positivity rate for COVID-19, and recoveries outnumbered confirmed positive tests on Thursday. Door County Public Health reported four new coronavirus cases with eight recoveries noted.  The positivity rate of the 58 tests performed was under seven percent, and active cases decreased by four to 229.  No additional hospitalizations or deaths were reported in Door County.

Kewaunee County Public Health website did not have a COVID-19 update online, but Health Official Cindy Kinnard emailed DoorCountyDailyNews.com late Thursday reporting 31 new cases of coronavirus since Monday, along with 45 recoveries bringing active cases down 14 to 72.

Wisconsin Department of Health Services confirmed 1,802 coronavirus cases on Thursday.   Hospitalizations for COVID-19 in the state went up by 87, and 24 deaths were reported.

 

Blazei to lead Kewaunee County Dairy Promotion

The man who has helped lead tours during the Kewaunee County Breakfast on the Farm for the past decade will now take the reins of the organization that puts on the event. John Blazei was recently selected as the new Kewaunee County Dairy Promotion Committee President. A hoof trimmer by trade, Blazei has worked with dairy farmers since he started the business in 1987. It was not until he started giving tours at the Kewaunee County Breakfast on the Farm over a decade ago that he got involved with the organization. Blazei is excited about his new role with the organization.

He is hopeful the organization will be able to hold its signature event, the Kewaunee County Breakfast on the Farm, this Father Day’s at Augustian Farms located south of Kewaunee. Last year’s Kewaunee County Breakfast on the Farm at Salentine Homestead Dairy in Luxemburg was canceled, but the committee instead gave away dairy products during June Dairy Month in addition to ice cream stops throughout the summer.

 

Photo courtesy of Kewaunee County Dairy Promotion Committee

Bill proposed to change electoral vote process

President Joe Biden would have only gotten four of the 10 Electoral College votes under a plan proposed by a Republican legislator earlier this month. Bonduel Rep. Gary Tauchen's bill would turn Wisconsin from a “winner-take-all” state to one that assigns Electoral College delegates by Congressional district. The candidate with the most votes would receive two additional delegates under the proposal. According to the Wisconsin Examiner, Tauchen touts the plan as a better way to “reflect Wisconsin’s diverse political landscape.” If approved, Wisconsin would join Maine and Nebraska as the only states following that model. Common Cause Wisconsin Executive Director Jay Heck would rather Wisconsin keep the system it has currently.

A similar bill was introduced by Rep. Tauchen in 2007 with support from current Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and current Senate President Devin LeMahieu. Heck says he would rather see the Electoral College get abolished, opting to choose the President by popular vote.

 

Picture courtesy of Pixabay

Town of Nasewaupee open to ATV trail idea

Town of Nasewaupee leaders are open to a request by the City of Sturgeon Bay to create an ATV/UTV trail link between the two communities.  Sturgeon Bay's Parking and Traffic Committee sent a letter to the township asking that the trail be extended to County Road C between Park Dive and N. Duluth Avenue.  Sturgeon Bay would then open the section from N. Duluth to Bullhead Point.  Town Chair Steve Sullivan believes such a move would benefit both communities.

Once the proposal is approved by the township and the city it will be sent to the Door County Board of Supervisors for final consideration.

Watershed group's efforts paying off

The adoption of new practices by members of Peninsula Pride Farms is having a positive impact on the land in Kewaunee and southern Door counties according to new data released Wednesday. The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection used special nutrient management planning software to calculate the potential annual phosphorus loss and soil erosion on fields where cover crops and reduced tilling practices are being used. Depending on the type of operation, farms using these practices saw a phosphorus loss reduction of between 420 to 1,347 pounds and a soil erosion reduction of 326 and 958 tons. Reducing both could have a positive impact on the area’s soil health and water quality over time. Peninsula Pride Farms President Don Niles said they are ecstatic about the progress that has been made since the producer-led watershed group was formed five years ago. He also understands the importance of showing the community their report card of how their new practices are working.

The Nature Conservancy helped fund the efforts of Peninsula Pride Farms to recruit new members so more of the conservation practices can be implemented across the region with a $10,000 grant. It is part of their goal to reduce nutrient runoff from cropland into waterways by 20 percent over the next five years. Agricultural Strategies Director Steve Richter said the analysis shows the practices are working but more can still be done.

Much of the reductions in phosphorus loss and soil erosion can be attributed to an increase in conservation tillage practices and cover crops. Conservation Specialist Dana Christel says Peninsula Pride Farms members have more than doubled the acreage using cover crops and conservation tillage practices since the group formed in 2016.

 

DATCP Conservation Specialist Dana Christel explains the data

Explanation of analysis from Peninsula Pride Farms

The analysis was completed as part of a conservation benefits tracking project initiated by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection to evaluate impacts of the state’s Producer-Led Watershed Protection Grants Program. The initiative was developed in collaboration with the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Soil Science and The Nature Conservancy. Wisconsin’s SnapPlus nutrient management planning software was used to calculate the potential annual phosphorus loss and soil erosion on fields when farms include practices such as cover crops and reduced tillage.

 

While not every conservation practice provided significant reductions for each scenario, below are examples of the amount of phosphorus loss and soil erosion that can be avoided with the adoption of practices on agricultural landscapes in southern Door and Kewaunee counties. Acreages of practices are based on the average number of acres implemented on PPF member farms in 2019.

 

It is important to note that the calculations below are based on comparisons of generalized systems, not actual farms, and do not take into account the other watershed variables that impact how sediment and phosphorus make their way into a stream or lake. 

 

For comparison, a mid-size dump truck can carry 10 tons of sediment, and 1 pound of phosphorus in a waterway has the potential to cause the growth of up to 500 pounds of algae.

 

Dairy farm with a corn silage and alfalfa rotation adopting 362 acres of small grain cover crops following corn silage

Phosphorus loss reduction: 420 pounds

Soil erosion reduction: 326 tons

 

Corn, soybean and winter wheat operation adopting 708 acres of strip-tillage

Phosphorus loss reduction: 1,083 pounds

Soil erosion reduction: 885 tons

 

Continuous corn operation adopting 327 acres of no-tillage

Phosphorus loss reduction: 1,347 pounds

Soil erosion reduction: 958 tons

Active COVID cases continue to slide

Door County saw another reduction in active COVID-19 cases on Wednesday. 

 

Eight positive tests were announced by the Door County Public Health, but that was also paired with another 12 recoveries. The number of active cases now stands at 233 in Door County. While Kewaunee County did not update its totals, Wisconsin reported another 1,328 positive COVID-19 tests on Wednesday along with 34 deaths and 93 hospitalizations.

 

Earlier this week, the state added teachers, child-care workers, and some public-facing essential workers like grocery store employees to its last phase of the 1B group currently being vaccinated. Those individuals will have to wait until at least March 1st however to receive their first dose.

Pellet stove starts small Sturgeon Bay Fire

A fitting attached to a pellet stove is to blame for an early Wednesday morning fire on Sturgeon Bay's East Side.

 

According to a report from Sturgeon Bay Fire Chief Tim Dietman, firefighters reported to the home on Alabama Street after 2 a.m. after the homeowner requested firefighters to check out her pellet stove. The homeowner had already put out the fire by the time crews arrived, but a hazy smoke still remained in the basement and on the first and second floors. Firefighters discovered a 90-degree fitting had failed and opened enough to transfer adequate heat to ignite the subflooring, burn through the joint cavity, and also start a small area of carpeting on fire. The homeowner told the crews she was able to put the fire out by pouring a bucket of water through the opening to extinguish the flames.

 

The scene was cleared just after 3 a.m.  

 

Kewaunee County Board to revisit jail project vote

Although a majority of the Kewaunee County Board Wednesday evening voted to approve Phase 3 of the new jail project, the action will not stand.  The supervisors approved the resolution by an 11-8 margin. Still, Board Chair Dan Olson says he was informed by Corporate Counsel Jeffrey Wisnicky Wednesday morning that a two-thirds vote was needed to pass the resolution since it would impact the current budget.

 

 

Olson says the matter will now have to be placed on the board's agenda for next month for another vote.  The resolution called for approval of contracting with Venture Architects to proceed on the next phase of the Public Safety Planning and Design project with estimated costs of $179,000, funded from the General Fund.  The entire project would be for a new jail, 9-1-1 center, and a shared lobby that is projected to cost $21 million after being scaled down. 

 

(photo of Kewaunee County Board meeting on Youtube video channel)

Kewaunee HS socially distancing in the Second Semester

Kewaunee High school Principal Michael Bennet is concerned about social distancing with the new schedule in effect. His concern stems from the fact that lunch is a time where many students will be gathered into one area. With about 125 students in each lunch period, Bennet has found a way to make sure that COID-19 guidelines are still being followed.

 

 

 This schedule was successfully tested the final week of the semester, and the social distancing guidelines followed. With this way of keeping students distanced, Bennet hopes to keep the high school students safe and in school.

Local Museum of Civilization exhibit opening Friday

The Miller Art Museum is opening a pop-up exhibit this weekend in conjunction with the Door County Library’s Big Read program. Local artists were invited to interpret the novel "Station 11" through visual arts. Miller Art Museum Curator Helen Del Guidice says that Emily St. John Mandel's utopian novel is a post-apocalyptic atmosphere where survivors created a museum of civilization with everyday objects. She says the five artworks on display are in the Gerhard Miller Room.

 

 

A virtual Museum of Civilization will be developed by the community in the next few weeks. The exhibit officially opens on Friday and will remain on display until February 15. The Miller Art Museum is located within the Sturgeon Bay Library on South Fourth Avenue. The museum is currently open to the public by appointment only Monday through Saturday. You can call to arrange your private viewing of the exhibits on display. 

 

 

Reported burglary in West Kewaunee Township

The Kewaunee County Sheriff's Department is looking for help on any information on a reported burglary in the West Kewaunee Township on Tuesday. The suspect entered an open garage and stole Milwaukee brand tools and some chainsaws. Sheriff Matt Joski requests that anyone with any information on suspicious activity, including unfamiliar vehicles or persons in the West Kewaunee area near Highway 29, contact the Kewaunee County Sheriff's Department. 

Door County coronavirus recoveries continue upswing

Door County continued an encouraging sign of more recoveries and a lower positivity rate for COVID-19 on Tuesday.  Only three new coronavirus cases were reported with 24 recoveries noted.  The number of active cases decreased by 20 to 236 and there were no new hospitalizations or deaths recorded.  The small sampling of 27 tests performed showed a positivity rate of just over 11 percent and one “probable” case.

 

Kewaunee County Public Health’s next COVID-19 update will be on Thursday as staff focuses on the rollout of vaccines being distributed this week.

 

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services confirmed 1,301 coronavirus cases on Tuesday.  Hospitalizations for COVID-19 in the state went up by 135 and 54 deaths were reported.

 

Door County Coffee & Tea Company issues allergy alert recall

Two lots of French Vanilla Flavored Cappuccino Single Serve Cups distributed by Door County Coffee & Tea are being recalled by the Sturgeon Bay manufacturer. According to an FDA posting this last week, the company recalled the 5.1-ounce packages that may contain undeclared Milk and Soy. No illnesses have been reported to date of anyone who has consumed this product and may have risked suffering a serious or life-threatening allergic reaction. The recalled French Vanilla Flavored Cappuccino Single Serve Cups were distributed in Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Texas, and Florida at retail outlets.  President of Door County Coffee Vicki Wilson says the recall was self-reported to the FDA after discovering that the product contained Milk and Soy without revealing the presence of the allergen on the packaging which was caused by a printing omission.

 

 

The company’s statement urges consumers to discard the product and contact Door Coffee & Tea Company for a refund or placement. You can find the lot codes and contact information below.

 

 

1-800-856-6613

 

 

The product was sold starting on October 7 last year with lot code 1C092220-2 that expires 9/22/2022 and 1C120220-A  that expires 12/2/2022.

 

 

Vicki Wison's complete explanation of the recall is below.

 

 

Kewaunee Fire Chief Hlinak retiring after 44 years

The Kewaunee Fire Department looking to replace 77 years of experience and leadership in the coming months.  Fire Chief Greg Hlinak and Assistant Fire Chief Paul Nimmer will be retiring in the next two months.  After 44 years with the city, Hlinak will be retiring on April 1st, the anniversary date of his hiring by the Kewaunee Police Department.  He says it was a difficult decision, but one that he and Nimmer have been discussing for some time.

 

 

Nimmer served for 33 years and will be officially retiring next month.  Hlinak moved up the ranks in the department as a training officer and fire inspector before becoming fire chief.   He says he will miss many parts of the job, but not the technology.  Staying in Kewaunee after retirement, Hlinak shares his future plans.

 

 

Hlinak was honored as the state’s Volunteer Fire Chief of the Year in 2016, after being nominated by Nimmer.  Kewaunee City Council will now look to the Police and Fire Commission to appoint a new fire chief to start in April. 

 

(photo of Fire Chief Hlinak taken at 2016 event)

Rogue Theater to host virtual auditions

Sturgeon Bay’s Rogue Theater is adding a different twist to Zoom meetings on Saturday when it hosts its auditions for the upcoming season virtually. Right now the theater company is planning on doing at least one unique show a month for two-week runs. It is looking for men, women, and teenagers to fill the roles for those productions. Actors will get the scripts emailed to them ahead of time so they can prepare before going on the Zoom call to audition. Rogue Theater Managing Director Stuart Champeau says hosting the auditions virtually is allowing them to see performers they may never had a chance to audition otherwise.

You can contact Rogue Theater to set up your virtual audition. Rogue Theater recently announced it would be building its own venue in December for a hopeful opening in May.

Town chairperson hopes to return to in-person meetings

Liberty Grove Town Chairperson John Lowry hopes its board will be able to conduct its business in person as soon as it is safe. The town recently approved a resolution to extend its allowance of supervisors and committee members to appear via telephone or other electronic devices if they are not able to appear in person. In-person or not, the appearance does count towards the minimum quorum requirement. It has been especially important during the pandemic as most of the meetings have either had limited in-person attendance or 100 percent virtual. Lowry says it is not a perfect system, especially considering the Internet issues the area has and the impact it has on participation.

Depending on the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine, Lowry hopes in-person meetings could return in the late summer to early fall.

Egg Harbor firefighters to reorganize

The Egg Harbor Fire Department will have to reorganize as a non-profit organization if it wants to continue fundraising to help pay for their operations.

 

Attorney Randy Nesbitt notified Egg Harbor Fire Chief Andy Staats on Monday that the Egg Harbor Firefighters, Inc. had its corporation administratively dissolved by the State of Wisconsin back on May 29th, 2017. Under state law and its by-laws, the Egg Harbor Firefighters, Inc. had to wind up its affairs and transfer its remaining funds to the Town of Egg Harbor. Those funds can still be used for fire department operations. That action took place on January 12th. In his letter to Staats, Nesbitt recommended the department establish a new non-stock, non-profit corporation so they could continue their fundraising efforts to help pay for their operations. Voting members would consist of only active firefighters and EMS personnel with the Egg Harbor Fire Department with the funds maintained by the Town of Egg Harbor. 

 

In a press release, Staats thanked everyone who has supported the department through the Egg Harbor Firefighter’s Association over the past years. He also said the officers of the fire department have agreed to pursue the necessary steps with the state to become a non-profit organization. You can read the letter from Nestbitt and Staats’ statement below.

 

 

Vacation home renters question "six-night stay minimum" ordinance

Some people who rent out homes for short-term stays in the Town of Sevastopol are concerned about a proposed ordinance heading to the Town Board next month.  The Sevastopol Plan Commission approved a draft of a Short-Term Rental of Residential Dwelling Ordinance last Thursday.  Matthew Horton of Sister Bay, who owns four vacation rentals in Baileys Harbor, questions why the ordinance would require rentals for six consecutive nights or more. He believes that would impact where many visitors would choose to vacation in the future.

 

 

Horton adds that the six-night minimum would kill many of the vacation rental industry in Door County that provides secondary income for many people and ultimately impact real estate values.

 

 

 

The current draft of the ordinance classifies "short-term rental" as any stay of fewer than 29 days.  Any property owner or resident agent who manages a Short-term Rental for more than ten nights each year would be required to be abiding by the ordinance.  The Town of Sevastopol will review the Short-Term Rental of Residential Dwelling Ordinance draft at its next meeting on February 15.   

Area recoveries up for COVID-19 cases

Door County saw recoveries outnumber positive cases of COVID-19 since Friday. On Monday, Door County Public Health reported 11 new coronavirus cases with 37 recoveries noted.  Active cases decreased by 21 to 259, which is the lowest in several weeks.  No additional hospitalizations or deaths were reported in Door County.

 

Kewaunee County Public Health disclosed 20 more COVID-19 cases on Monday with 24 new recoveries.  Exactly 2300 people reportedly have now recovered from coronavirus in Kewaunee County since the beginning of the pandemic.  The number of active cases in Kewaunee County went down by four to 86.   The hospitalizations in Kewaunee County decreased by two, with two people remaining hospitalized and no recent deaths reported.  Due to this week’s vaccine rollout, Kewaunee County Public Health’s next COVID-19 update will be this Thursday.  

 

Wisconsin Department of Health Services confirmed less than 1,000 coronavirus cases on Monday, reportedly the lowest daily count in over four months.   Hospitalizations for COVID-19 in the state went up by 56, and eight deaths were recorded.

 

 

Door County receives about 30 percent of requested vaccine

The Door County Public Health Department received less than half of the COVID-19 vaccines than they had requested for this week.   Joe Krebsbach, Health and Human Services Director, says the county was disappointed to find out that they were getting only 120 of the 300 requested Pfizer vaccines. He shares the reason behind the shortfall in vaccines that will be delivered this week from the state’s greater rollout.

 

 

The vaccine drive-thru clinics are scheduled for this Thursday and Friday. Since Door County scheduled vaccinations this week based on the requested amount, individuals with scheduled appointments that need to be canceled will receive an e-mail and be placed on a waiting list. Monday was the first day that people 65 years of age and older were eligible in the state to receive the vaccine. You can read the complete news release here.

Door County Short Film Festival goes virtual

You’ll have the opportunity to watch more movies over a longer period of time during this year’s Door County Short Film Festival.

 

Like many other events, the Door County Short Film Festival has opted to go virtual with its offerings due to the pandemic. As a result, the 12th edition of the event will take place over the course of 10 days and offer access to four feature films created in the state, as well as 30 short films produced from around the world. While it certainly will not be the same experience, Louise Howson from the Sister Bay Advancement Association is excited about what the virtual option will allow film lovers to enjoy.

You can buy tickets online for the Door County Short Film Festival, which runs from February 12th-21st.

 

Picture courtesy of the Sister Bay Advancement Association of the 2021 Juried Golden Mug Award will be presented to the film that a four-person jury selects as the “best of the Fest,” while the 2021 People’s Choice Mug Award will be presented to the film that receives the most votes from attendees. 

Ephraim puts PRAT on April ballot

Ephraim residents will decide on April 6th if an additional 0.5 percent sales tax should be placed on tourism-related purchases within the village. The Village Board approved the decision to put the Premier Resort Area Tax on the ballot as a referendum question as a way to raise the necessary funding to address the community’s infrastructure needs. Administrator Brent Bristol said back in October that nailing down the details of the village’s ten-year plan sped up the conversations to potentially add the PRAT.

 

 

If approved by voters, Ephraim would become the second Door County community to enact the PRAT, following Sister Bay’s lead in 2018. The two communities got a special exemption from the state to allow the PRAT, which is typically reserved for communities like Wisconsin Dells and Rhinelander, where tourism-related businesses account for at least 40 percent of the equalized assessed property values.

Sturgeon Bay Historical Society Executive Director named

Beth Renstrom has been tapped as the person to lead the efforts to restore the Teweles and Brandeis grain elevator for future generations.

 

The Sturgeon Bay Historical Society announced the selection on Monday as it works with the city to develop the granary building into a three-season event space. Once completed, the 75-foot structure would help anchor the city’s west waterfront redevelopment while housing a catering kitchen, a public restroom, and interpretative displays. Renstrom is tasked with being the point person for the architectural and construction teams as well as telling the story of the granary.

 

She and her husband Jay moved to Sturgeon Bay to become full-time residents in 2016 after almost two decades working for the global software company Oracle. In the release, Renstrom stated she has been a supporter of the granary for a long time and appreciates the community’s value of history.

 

We will have more with Renstrom later this week.

 

FULL RELEASE FROM THE STURGEON BAY HISTORICAL SOCIETY

The Sturgeon Bay Historical Society Foundation is pleased to announce that Beth Renstrom has been engaged as acting executive director in charge of the group’s efforts to convert the historic 1901 Teweles and Brandeis Granary to a three-season event space as part of the City of Sturgeon Bay’s west waterfront redevelopment plan.

 

The Historical Society Foundation is working to fulfill an agreement with the City of Sturgeon Bay to provide a gathering space for both private and public events – family reunions, art fairs, weddings, small business meetings, etc. – as part of a waterfront park. The finished structure will house a catering kitchen and a public restroom and include interpretive displays sharing the granary’s unique role in the settlement the City’s westside, once called Sawyer, and the greater Sturgeon Bay area.

 

Christie Weber, SBHSF president, says, “We are incredibly fortunate to have someone of Beth’s experience, passion and dedication. She will act as the point person for all aspects of the project, connecting our architectural team (LaDallman), the construction team (SMET) and the many volunteers who are engaged in the success of this effort. She will also help facilitate our fundraising efforts and communicate our progress and needs to the greater community. This is a huge and important project, and we have faith that Beth, with her professional experience, natural enthusiasm and love of history, is the right person to lead it.”

 

Renstrom worked for the global software company Oracle, Inc. for nearly two decades and retired as director and senior product manager. She was responsible for guiding major initiatives from concept to resolution and led teams in marketing strategy, sales and partner relationships. Her areas of expertise include communication, team building and problem solving.

 

Renstrom and her husband, Jay, have long ties to Door County and moved to Sturgeon Bay full-time in 2016. They are active in many community organizations.

 

“I’m thrilled and honored to accept this position,” said Renstrom. “I’ve been a supporter of the Teweles and Brandeis Granary for a long time and am proud to live in a community that values its history. More and more people are realizing the importance of saving the authentic structures that illuminate aspects of our past. Making the granary relevant for the present and sustainable into the future is a challenge I look forward to. We have a great, creative team working on this.”

 

The Teweles and Brandeis Granary is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is believed to be one of the last remaining grain elevators of its kind on the Great Lakes. The 75-foot tall structure (when restored) includes 19 wooden bins for grain storage on its second floor. The 20th bin space housed a manlift that allowed a worker to pull himself up to the headhouse to control a manually-rotated grain diverter. Farm families throughout the region brought harvested grain to the Teweles and Brandeis elevator where it could be stored until it was loaded onto a boat or railway car for shipment to the Milwaukee or Chicago markets.

 

One of Renstrom’s priorities will be communicating the granary’s story and restoration progress with the public and donors. “So much has been happening behind the scenes – design work, cost estimating, lease negotiations, etc. To the average person, it looks like nothing is happening. We’re excited to start sharing the project and engaging with the community more broadly.”

Packer fans share Lambeau experience

The season ended for the Green Bay Packers Sunday evening in bitter fashion, but loyal fans from Sturgeon Bay who attended the NFC Championship game say the memories will still be happy ones.  Brent Wiegand and Danielle Stahl were two of the 8,578 in attendance at Lambeau Field on Sunday.  With the capacity of the stadium able to hold over 80,000 people, Stahl, who is a season ticket holder, says the atmosphere was very different than the games she went to in the past.

 

 

Experiencing his first Packer game at Lambeau Field, Weigand says fans did their best to make as much noise as possible to distract Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

 

 

Although the tickets for the NFC Championship game were over $200 apiece and the Packers lost 31-26, both Wiegand and Stahl agreed that just being able to attend a Packer game this season made it all worthwhile. 

 

(photo contributed)

School districts continue summer sports league founded during pandemic

The summer softball league founded by several local school districts during the COVID 19 pandemic will return for another season.  The Lakeshore Softball League fielded teams from Sevastopol, Algoma, Southern Door, and Kewaunee to give youths a summer sports outlet.  There have been discussions of possibly offering another sport this summer.  The league followed all public health advisors and recommendations.  Tom Ash, Board President of the Mighty Pioneers of Sevastopol, says that will continue this season.

 



The Lakeshore Softball League allows players of different age groups to take part. Ash also says there is hope that the league will expand.
 


Ash says there has been no discussion as to whether players will be required to be immunized before playing.

 

(photo courtesy of Mighty Pioneers Sports Club)

City clearing trees from Sunset Park

Sunset Park in Sturgeon Bay will have a more spacious look this spring due to the removal of diseased trees.  Sturgeon Bay Municipal Services Director Mike Barker says the mild winter has allowed city crews to work on clearing dead Ash trees from the park impacted by the Emerald Ash Borer.  He says several dozen trees have already been taken down.

 

 

Barker estimates that the Emerald Ash Borer wiped out 75 percent of Sunset Park trees.  High water levels within the park also contributed to killing several other species of trees near Little Lake in the past year.  Barker says plans are to plant several trees this spring and summer. 

Teachers, like students, adjusting to synchronous learning

As teachers and students continue to adapt to the challenges brought about by remote learning, many are adjusting to the hybrid of having students trying to learn in-person and virtually. 
Cliff Wind, a math teacher at Sturgeon Bay High School, says this has been the most challenging year in his career.  He says the students and staff are doing their best with all things considered.

 

 

Wind notes that the one problem with synchronous learning is that some attention is being taken away from children in the classroom. The disruption caused by quarantines and isolations periodically adds to the challenges of a consistent learning environment.  He hopes the school year can return to more traditional learning methods when the next school year comes in the fall.   

FYRE program brings light to teen dating violence

The youth advocate for Help of Door County's FYRE program, forging youth relationships and education, brings light to a problem that has alarming statistics concerning teenagers.  Karla Romero says that one in five teens experience dating violence while in a relationship.  Of those victims, only one in three will ever tell anyone, according to Romero.  She says parents need to know if their child is in an abusive relationship.

 

 

Romero notes that parents and friends should watch for signs that a teen may be facing a form of dating violence.  FYRE has weekly virtual meetings with the teen members running the group.  Romero says the interaction helps to empower them to use their voice.  Teens may not confide in their parents about dating violence, fearing that future dating won't be allowed.  You can listen to the entire conversation with Karla Romero on the podcast page

Families preparing to act on immigration reform efforts

Some Door County families are preparing to take action under President Joseph Biden's proposed U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021.  The plan would help an estimated 11-million undocumented immigrants and family members through an eight-year pathway to U.S. Citizenship.  Imelda Delchambre, with the Hispanic Resource Center of Door and Kewaunee Counties, says such action will help reunite some local families whose parents are undocumented while their children were born in the U.S.
 



If enacted, the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 would also improve screening technologies used for border security and provide assistance to Central American nations to address the root causes of issues that contribute to migrations north.


Some Door County families are preparing to take action under President Joseph Biden's plan to help undocumented immigrants and family members obtain U.S. Citizenship.  Imelda Delchambre, with the Hispanic Resource Center of Door and Kewaunee Counties, says such action will help reunite some local families.

Pandemic still making spring and summer planning tricky

Even the wider spread of the vaccine rollout this month may not help save some popular events from being postponed or canceled. Door County Public Health Manager Sue Powers told viewers during Thursday’s joint Facebook Live session with Door County Medical Center that her department has received lots of questions on whether or not they could start planning festivals, sporting events, or other large gatherings. She advised organizers to hold off because if anything has been learned during the pandemic over the last year since the first recorded case of COVID-19 occurred in the United States, it is that you never know what can happen from one day to the next. Even with the vaccine available to Phase 1A and 1B individuals, there are still a lot of things that are unknown.

Even after getting vaccinated, Powers and Door County Medical Center Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jim Heise recommends people still practice the same mitigation strategies they have been for the last several months. There has been no word as of yet that any of Door County’s annual spring festivals have been canceled for 2021, but the Door County Hog Wild Run, traditionally held in June, announced earlier this week it was canceling this year’s race because of the “many unknowns still up in the air.”

Broadband, jail projects give updates

The Kewaunee County Board will get updates on two major projects happening in the area when they meet on Tuesday. Bug Tussel Wireless has been working on acquiring sites for new or existing towers to build a strong broadband network within the county. New grant funding should be announced in the coming months for the nearly $960,000 fixed wireless project. John Cain from Venture Architect is also expected to speak about the proposed public safety building which will include a jail, 911 center, and shared lobby. The pandemic forced other features of the project to be stripped from the plans. The discussion precedes a vote by the board to proceed to the third phase of the project, which would include the design portion of the building. The Kewaunee County Board will also honor the memory of former supervisor Gordon Prahl and juvenile clerk Candi Lynn Brown when they meet on Tuesday beginning at 6 p.m.

Sturgeon Bay seeks ATV trail link with Town of Nasewaupee

Demand from ATV/UTV vehicle owners is prompting the City of Sturgeon Bay to ask the Town of Nasewaupee to create a trail link.  Sturgeon Bay is requesting the township open County Highway C between Park Drive and North Duluth Avenue.  Sturgeon Bay would then open the section of North Duluth to Bullhead Point.  Sturgeon Bay City Council member Gary Nault says that would give ATV users easier access to fishing areas and the Potowatomi State Park area.

The request to the Town of Nasewaupee will be taken up when Sturgeon Bay's Parking and Traffic Committee meets January 25th at 4:30 PM at city hall.

 

Picture Courtesy of the City of Sturgeon Bay

Area legislators hope to push across lost bills

Rep. Joel Kitchens and State Senator Andre Jacque each have a number of bills they would like to see addressed when the Wisconsin Legislature returns to work later this month. Both legislators reintroduced a number of bills that were in line to move forward before the pandemic canceled the rest of their floor period. Kitchens would like to see his bill making it easier to get birth control to help reduce unplanned pregnancies get passed.  He said earlier this month his challenge is to get some of the same legislators back on board.

One of the bills Jacque will be pushing for would guarantee insurance coverage for pre-existing conditions. He said earlier this month it has strong bipartisan support, especially as the pandemic continues.

Both the Assembly and the Senate left Madison earlier this month without coming to an agreement on a COVID-19 relief package. The Senate passed their own version of the Assembly bill and drew praise from Governor Tony Evers. That is expected to be one of the topics discussed when the Assembly returns to the floor on Tuesday.

Digital age brings wrinkles to child porn investigations

Investigators have been kept busy over the last year at the Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department, but the uptick in Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) is concerning to Sheriff Matt Joski. The Wisconsin State Journal reported in November that the state’s Department of Justice’s ICAC Task Force has seen a 13 percent increase in the number of tips they have received through its Cyber TipLine in 2020. Joski says an alarming trend they have seen is children “sexting” each other. Both kids may not see it as a crime, but in essence, they are creating and distributing child pornography. It is something Joski says could stick with them for the rest of their life because of the digital age we live in.

Joski says it is just one example of the complex nature some investigators have to consider when taking on a case. You can read more about the department’s investigators below.

 

FROM SHERIFF JOSKI

While some of the duties here at the Sheriff’s Department are in the public’s view and receive a great deal of attention, there is a division of the Sheriff’s Department that works tirelessly each and every day behind the scenes. As I reported in an earlier article regarding the response of our patrol Deputies to calls of a criminal nature; many of these calls are dealt with by those Patrol Deputies when the evidence for an arrest is clearly present. Not all crimes that are committed provide clear evidence of responsibility or even a clear picture of what actually occurred.

          

When a given call presents the need for evidence gathering, and in depth follow up, we rely on the members of the Investigation Division to apply their expertise in the pursuit of a successful outcome. This division is comprised of three Deputies, each of them skilled in various facets of investigative work. While they may receive preliminary information from the initial responding Deputy, their work requires them to look at each and every case with a fresh perspective and recreate the events of the incident through extensive interviews, forensic investigation and follow through on each and every piece of information available.

          

A great deal of resources is expended in our constant vigilance against drug activity within our community as well as assisting adjacent counties and municipalities in their efforts. We continue to see the emergence of heroin along with methamphetamines in our communities along with the alarming abuse of prescription drugs which have impacted too many families and friends. The knowledge and intelligence gathering which is done on a daily basis by our Investigators has proven successful in many convictions pertaining to all criminal activity throughout this past year.

          

Some of the common calls which we may request their assistance are burglaries, sexual assaults, and criminal damage to property. Some unique calls which this division has handled in this past year include the crime of sexting and related ICAC (Internet Crimes Against Children). As with many crimes based in technology, there may be a limited awareness on the part of those perpetrating the crime, as well as those who are potential victims of the crime. sexting is when sexually explicit photos are taken by an individual and then shared electronically. A truly alarming trend which we have been seeing is the sexting which is going on among children in our community. While the young person taking the photo may not see it as a crime, or the young person who receives or shares the photo on their electronic device may not see it as a crime, it is in fact a serious offense. The real danger is the lasting damage that such activity causes in that these photos never go away and will last for perpetuity. The plain fact is that anyone taking such photos is in essence creating child pornography, and anyone with such an image on their electronic device is in possession of child pornography. Furthermore, anyone who shares these images is actually distributing child pornography. All of this demonstrates the complexity of the work which these Investigators must do and the sensitivity and professionalism which they must exercise in the investigations of such crimes.

        

Of the many ways we use in calibrating our success, one tool is the Incident Based Reporting system to which all Law enforcement agencies submit their data. A key area we look at is our ability to solve or clear cases. Historically, the Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department has maintained clearance rates higher than that of our state average. This again is due to the diligent and hard work of our entire staff as well as the many leads we receive from our community.

        

Thank you to our Investigators for the thorough and methodical manner in which you do you jobs each and every day! 

Restaurants continue to adapt amid pandemic

Restaurants in Door and Kewaunee counties are continuing to find ways to stay open despite COVID-19 concerns and restrictions. Delivery, drive-thrus, and curbside pickup continue to be popular options for patrons looking for a meal without having to dine-in if they do not feel safe. It is backed up by a QSR Magazine report showing off-premises sales remain 15 percentage points higher at the end of 2020 than it was earlier in the year before the pandemic. Restaurants in larger, urban areas have also been able to lean on food delivery services like EatStreet and DoorDash for additional help, though neither service is available in Door or Kewaunee Counties. Culver’s in Sturgeon Bay had its dining room closed for long periods of time in 2020 and currently has no plans to reopen it in the immediate future. In the meantime, they have added a second drive-thru location and adopted the company’s “curdside pickup” feature. Owner Austin Hildebrand says it has been important to find ways to keep their customers happy and their team members employed.

Hildebrand is thankful for the drive-through options as he understands not all restaurants are lucky enough to be in that situation to serve their customers.

Crossroads gets new ventilation system

Although the Collins Learning Center located within Crossroads at Big Creek in Sturgeon Bay has been closed to the public since the beginning of the pandemic, it is getting a powerful ventilation system upgrade.  Program Director and Naturalist Coggin Herringa notes that three new industrial-strength furnaces, equipped with UV lights and filters, were installed earlier this month with a new air conditioning system planned for spring.  She says the organization followed research about virus spread and took into account a robust air exchange system that would improve indoor guests and staff safety.

 

 

The Tom and Marsha Kerley Fund of the Door County Community Foundation, the Patrick and Beatrice Haggerty Foundation, and the Raibrook Foundation provided the project's necessary funding.  Herringa says Crossroads at Big Creek will follow public health officials' recommendations in deciding when the doors to the Collins Learning Center will be open for lectures and gatherings.

 

 

This weekend at Crossroads at Big Creek:

 

Saturday, January 23

10:00-12:00 noon  and 2:00-4:00

Wildflower Seed Give-Away

The Door County Seed Library in partnership with Wild Ones of the Door Peninsula and Crossroads at Big Creek will be giving away free wildflowers seeds, plus informational materials and seed catalogs.  Free and open to the public.  Masks required.  Tables will be set up on the porch of the Collins Learning Center at Crossroads at Big Creek  2041 Michigan St. Sturgeon Bay.

Recoveries outpace new COVD-19 cases Friday

Door County saw recoveries outnumber positive cases of COVID-19 on Friday.  Door County Public Health reported just six new coronavirus cases with 12 recoveries and active cases decreasing by six to 280.   No deaths or hospitalizations were reported in Door County on Friday.
 
Kewaunee County Public Health reported its 2,400th positive test for COVID-19 as 14 more positive tests were confirmed.   The number of active cases in Kewaunee County went up three to 90 with 11 new recoveries noted.   The hospitalizations in Kewaunee County remained at four, and no additional deaths were reported.

On the day that Wisconsin surpassed 500,000 COVID-19 recoveries, the Department of Health Services announced 2,177 more positive test results with 91 additional hospitalizations and 36 new coronavirus deaths. 

 

 

 

Short-term rental ordinance moves forward in Sevastopol

An ordinance on short-term rentals in Sevastopol took another step forward Thursday evening.  The Town of Sevastopol Plan Commission approved a draft of the Short-Term Rental of Residential Dwelling Ordinance at its meeting on Thursday evening.  The draft will now go before the Town Board of Supervisors on February 15 for review.  Plan Commission Chair Linda Wait explains the purpose behind the proposed ordinance.

 

 

The regulation would require rental owners to obtain a short-term rental license through the State of Wisconsin and the Door County Tourism Zone Commission.  According to Wait, the initial short-term rental application fee would be $500 to pay for administrative and monitoring costs.  A “short-term rental” is classified as any stay of 30 days or less, and the drafted ordinance would require a minimum of a six-nights.  Wait adds that a public hearing would be scheduled sometime in spring to give residents a chance to voice their opinion.  You can read the proposed draft of the ordinance here.

 

 

 

(submitted photo)

Casco to host first threshery

The Town of Casco will be the site of another opportunity for Door and Kewaunee counties to see how agriculture used to be done in the area.  Located between County C and County E on Crevice Road, the first annual Casco Threshery will focus on Massey Ferguson and Massy Harris tractors. The event will also have a tractor pull, threshing and sawmill demonstrations, and a car show. Organizer Luke Michalski says he has always been interested in preserving the area’s local farming culture. He hopes people come to learn and have a little fun.

Michalski says he has received a lot of early support for the 1st annual Casco Threshery is scheduled to take place August 27th-29th. Pending pandemic precautions, antique agriculture enthusiasts will also be able to look forward to Agricultural Heritage Days in Luxemburg on September 25th and 26th and the Valmy Thresheree during the third full weekend of August.

 

Picture courtesy of Luke Michalski

Washington Island School ready to get back

Monday will mark the first day of in-person learning for Washington Island School in over a month. The school has been in remote learning since the beginning of 2021 because of a rise in COVID-19 cases on the island during that time period. It came at a time of excitement inside the building as its academic decathlon team had success and it captured honorable mention status in this year’s Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Contest. Principal Michelle Kanipes says all-school virtual learning was not what anyone wanted, but she commended students and staff for making the necessary adjustments to make it work until they could come back to school.

The Washington Island School Board will meet on Monday to discuss a number of items, including the possible approval of a resolution authorizing the school district budget to exceed the revenue limit. The virtual meeting begins at 6 p.m.

 

Picture from Washington Island School District

Over 3,500 residents on DCMC vaccine waiting list

You were not alone in Door County if you tried to get your spot in line for a COVID-19 vaccine this week. Door County Medical Center Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jim Heise said during its regular joint Facebook Live session with Door County Public Health on Thursday that over 3,500 people signed up to get their first doses of the vaccine since they opened up registration earlier this week. It is expected to take a while to work through the list. Door County Medical Center can handle approximately 500 vaccinations per week while Door County Public Health Department can do around 700. Those numbers could grow to as much as 1,000 once they start administering second doses. People wishing to get vaccinated will be contacted directly once their application is received and it is time for them to get the shot. Heise reminded viewers that this is one of the first times in the country’s history that there has been such a vaccination effort.

Even more people could be eligible next week when the Department of Health Services is expected to decide if the current phase should be expanded. In addition to those over the age of 65, teachers, daycare workers, public transit workers, food chain employees, utility workers, mink farmers, and select people could also get vaccinated if a proposal made by the State Disaster Medical Advisory Committee is approved. The Wisconsin State Journal says that would make nearly half of the adult population of Wisconsin eligible for the vaccine, even though there is not currently enough on hand to vaccinate everyone.

 

 

Friends of the Forestville Dam sues Door County

An opposition group against the drawdown of the Forestville Dam filed suit against Door County this week.  According to a statement released by the Friends of the Forestville Dam, the lawsuit is related to the temporary drawdown that began in November of 2019.  Members of the Friends of the Forestville Dam were opposed to the drawdown, when the Door County Board approved of the measure, citing concerns that the procedure would not be effective.  The lawsuit seeks an injunctive relief requiring Door County to cease the drawdown and maintain the water levels traditionally enjoyed and relied upon.  The Door County Board approved the drawdown two years ago as a way to improve the overall health and water quality within the Millpond.  The temporary lowering of the pond levels, by opening the gate at the Forestville dam on the Ahnapee River, is scheduled to be completed by September 1.

Two more COVID-19 deaths

Door County reported two more COVID-19 deaths bringing the total to 18 since the beginning of the pandemic. Nineteen new recoveries were noted, with five more positive tests confirmed. The number of active cases decreased by nine to 286. No recent hospitalizations were reported in Door County.
 
 Kewaunee County Public Health disclosed 14 more COVID-19 cases on Thursday, with ten new recoveries. The number of active cases in Kewaunee County went up four to 87. The hospitalizations in Kewaunee County increased by one and now are at four.
 
 Wisconsin Department of Health Services announced 2,177 more positive test results on Thursday with 82 additional hospitalizations and 45 coronavirus deaths.

 

 

 

Classes canceled, law enforcement looking for school threat leads

UPDATE 8:30 P.M. Kewaunee School District cancels classes for Friday. The letter that was sent to parents and posted online is below.

 

The Kewaunee School District facilities remain locked down after a threat was made Thursday morning. Kewaunee School District Superintendent Karen Treml said the high school office received the threatening phone call before 9:30 a.m. The phone call did not name a specific school in the threat, but the unidentified caller did mention the possible use of a weapon. The district immediately called local law enforcement and the district’s facilities went into lockdown at 10:30 a.m. Students stayed primarily in their classrooms until they were released between 12:45 p.m. and 1:15 p.m. Once the building is completely vacated, Kewaunee Police Chief James Kleiman said the department will do a complete search of the facilities to determine if there are any other details that can be used for their investigation. Treml said they are working with local law enforcement to discuss a plan moving forward, including if classes will be held on Friday.

Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski said he is proud of how the Kewaunee Police Department and the Kewaunee School District responded to the incident.

All area schools in Kewaunee County were notified of the incident, causing Algoma and Luxemburg-Casco School Districts to go into a soft-lockdown as well. Kleiman said more information will be released as soon as it is available.

 

 

Door/Kewaunee Legislative Days in holding pattern

Progress in the fight against COVID-19 will ultimately decide what Door/Kewaunee Legislative Days could look like this year. The biennial event has brought over 100 residents of Door and Kewaunee counties together for two days of meetings with members of the Wisconsin Legislature and state agency leaders in Madison to discuss issues of importance to the area. In 2019, the delegation’s agenda included increased support for rural broadband expansion and the creative economy, maintaining a Labor Day school start date, and requiring rental agencies like Airbnb to send their collected room tax dollars directly to the municipality where the property sits. UW Extension Area 12 Program Director Judy Knudsen says they are taking a wait and see approach.

While a date and format have not been confirmed yet, Knudsen says residents from both counties can submit ideas of specific issues delegates can discuss with legislators. The issues should have local implications and exceed the area’s capacity to deal with it. You can submit your ideas by clicking this link.

 

Picture courtesy of Door/Kewaunee Legislative Days website from 2017

Kewaunee School District dismisses early due to threat

Students at Kewaunee School District are being sent home early after an outside threat sent the buildings into a lockdown for well over an hour Thursday morning.

 

Bus riders got to leave first beginning at 12:45 p.m. on their normal routes. That is when high school students that drive to school were also released, although they were not allowed to drive home siblings that are not in high school. Beginning at 1:15 p.m., students not riding the bus will only be released to family members or emergency contacts showing the appropriate identification. Using Center Street as a security checkpoint, officers will remain in the area as they surround the campus and buildings.

 

Kewaunee School District officials posted just after 11:15 a.m. on Thursday that it would be locking down its building after an outside threat mentioned a gun.  Students and staff remained inside the building during the lockdown as no one was allowed to enter or leave. We will have more details on this incident as soon as they are available.

 

Luxemburg-Casco and Algoma School Districts also entered a soft lockdown after being notified by the Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department. It allowed their schools to still operate while also limiting access to the buildings.

 

There will be a press conference at 2 p.m. at the Bank of Luxemburg building in Kewaunee.

Open enrollment to start under unique conditions

When the open enrollment window begins in just under two weeks in Door and Kewaunee counties, it will do so under conditions not conceived of a year ago. Districts across the state must discuss their open enrollment availability ahead of the February 1st start to the application period. For some districts, it could be considered a referendum on how they’ve handled COVID-19 procedures. Sturgeon Bay School District Superintendent Dan Tjernagel does not see that happening much in Door County. He does think school districts near large urban areas like Green Bay, Madison, and Milwaukee, where in-person learning has not taken place since March, could see an influx of applications.

Tjernagel says Sturgeon Bay School District plans on approaching open-enrollment like they have in years past knowing some families could move into the area over the summer or are opting to keep their children home a little longer.

The open-enrollment application period runs from February 1st to April 30th.

 

Picture courtesy of Sturgeon Bay School District

Algoma Library improves access in reopening

Algoma public library is ready to connect with its patrons as they reopen its doors. With a grant from Algoma utilities, the library was able to purchase a few hotspots for their patrons who might not be able to access the internet from where they are. Library director Cathy Kolbeck also describes a new online catalog that they have introduced.

 

 

Access to Hoopla can be found through a tab on the Algoma Public Library website. Along with this new catalog, you can also find information about upcoming events on their website. Although the building is open, the library is still offering curbside Monday through Friday from 10AM to 4PM. 

Threat locks down Kewaunee School District buildings -- UPDATED

An outside threat mentioning a firearm near the Kewaunee School District campus has put those buildings under lockdown. The district notified parents and residents just after 11:15 a.m. Thursday morning.  During the lockdown, no one is allowed to enter or leave the building and district officials are asking community members to stay away from the area until the campus is secured. According to the district, all students and staff are safe within the facility.

 

As a precaution, Luxemburg-Casco School District has entered a soft lock-down. According to Superintendent Glenn Schlender, no one can leave or enter their buildings without permission while the schools can operate as usual internally. Algoma Superintendent Nick Cochart told DoorCountyDailyNews.com that their district is also under a non-emergency lockdown.

 

UPDATE

 

Kewaunee Police news release

 

 

 

Refining process of Algoma Public Safety buildings

Replacements for the City of Algoma's police and fire stations will move forward by undergoing a design and financial refining process.  The city's Finance and Personnel Committee discussed the next steps for facility needs on Tuesday.  Replacing the existing police and fire buildings is estimated to cost between $7.5-million and $8.5-million.  Algoma City Administrator Jared Heyn says the committee recommended the city refine the design and cost estimates.

Heyn says the current police and fire stations have estimated useful lives of, at most, ten more years.

Screenshot from Algoma Community Access Television

Demand for vaccine grows as active cases rise

Local officials are stressing patience when it comes to scheduling their COVID-19 vaccinations as active cases in Door and Kewaunee counties slowly went up again Wednesday.

 

Kewaunee County had 14 positive test results on Wednesday and noted seven recoveries. With no new deaths or hospitalizations, the number of active cases in Kewaunee County stands at 83, an increase of seven from the day before.

 

Door County had 17 new positive tests along with 14 recoveries. The number of active cases grew by four to 295 with one new person being hospitalized. A day after the state Department of Health Services announced residents 65 years of age and older could be vaccinated for the coronavirus,

 

Door County Medical Center announced it was experiencing website and phone issues due to high demand. Door County Public Health will start accepting appointments on Thursday both online and over the phone. The Kewaunee Public Health Department posted online that it could take up to 10 days to get a response for vaccination requests.

 

 

 

 

Ice anglers reeling in colder temperatures

Ice fishing guides like Sturgeon Bay’s JJ Malvitz are embracing the colder temperatures expected to hit the area this week. In his 11 years of guiding ice fishing trips, he says he has never seen ice form so slowly before at this time of the year. That is forcing ice fishing guides like Malvitz to push trips back later into January and into February in the name of safety. While the milder than usual temperatures are not helping, Malvitz says the high winds are also causing the ice to form more slowly.

Ice fishing guides will have Mother Nature on their side later this week when temperatures are not expected to be above freezing for the next 12 days. Malvitz says the lack of snow will also help ice to form quicker. Snow acts as an insulator for the ice, causing it to form more slowly. Snowfall in the area is off nearly 12 inches off the average for this time of year and two feet off of last winter’s pace.

 

Picture courtesy of JJ's Guide Service

Walking can improve your mental health

One activity that nearly everyone can do to reduce the stressors of the pandemic and keep their New Year’s resolutions is walking, says Sturgeon Bay Psychologist Dr. Dennis White.  He recommends finding a partner to walk with you and commit to doing it every day during the year.  Even if you feel sluggish or out of shape, a walk can be the cure for a better mental health outlook.

 

 

Dr. White says unless you are physically unable to walk, there is no excuse not to commit to taking a stroll every day.   He says walking can help you feel better, lose weight, and help to fight off cravings of smoking or eating too much.  Walking can even reinforce any new behavior that you are working on.

 

Mental Health Minute audio below:

 

Winter fleet at Bay Ship nearly all in

The last of the “winter fleet” docking at Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay is happening this week.  Vice President Todd Thayse says the typical number of Great Lakes freighters and tugs will be in port for work this winter, usually numbering 12 to 15 vessels each year.  Most of the work done is of the maintenance variety, including steelwork, the painting of hulls, and piping repairs.  Thayse shares one of the more interesting works being done on the self-loading bulk freighter John G. Munson.

 

 

Thayse notes that the maritime and transportation industry was impacted significantly early on during the pandemic last year but appears to be rebounding. The vast majority of the “winter fleet” is expected to leave Bay Ship around March 25 when the Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie opens for the 2021 Great Lakes shipping season.  A couple of the projects, including the Munson, will linger until mid-April, according to Thayse. 

 

On Tuesday, the Sturgeon Bay Common Council unanimously approved Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding's request to endorse a Marine Highway Project Designation.

The M-90 Transbay Freight Service Project would open up opportunities to secure federal funding and acts as a private-public partnership in the shipping industry. The transportation program provides a coordinated and capable alternate to landside transportation and decrease wear and tear on roads while reducing the risks of large truck incidents on roadways.       

Sturgeon Bay addressing lawyer services

The Sturgeon Bay Common Council will soon be updating legal services that the city occasionally utilizes soon.  At the Tuesday evening meeting, the city council passed a recommendation from the Finance/ Purchasing and Building Committee for the staff to prepare new Request For Proposal (RFP) and interview questions for City Attorney. Currently, attorney James Kalny from Green Bay is contracted by the city. Chair Helen Bacon says the goal is to get an early start on the process and mainstream the RFP questions going forward to have them completed by March.

 

 

The common council has the interest to issue an RFP for City Attorney services, noting higher legal costs related to the recent west waterfront litigation. Alderperson Gary Nault believes finding an attorney near Sturgeon Bay is important since the city is currently paying $280 per hour for legal representation, including travel time. Mayor Ward did note that travel costs the past year have been significantly reduced using Zoom meetings.

 

 

The past RFP that was used for interviewing attorneys was 26 questions. Bacon added that the goal would be to scale it to about ten questions. The recommendation was passed unanimously by the Sturgeon Bay Common Council. 

Three new COVID-19 hospitalizations in area

Door County Public Health reported two additional hospitalizations for COVID-19 on Tuesday as only eight new positive test results were confirmed.  The number of active cases remained at 291 since there were 11 new recoveries and three probable cases noted.

  

Hospitalizations in Kewaunee County stand at three currently as one new person was hospitalized on Tuesday, according to Kewaunee County Public Health.  There were eight newly confirmed coronavirus cases and four recoveries with active cases increasing by four to 76.

 

Wisconsin Department of Health Services disclosed that there were 1,525 positive tests for the coronavirus on Tuesday.  The number of people hospitalized in the state for COVID-19 increased by 114 with 42 more deaths reported.

 

 

 

Gov. Evers issues new mask mandate

The statewide mask mandate has been extended to March 20.  On the day that Wisconsin administered nearly a quarter of a million COVID-19 vaccines across the state, Governor Tony Evers signed an executive order and an emergency order establishing a new statewide public health emergency and face coverings requirement.  In a news release Tuesday, Gov. Evers stated, “We’re working every day to get vaccines distributed and get shots in arms to get our state back to some sort of normal.  At the end of the day, vaccine supplies are limited, so while we continue to ask the federal government for more vaccines and faster, we have to keep working together to stop the spread today by continuing wear our masks, staying home whenever we can, avoiding gatherings, and doubling down on our efforts to keep our friends, neighbors, and families safe.”  You can find Executive Order #104 and Order #1 below. 

 

Executive Order #104

 

Emergency Order #1

Senior Citizens eligible for COVID-19 vaccine next Monday

Wisconsin Department of Health Services announced on Tuesday that adults 65 years and older will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine beginning January 25. According to a Door County Medical Center press release, DCMC is prepared to begin vaccinating individuals 65 years and older starting next Monday. An online form will be available on the hospital’s website starting at 3 pm Wednesday for those who meet the current phase 1B criteria. After the form is submitted, a DCMC representative will contact you regarding the scheduling of your vaccination.

 

Door County Public Health also released information on Tuesday stating that vaccinations will be provided to this group next week.  Working in coordination with Door County Emergency Services, three drive-thru clinics per week are being planned.  Public Health believes at this point that over 700 vaccines per week can be administered through the drive-thru model.  Door County Public Health will be utilizing an online scheduling system to coordinate their efforts after working out some software issues.  More information will be released when it is set up.

 

There are about 700,000 people who are 65 or older in the state. Wisconsin has received around 70,000 first-dose vaccines every week from the federal government since the rollout began.  Dr. Heise from DCMC noted last week in a Facebook Live COVID update that there are almost 8,000 people in Door County that classify for the phase 1B group.   

 

The rollout of phase 1A currently includes the vaccination of frontline health care workers, residents in long term care facilities, and police and fire personnel.

 

 

Vaccines expected to weather COVID variant

The Kewaunee County Public Health Department does not expect a new COVID-19 variant to affect its vaccination efforts. The department began vaccinating residents in Phase 1A last week and expects to begin doing the same for those in Phase 1B on Tuesday. A much more transmissible variant of COVID-19 was found in Eau Claire County last week. Although more contagious, the variant poses no greater risk to carriers and the COVID-19 vaccine is still effective. Kewaunee County Public Health Director Cindy Kinnard says she would not be surprised if the variant makes it here, but they are prepared.

Kinnard says you can still add yourself to its waiting list, but warns you will be on it for a while as they follow state guidelines and meet the area’s demand for the vaccine. The state Department of Health Services announced on Tuesday people ages 65 and over can begin getting their vaccinations for COVID-19 as soon as January 25th if they are available.

Southern Door's Vickman to retire

After 45 years in education including the last nine as the Southern Door School District Superintendent, Patti Vickman is retiring. The Southern Door Board of Education accepted her retirement during Monday’s meeting. Vickman will end where it all began after graduating from Southern Door in 1972. During the last nine years, she has guided the district through several referendums and building improvement projects. The district has also introduced a number of different programs to help students become ready for the real world after graduation. Ending her tenure during a pandemic is bittersweet for Vickman, but she is happy with everything she has been able to help accomplish during her time as superintendent.

Vickman’s retirement is effective June 30th, 2021. Vickman’s road through education took her to three different states and several districts and private schools.

 

Picture provided by Southern Door School District

Moment's glance ends in Brussels crash

A motorist was uninjured after accidentally driving off of Highway 57 in Brussels Monday afternoon. The Door County Sheriff’s Department and Brussels-Union-Gardner Fire Department responded to the accident just after 4 p.m. near County Highway H and State Highway 57. The driver admitted to authorities he had taken his eyes off the road and overcorrected his vehicle when he hit the rumble strips. The motorist ended up driving through a fence and down a hill. Door County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Pat McCarty says this is a good example of how driver error caused a preventable accident.

Cars that drive off the road and into ditches near state highways are required to call a licensed tow truck operator to pull them out.

Little Lake Restoration Project is "on hold" for Rotary Club

The restoration project for Little Lake in Sturgeon Bay is on a holding pattern as high-water issues are being resolved around the Sunset Park area.  Greg Meissner, the co-chair of the Environmental Protection Committee of the Rotary Club of Sturgeon Bay, believes that the shoreline damage caused by high Lake Michigan water levels will require Sunset Park's development to be revisited.  Phase I of the project finished four years ago and included completing the artificial wetlands, with the Rotary Club providing plant material and labor.  Meissner says much of that area is underwater.

 

 

Meissner says some of the smaller trees and shrubs that were planted around the ponds may not survive even after the water recedes.  He added that the wetlands receive drainage off streets in the area routing into the ponds instead of into the lake directly.  Sturgeon Bay Municipal Services Director Mike Barker told DoorCountyDailyNews.com last week that the Sunset Park area would be re-evaluated in the spring when the water levels hopefully go down.  Phase II of the project would require grants or donations to pay for dredging Little Lake.

Computer chip shortage slowing new car inventory

Automobile manufacturers warn local dealerships that a computer chip shortage is causing a lack of new vehicle production.  Missy Allen, general manager at Jim Olson Motors in Sturgeon Bay says it is understandable why there is a massive demand for computer chips since more people are working from home and more students are learning remotely.  Getting new car inventory levels back up to a respectable level may take some time.

 

 

Allen notes that the shortage of computer chips is a global issue affecting Ford plants, Volkswagen, Fiat, Chrysler, and Toyota.  Used car inventories are in better shape, especially since Jim Olson Motors implemented an active “We Buy Cars” campaign” for people looking to downsize the number of vehicles in their households.  COVID-19 has also impacted the parts department,  where Allen says delays in shipments for auto parts can range from days to weeks. 

 

(photo courtesy of Jim Olson Motors)

Active cases go down in Door County, up in Kewaunee

Door County saw recoveries outnumber positive cases of COVID-19 since last Friday. On Monday, Door County Public Health reported 19 new coronavirus cases with 37 recoveries and active cases decreasing by 16 to 291.  Two of the 60 tests performed came back “probable”. No recent deaths or hospitalizations were reported in Door County. 

 
Kewaunee County Public Health disclosed 16 more COVID-19 cases on Monday with ten new recoveries.  The number of active cases in Kewaunee County went up six to 82.   The hospitalizations in Kewaunee County remained at two, and no additional deaths were reported.

Wisconsin Department of Health Services announced 1,083 more positive test results on Monday with 54 additional hospitalizations and 19 new coronavirus deaths.

 

 

 

 

Gibraltar begins town administrator search

June 1st is when the Town of Gibraltar would like to see a new administrator in place. The board elected to hire a new town administrator at its special meeting last week following a thorough review by The Harding Group based in Baileys Harbor.  According to the board packet, the group also suggested the board reorganize some of its committees, develop an ordinance defining the full responsibility and authority of a town administrator, and define the role of the town chairperson. Nothing that came out of the report surprised Town Board Chairperson Steve Sohns. He says the town has grown to a point where its business is too much for a chairperson and a town clerk to handle.

The Town of Gibraltar budgeted approximately $71,000 to hire a new administrator. Sohns says the majority of the town’s residents support the hiring of an administrator, which will take place over the next several months.

Rusnak appointed to County Board

Morgan Rusnak could be the newest member of the Door County Board after her appointment by chairperson Dave Lienau was released on Monday.

 

A Marquette University graduate, Rusnak moved to Sturgeon Bay in 2013 where she has worked extensively with the county’s tourism, hospitality, and non-profit sectors. In Monday’s release, Rusnak expressed her excitement to serve out the rest of Erin Tauscher’s term representing District 7. She said it is an honor to be a voice for her neighbors and to represent the community. Lienau added that he and vice-chairperson Sue Kohout were impressed with Rusnak’s understanding of representing not just District 7, but the entire county.

 

If approved by the full Door County Board on January 26th, Rusnak will serve in the role until the end of the term, which April 2022.

 

A previous version of this story accidentally omitted that Rusnak's appointment will need to be confirmed by the Door County Board before she is sworn in. DoorCountyDailyNews.com regrets this error.

 

Picture provided by Door County. From Destination Door County website where Rusnak serves as a Membership Manager.

Washington Island slowly opening itself up

Services on Washington Island are starting to come back to normal this week after the town suffered a spike in COVID-19 cases late last month. The town office opened up last Wednesday to appointments only and will continue to operate that way this week. Despite the Washington Island School District deciding on Friday to stay in virtual learning another week, the Mosling Recreation Center reopened on Monday by appointment for members only. The Washington Island Community Van and the landfill continues to operate with COVID-19 protocols in place. Town supervisor Hans Lux said last week how happy they are that the numbers are starting to trend in the opposite direction.

Door County Public Health Manager Sue Power said during a recent Facebook Live session with Door County Medical Center that she hopes they will be able to conduct a larger COVID-19 vaccine clinic in the future. The hospital has been able to vaccinate some Island residents that have fallen into the Phase 1A group. Powers added that the group could include Washington Island Ferry employees since they provide emergency support in some cases.

 

WASHINGTON ISLAND SERVICES UPDATE WEEK OF JANUARY 18TH – JANUARY 22nd FROM TOWN SUPERVISOR HANS LUX

 

We hope this will be our last posted update. With your help, the Island has seen a decrease of people who were feeling ill requesting to be tested for COVID-19 and a noticeable decrease in positive results. We thank all of you for your patience, understanding, and cooperation as our island went through this COVID-19 spike. Your efforts have paid off, and we now are in a stage where we still need to take precautions to keep our community well as we get through this pandemic. All our employees have returned to service, but we still need to keep them safe along with the entire community. Vaccines are still months away for most of us, so again we ask you to continue with the COVID-19 protection protocols. Some services are returning while others are maintaining their safe

COVID protocols.

 

FROM OUR MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS

As a reminder, if you have a PENDING test result or a known POSITIVE test result, please STAY HOME. You are advised not to go to the grocery store or travel in any public transit. Even a negative test does not mean you do not have it, so if you are not feeling well even with a negative or no test you still need to STAY HOME. Yes, you can go for a drive to see the scenery by yourself. Yes, you can walk out in your yard and get some fresh air. You should NOT be going around other folks who are not in your immediate household. Remember how your exposure can spread to your Island friends and family.

 

FOR YOUR HEALTH AND SAFETY – HELP FROM WICHP

If you are not feeling well or have COVID-19 symptoms, please do not expose your community family. If you have the virus or are in quarantine and need assistance with errands, WICHP has offered assistance. Please call #920-847-2108 to utilize these services and remain in quarantine to reduce the spread to the rest of your island family.

 

Services Updates for the week of January 18th – January 22nd

 

ISLAND EXCHANGE/LANDFILL

The Island Exchange is open 8 am to 12 noon Monday and Wednesday, and 8 am to 3 pm Saturday. Please continue the rules of being patient, masking, and waiting at the stop sign until an opening develops at one of the two stations (paper/cardboard & garbage). Please keep person to person contact to a minimum and always maintain a minimum six-foot distance on-premise. Garbage bags are available for sale at the landfill.

 

TOWN OFFICES

The Town Offices will continue operations as appointments only. Please call #847-2522 to schedule. All transactions will take place at the side window and masking will be required. Any messages left will be answered by staff.

 

POLICE DEPARTMENT

Officers will continue to be on duty. Incidents will be handled whenever possible by phone if the officer’s presence is not required on scene. If you have an emergency, call 911. To leave a message for an officer to return, call #847-2355. If you wish to reach the on-duty officer, contact Door County Dispatch at #920-746-2400, Option #0

 

REC CENTER

The Mosling Rec Center plans to open on Monday, January 18th. Members must have an appointment. Please call #847-2226 to reserve your time. Members must wear a mask and must use sanitizer when entering the building. If you are not feeling well, have been in contact with a person who has COVID-19, or are waiting on a COVID-19 test please stay home. We would like to keep the doors open safely. Thank you for understanding.

 

WASHINGTON ISLAND SCHOOL

Washington Island School continues another week of virtual learning. Please follow any updates on the school website at www.island.k12.wi.us

 

WASHINGTON ISLAND COMMUNITY VAN

The Washington Island Community Van is operational scheduling rides again, provided COVID-19 protocols are followed. This includes the passenger and driver will always be masked, restrictions apply as to where trips can be taken to, and cleaning of the van prior to and after transport. For more information, contact Ti Heal at #847-2014.

 

THIS IS A STRONG COMMUNITY

 

We, as an Island community, have just gone through an exceedingly difficult time for us all. It has taken patience, understanding, and sacrifice to get to where we are today. As I have stated earlier, we grieve for those whose lives have been taken from us and for all who have suffered from this pandemic. Let us continue to be strong as a community and long for the time when we can all celebrate together as the family we are. It may take a bit longer, but just imagine what that will be like again. Thank you to all of you.

 

Hans W. Lux, Jr.

Hans Lux, Supervisor

Town of Washington

Adopt -A-Soldier program continues mission

Despite the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Adopt-A-Soldier Door County was still able to deliver 85 boxes of care packages to local soldiers deployed overseas. Nancy Hutchinson, the founder of Adopt-A-Soldier, says the organization typically sends out over 1,000 packages a year. She shares how the program designed for soldiers adjusted and donated back into the community locally.

 

 

Hutchinson notes that the Adopt-A-Soldier program is planning to take the collection of items during the first quarter of 2021, with about 85 to 90 Easter care packages being sent to troops stateside and abroad. Other shipments would go out for Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. The packing operation moved last year to Door Bible Baptist Church in Brussels, and Hutchinson adds that hopes are to have more volunteers helping with the program in the future when the COVID-19 health crisis is more under control. 

Changes proposed for counties joint drug task force

The Door County Board of Supervisors Finance Committee will consider the planned dissolution of the Door County Kewaunee County Joint Drug Task Force.   That proposal is on the agenda of the committee's Monday afternoon agenda.  The proposal calls for each county to operate its own drug enforcement operation.  When the joint task force was formed nearly two decades ago, combined operations were a condition for federal grants.    Sturgeon Bay Police Chief Clint Henry says splitting the task force into separate entities doesn't mean any scaled back efforts to fight illegal narcotics trafficking.

 



Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski also says the end of the partnership with Door County won't mean an end to cooperation with other law enforcement agencies.

 




The meeting of the Door County Board of Supervisors Finance Committee is scheduled for 2:00 PM Monday will be held remotely.  Any interested in attending can log on to   


https://doorcounty.webex.com/mw3300/mywebex/default.do?nomenu=true&siteurl=doorcounty&service=6&rnd=0.11138517569188666&main_url=https%3A%2F%2Fdoorcounty.webex.com%2Fec3300%2Feventcenter%2Fevent%2FeventAction.do%3FtheAction%3Ddetail%26%26%26EMK%3D4832534b00000004cd28f1a7c10c949b74067af722746a8c3e0f52e096edf93e79f2c5e60233508e%26siteurl%3Ddoorcounty%26confViewID%3D181898680646778248%26encryptTicket%3DSDJTSwAAAATz5AwQypnK6euHwv06BErFpQ0pFA2eVLreCeve3nl3HQ2%26

Tai Chi balance program coming to YMCA

A 12-week specialty class designed to help individuals avoid serious injuries caused by falling due to loss of balance will be available at the Door County YMCA soon.  Megan Schneider, member services director at the Northern Door YMCA, shares the benefits of the Moving for Better Balance class based on Tai Chi's principles.

 

 

The Door County YMCA's Fish Creek location will start the course at the end of January, while the Program Center in Sturgeon Bay will begin in March.  You can find more information on Moving for Better Balance below.

 

 

(PHOTO courtesy of Door County YMCA)

Gibraltar-Ephraim Swamp preservation expands

The preservation of some wetlands that impact wildlife, water, and fish quality in and around Door County continues to grow.  The Gibraltar-Ephraim Swamp State Natural Area will grow by 75 acres with the addition of two forested areas near Ephraim's Eagle Harbor.  The now 383-acre preserve protect coastal wetlands vital to flood control.  It's bound on the north, south, and east sides by the Niagara Escarpment. Tom Clay, Executive Director of the Door County Land Trust, says in addition to flood control and wildlife protection, the swamp is an economic asset for the area.
 




Among the endangered species that benefit from the Gibraltar-Ephraim Swamp Natural area is the Hines emerald dragonfly.

 

 

 

Christmas tree disposal deadline looms

The residents of Sturgeon Bay still have a week left to get rid of their Christmas trees with the help of the city.  Mike Barker, Municipal Services Director, says all trees must be placed at the intersecting streets closest to their homes to be picked up.  He asks residents to remove everything from the tree before placing it on the corner of the street for pickup.

 

 

The last day of Christmas tree pickup in Sturgeon Bay is Friday, January 22.  Barker notes that the trees are piled up at the compost site until spring when a large grinder comes in and grinds up the trees.  The wood chips then can be used by residents for mulch in flower beds or gardens. 

Possible Internet solution coming to Door County

Those struggling with little to no Internet coverage in Door County may soon have their prayers answered thanks to Elon Musk. Parts of Door County are already part of a beta testing launch of the satellite Internet service called Starlink. Developed by Musk’s SpaceX, Starlink uses thousands of satellites in low orbit around the planet to provide a high-speed Internet connection for users through their own units. The need for fast and reliable Internet in Door County has become a hotter topic since the pandemic started as adults were forced to work from home and students needed to learn through remote instruction.  Quantum PC owner Nathan Drager says some homeowners in the areas of West Jacksonport and Clark’s Lake have already seen great results from their beta testing. He believes it could be a game-changer, especially for areas with poor Internet coverage.

Right now the beta is only available to those living in the northern part of the United States and southern Canada. If there are no hiccups, Drager believes Starlink could have an even wider release later this spring.

Library hopes for large turnout for Big Read

The 2021 NEA Big Read in Door County has the makings for one of its busiest and biggest yet. Readers in Door County have been able to get their hands on this year’s selection, Station 11, since late November via library distribution sites and mobile apps. Station 11 is a dystopian tale of relationships and how culture is reshaping itself and defining a new normal. Beginning on January 28th, participants can watch a performance by the Griffon String Quartet, participate in a book discussion, and hear from the book’s author Emily St. John Mandel. All the events associated with this year’s Big Read will take place virtually. Morgan Mann from the Door County Library hopes that allows more people to participate during the course of the two-week celebration.

The library received a grant from several different organizations and charitable trusts to host the NEA Big Read, which runs until February 15th. You can learn more about the book Station 11 and see the schedule of events for the NEA Big Read by clicking this link.

 

 

Author Emily St. John Mandel, photo credit: Sarah Shatz

Fair boards preparing for 2021 events

Officials for the Kewaunee County Fair and Door County Fair are moving forward with their events in 2021 after canceling them in 2020 due to COVID-19 concerns. Fifty-three county fairs were canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic and nine others were not open to the public. Kewaunee County Fair Secretary Isabella Haen says she has been in contact with officials from the 13 fairs that were able to hold events in 2020. They have said their efforts went above and beyond were actually needed and have extra supplies as a result. Haen says the fact that smaller local shows like the Kewaunee County Futurity were able to be held gives her confidence they can develop a plan that could work.

The Door County Fair is also planning for an in-person event to celebrate their 150th anniversary, but have contingency plans and safety protocols developed just in case. Haen says the Kewaunee County Fair will announce their entertainment in the coming weeks while the Door County Fair will have already booked a number of acts including the BoDeans.

 

The Kewaunee County Fair is scheduled for July 8th-11th while the Door County Fair is set to take place July 28th-August 1st.

Evers broadband plan a good fit locally

The Door County Administrator believes the county will greatly benefit from Governor Tony Evers' proposal to fund broadband expansion. 

 

Evers' 2021-2023 budget plan includes $200-million to bring broadband internet to under-served communities.  That proposal was outlined in the governor's State of the State address on Tuesday.  Administrator Ken Pabich says he agrees with Evers' assessment that reliable internet service is now a necessity. It's also a challenge for Door County.


Pabich is hopeful the state will see the benefits of additional funding for broadband expansion.

Heise proud of what he's leaving behind

It is more than the physical structures and improvements that make outgoing Egg Harbor Village Administrator Ryan Heise proud of his time in Door County. His time in Egg Harbor is coming to a close after five years as its administrator before he takes on a similar role in Saugatuck, Michigan. The expansion of the beach, the establishment of a public art initiative, and the construction of the Kress Pavilion were among the major projects he helped oversee during his tenure. Speaking to DoorCountyDailyNews.com shortly after the Saugatuck announcement, Heise said an overlooked aspect of the Kress Pavillion project he looks fondly on was the transparent process the village held as the plans took shape.

Heise believes that kind of transparency will bode well for the village as it prepares for upcoming road projects involving Church Street this fall and the Highway 42 project in 2023. He wishes he had more time to address the village’s attainable housing needs and to see what happens to the Alpine Resort.  The Village of Egg Harbor held a special Board of Trustees meeting on Friday to discuss recruiting Heise’s replacement.

State Biotech Center highlights science summit

Youth in Brown, Door, and Kewaunee counties will get a chance to explore science for the comfort of their own home next month with a little help from the area’s 4-H organizations. The UW Extension Offices in Brown, Door, and Kewaunee counties are teaming up with the University of Wisconsin-Madison Biotechnology Center to host the Northeast Wisconsin 4-H Science Summit on consecutive Saturdays in February. Participants in grades 5-8 will receive a kit to work on the science experiments at home while interacting with other youth and members of the UW Extension and UW Biotechnology Center teams.  Kewaunee County 4-H Educator Jill Jorgensen says this is another great opportunity for youth to learn in a virtual setting.

The weekly Zoom calls take place from 9-11 a.m. Saturday mornings on February 6th, 13th, and 20th and you do not need to be a 4-H member to participate. You can find more details on the Northeast Wisconsin 4-H Science Summit below.

 

 

Fire engulfs Sturgeon Bay garage

A garage in rural Sturgeon Bay is a complete loss after a fire occurred there late Friday night.

 

Crews were dispatched to the home on Sand Lane at approximately 10:15 p.m. to the report of visible smoke and flames from the garage. Upon arrival, the Sturgeon Bay Fire Department called for two water tenders from Southern Door Fire Department to fight the blaze. A short time later, the garage became fully engulfed before the roof eventually collapsed. The departments used approximately 62,000 gallons of water to put out the fire and cool down nearby structures. No injuries were reported and the fire remains under investigation as the cause of the blaze is yet to be determined.

 

The Sturgeon Bay Fire Department, Southern Door Fire Department, Door County EMS, and the Door County Sheriff’s Department were able to clear the scene just after 4 a.m. Saturday morning.

Stone Harbor readies playoff and Super Bowl game plans

Lambeau Field is allowing 6,000 fans for the Divisional playoff game between the Packers and the Rams.  Stone Harbor resort, however, will continue limiting the number of Packer fans at its Saturday playoff party to 100.  That's among the COVID-19 precautions that Stone Harbor put in place at the beginning of the regular season.  The resort also installed more TV's to allow for social distancing without missing any of the action.  General Manager Nancy Bertz says other options will be in place to accommodate playoff fever in a safer and fun manner.
 



Stone Harbor is already planning the annual Super Bowl party.  Bertz says this year's event will host more football fans, again with safety in mind.
 


Bertz says tickets are already going fast for the Super Bowl party and expects a sellout Saturday night with a Packers win.

 

(photo courtesy of Stone Harbor Resort) 

COVID-19 positive tests down

Door County Public Health disclosed 16 more positive tests of the coronavirus on Friday with one probable case.  Thirteen new recoveries were noted as active cases increased four to 307.  No new hospitalizations or COVID-19 fatalities were reported.

Kewaunee County added 13 more COVID-19 cases, with active cases going up three as ten new recoveries noted.  There were no additional hospitalizations or deaths.
 

Wisconsin Department of Health Services identified 2,269 new COVID-19 cases in the state on Friday. The positivity rate was about 28 percent of the over 8,000 test results.  The DHS also reported that over 213,000 doses of vaccines had been administered in the last month.  

 

 

 

Math Meet held differently, Sturgeon Bay takes honors

The first Packerland Conference Math Meet of the year had similar results but was held a little differently.  In past years the teams travel between each school district, but now the weekly competitions are held at each respective school.  Sturgeon Bay Math teacher and Coach Cliff Wind says the camaraderie and instant feedback from the students are missed.   Sturgeon Bay captured the first meet on Monday with 286 points, with Oconto finishing second with 215.  Sturgeon Bay’s success can be attributed to the educators, and the way classes are scheduled, according to Wind, having won conference championships for nearly twenty years in a row.

 

 

Sturgeon Bay students claim the top spot in three of the four classes and the junior varsity competition.  You can see the complete results of the first Packerland Conference Math Meet below.

 

 

 

Seniors Name   

1              Abram Abeyta   STURGEON BAY 37 points

2              Henkel, Lexie     GIBRALTAR         33

3              Hitzeman, Jack  GIBRALTAR         32

4              Schmidt, Breanne            ALGOMA             32

5              Lee, Hannah       ALGOMA             30

                                               

Juniors                                 

1              Stephens, Maggie            STURGEON BAY 37

2              Konop, Andrew STURGEON BAY 35

3              Ash, Makayla     STURGEON BAY 34

4              McKeefry Phillip               OCONTO              32

5              Holmgren Grace               OCONTO              31

                                               

Sophomores                                     

1              Pudlo, Russell    STURGEON BAY 37

2              Serafico, Scarlet STURGEON BAY 35

3              Walker, Espen   STURGEON BAY 32

4              Nell, Luke            NEW      30

5              Bartels, Owen   KEWAUNEE        29

                                               

Freshman                                           

1              Zittlow, James   SOUTHERN DOOR            34

2              Linnan, Ezra        SEVASTOPOL     29

3              Tomberlin, Jade STURGEON BAY 22

4              Stephens, Ben   STURGEON BAY 20

5              McCormack, Helen          GIBRALTAR         16

                                               

                                               

Varsity Teams                                   

1              STURGEON BAY                286

2              OCONTO                             215

3              KEWAUNEE                        211

4              SOUTHERN DOOR             200

5              NEW                                      199

6              ALGOMA                             183

7              SEVASTOPOL                      153

8              GIBRALTAR                         140

                                               

JV Teams (7 total teams)                                           

1              STURGEON BAY #2           269

2              KEWAUNEE        #2           114

3              OCONTO              #2           65

4              SOUTHERN DOOR #2           41

 

 

 

Door County preparing for next phase of vaccination distribution

The state of Wisconsin could start COVID-19 vaccinations for Phase 1B-eligible people in the coming days. The decision would follow other states that have already moved on to other groups of people after first vaccinating health care workers and assisted living residents. Indiana started vaccinating those 80 years of age and over last Friday. Illinois and Michigan announced it would move to its Phase 1B plan in the coming days, which includes those 65 and over and select frontline workers. A move to Phase 1B for Wisconsin could mean approximately 8,000 people in Door County would become eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.  During a Facebook Live session with Door County Medical Center and Door County Public Health Department, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jim Heise reiterated why the vaccines are rolling out in the way that they are currently.

The administrations of President Donald Trump and President-Elect Joe Biden have called on states to act quicker to open the COVID-19 vaccinations up to those 65 years of age or older or have underlying health conditions.

 

 

Court decision impacts Kewaunee County case

A Wisconsin Supreme Court decision made earlier this month could have an impact on a nearly decade-old case involving a Kewaunee County farm. The state’s highest court granted the legislature the ability to intervene in a pair of cases involving the Department of Natural Resources and Clean Wisconsin. One of those cases dates back to 2012 when Kinnard Farms sought to increase its herd to 6,000 cows.  According to Wisconsin Ag Connection, Administrative Law Judge Jeffrey Boldt ruled back in 2014 that the expansion could take place, but only if monitoring wells were installed. Brad Schimel, who was the Attorney General in 2015, said state agencies cannot impose permit conditions that are not state law, something a Dane County judge disagreed with when he made his ruling to allow the DNR to reinstate the regulations. Nancy Utesch from Kewaunee CARES has been one of the most active voices against groundwater contamination in the area and does not believe the legislature should step in.

Utesch believes the time has come to act, not to keep volleying it between courtrooms and state agencies.

She suggests the re-establishment of the state intervenor’s office, which was created by Republican Governor Warren Knowles back in the 1960s as a watchdog office to protect the public interest in water regulatory issues. The office was disbanded in 1995.

Boys and Girls Club, Sevastopol team up on learning center

Sevastopol School District students will have somewhere to go on days they are not required to attend in-person classes.

 

The district and the New Boys and Girls Club of Door County announced this week it was setting up a Learning Support Center just north of their building at the Institute Saloon. The center will provide a place for students to complete schoolwork and participate in other activities. Boys and Girls Club of Door County Executive Director John McMahon said in a press release that the center will provide over 100 students and parents additional resources to support academic success in the community. Sevastopol Director of Pupil Services Melissa Marggraf expressed her appreciation for the partnership, saying the district remains dedicated to finding alternative paths to support students and their families. The Learning Support Center is open to 24 students a day to allow proper social distancing. You can find more information about the Learning Support Center and how you can register by clicking this link.

 

Picture from the Door County YMCA, which developed a similar program for Gibraltar students last fall.

Area sees another COVID-19 death

Kewaunee County recorded its 34th COVID-19 death on Thursday, however, recoveries outpaced new cases. Since their last update on Tuesday, Kewaunee Count Public Health noted 22 new positive tests with 40 recoveries, bringing active cases down 19 to 63. There were no current hospitalizations, and that number remains at two.

    

Door County saw positive cases outnumber recoveries of COVID-19 for the second day in a row. On Thursday, Door County Public Health reported 30 new coronavirus cases with 18 recoveries noted. Active cases increased by 12 and now stands at 303. No deaths and one additional hospitalization were reported in Door County. 

 

Wisconsin Department of Health Services disclosed 2,712 additional COVID-19 cases on Thursday, with 99 more hospitalizations and 42 more deaths.

Door County COVID-19 vaccine update

The first round or Phase 1A of vaccines for Door County provided about 1,450 doses.  According to a press release by the Door County Public Health Department on Thursday, most healthcare personnel and long term care residents have received the first round of a COVID-19 vaccine.  Public Health worked with Door County Medical Center and local pharmacies to initiate the initial vaccination process.  The release notes “how we receive the vaccines and who is eligible for these in each phase of our role out is determined by the State Department of Health Services.”  


So far, Door County has received both Pfizer and Moderna brands and cannot control the quantity or times the vaccines are received.  


The state is approximately halfway through getting all 1A-eligible people immunized.  
You can read the entire press release here.

Monitoring key to online safety

The recent federal indictment of a Sturgeon Bay man for child pornography production has local law enforcement stressing the importance of safeguarding your child from potential predators online.  Door County Sheriff Deputy Pat McCarty says the most important tip he can give parents is to monitor their child’s activity on social media and electronic devices.  He notes that many times parents may not even know who their child is interacting with online.

 

 

McCarty notes that predators often look for opportunities to groom children for illicit purposes.

 

 

McCarty says that law enforcement sees younger and younger children being approached online by people with nefarious intentions.  Parents should put restrictions and controls on their child’s mobile devices, as well as monitoring and putting oversight in play.  McCarty suggests sitting down with your son or daughter and having a conversation if you notice a change in your child’s behavior or activity.

Local disruption not expected ahead of inauguration

While the Wisconsin National Guard heads to Washington D.C. and the Wisconsin State Capital gets boarded up, law enforcement officials expect things to be calm locally. Governor Tony Evers announced Wednesday the deployment of 500 Wisconsin National Guard members to Washington D.C. to support security ahead of the Presidential inauguration on January 20th. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has warned state governments of possible armed protests in all 50 states at their capital buildings in the aftermath of last week’s unrest at the United States Capitol. Sturgeon Bay Police Captain Dan Brinkman is not concerned about similar events happening here because of the trust he has in the community.

Brinkman says there has been no fall out from last week’s events that led to five people dying and dozens of others being arrested.

 

Picture courtesy of the Sturgeon Bay Police Department

Relief bill put on hold

It will likely be two weeks before a COVID-19 relief bill gets passed by the Wisconsin Legislature after the Assembly and the Senate left for their home districts on Wednesday. The state Senate passed an amended version of Assembly Bill 1 on Tuesday and earned the endorsement of Governor Tony Evers. The new version took out provisions that would ban mandatory vaccinations, restrictions on local public health officers, and actions that would have moved the needle on in-person school and worship. First District Rep. Joel Kitchens acknowledges that members of the Senate did introduce some of the omitted elements as separate bills, but he believes they should be negotiated as part of a bigger package.

Kitchens hopes the talks between Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, new Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMehieu, and Governor Evers continue during the break so they can vote on a relief package when they return.

Kewaunee County administers first COVID-19 vaccines

Two-hundred doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are expected to be given in Kewaunee County in the coming days.

 

The Kewaunee County Public Health Department received the Pfizer-produced vaccines earlier this week and began administering them on Tuesday. Right now the only people eligible to get the vaccine are those considered to be in Phase 1A, which includes emergency personnel, community-based residential facilities, funeral homes, eye clinics, and dental offices.

 

In a statement released on Thursday, Kewaunee County Public Health Director Cindy Kinnard stressed patience for those waiting to get the vaccine. They are not sure how many additional doses they will receive and when they will get them.

 

You can contact the Kewaunee County Public Health Department to be placed on a waiting list for the COVID-19 vaccine for when you are eligible to receive it.

New Democratic Party Chair reacts to Gov. Evers speech

Tuesday was a significant day for Kris Sadur of Brussels In more ways than one.  Not only did she conduct her first meeting as the new chair of the Democratic Party of Door County but she celebrated it by watching Governor Tony Evers’ State of the State Address.  Sadur is excited about her new position and appreciated Gov. Evers encouraging words spoken.

 

 

Sadur noted Gov. Evers calling for an overhaul of the state’s unemployment system and a transparent process for drawing the state’s political maps as important issues.   Another call to action was for a bipartisan effort to expand broadband access in the state, which Sadur says is critical, especially in parts of Door County.   Sadur moved to Door County two years ago from the Chicago area, but has been coming to the area for the last 25 years.   

Door County adds one more COVID death

Another Door County resident has passed away from COVID-19 complications according to the most recent report from the public health department.

 

That increases the total of COVID-19 related deaths to 16 in Door County on a day that saw 26 new positive tests and 19 recoveries.  Over 40 percent of the tests performed came back positive.

 

Kewaunee County will not be reporting new COVID-19 numbers until Thursday.

 

Statewide there were 2,134 new positive tests and 38 COVID-19 related deaths.

 

Door County 

The Public Health Guidelines we know to be effective in reducing the spread of COVID-19 remain unchanged. We are urging the community to remain diligent in following these guidelines to reduce further spread of COVID-19 in our community.

Tests Performed: 15,055 (+58)
Positive: 2,213 (+26)

Probable: 179 (+7)
Negative: 12,663 (+25)

Recovered: 2,085 (+19)
Active: 291 (+13)
Deaths: 16 (+1)
Total Ever Hospitalized: 75 (+2)
Understanding the Reported Data

 

Wisconsin

Tests Performed: 2,928,143 (+7,427)
Positive: 513,270 (+2,134)
Negative: 2,414,873 (+5,293)
Deaths: 5,248 (+38)

Total Ever Hospitalized: 22,705 (+122)
Wisconsin Summary Data

Trump impeached for a second time

Wisconsin’s congressional members voted along party lines as President Donald Trump was impeached for a second time Wednesday.

 

Rep. Mike Gallagher, who represents Door and Kewaunee counties as part of the Eighth District, voted against impeachment, joining the state’s four other Republican members. He also voted against a separate measure requesting Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the powers of the 25th Amendment which also could have been used to remove the President. In a statement released late Wednesday afternoon, Rep. Gallagher says the impeachment will not cause President Trump’s tenure to end quicker or help to restore constitutional order.  He called on all members of Congress to work together to earn back the American people’s trust.

 

The stage now moves to the Senate where Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin told MSNBC’s Katy Tur Tuesday they should remove President Trump as quickly as possible. Senator Ron Johnson tweeted on Tuesday that anyone wishing to exercise their First Amendment rights to do so peacefully. He added if protests turn violent that offenders should be arrested and prosecuted. Fox News reported on Wednesday that Senator Mitch McConnell has indicated a Senate trial would not occur until January 20th.

 

STATEMENT FROM REP. MIKE GALLAGHER, PUBLISHED ORIGINALLY IN THE WISCONSIN STATE JOURNAL

 

"I strongly opposed the un-Constitutional and dangerous effort to overturn the election on January 6th, but I think impeachment accomplishes nothing.

 

"First, let’s be candid. President Trump bears responsibility for the tragic events of January 6th, 2021. He lied to his supporters, insisted that his “sacred landslide” election was stolen, and suggested that Vice President Pence should or even could reverse the outcome. He then dithered for hours as the Vice President, the Congress, and its employees were in mortal danger, castigating Pence as a coward. Many of my colleagues carry a heavy share of blame as well, jumping into the fray for political advantage. And of course, those in the insurrectionist mob who chose to desecrate our seat of government, attack our police, and embarrass our country must face the full force of the law.

 

"In wake of this tragedy, failing the President’s resignation, a swift and strong censure from Congress is the most prudent path forward. Yet House Democrats refused our good faith offer of censure. Instead they have rushed to impeach the president even though any trial in the Senate would likely begin after he leaves office, and therefore it will not remove President Trump from office and is unlikely to prevent President Trump from holding office again. Many among their ranks, apparently including Speaker Pelosi, also believe Republican Members of Congress who objected to the Electoral College vote deserve to be expelled from the body.

 

"This is not wise. It will not advance the cause of justice. It will not restore our constitutional order. If anything, it will simply feed a cycle of enmity and polarization, which is already spiraling further out of control, chilling speech and silencing debate. We must break that cycle, whatever the cost to our own careers and however unsatisfying to our own sense of anger and outrage.

 

"That cycle, fed by and feeding upon mutual distrust and recrimination, did not start on January 6th. It did not begin with President Trump’s election. It is not likely to end soon. However, if we act with prudence, we can at least begin to reverse course. We can work to rebuild rather than erode trust. We can step back from the ledge. Everyone in Congress, House and Senate, Republican and Democrat, should commit to that goal.

 

"We do not know all the pertinent facts about January 6th, and we likely will not know them until well after President Trump has left office. We know that the president enflamed the crowd and encouraged them to march towards the Capitol in a show of resolve. But we also know that he did not tell them to lay violent siege to the Capitol.

 

"That semantic distinction matters. Impeachment is a political tool, but its credibility with the public hinges on charges matching the facts. The fact that the president urged a peaceful march, however irresponsible in context, will make an eleventh-hour impeachment for “Incitement to Insurrection” look partisan and pointless.

 

"A second partisan impeachment will create more and not less cynicism among the American people. Done hastily, it will sow confusion and distrust. Delayed until summer, it will collapse. A second failed impeachment will dramatically empower, not diminish, President Trump.

 

"This is not a time for such fruitless games. It is a time for honesty. We are here because  America’s elected leaders have been lying to the American people. President Trump’s denials about the election may have been the most conspicuous of these lies, but he is not alone. Leaders of both sides have spent the last four years cashing in on temporary outrage.

 

"The proverbial chickens have come home to roost. The American people do not trust us.

 

"We need to earn back their trust. The American people demand accountability. They especially cry out for justice for Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who was beaten to death by members of the insurrectionist crowd.

 

"To give them justice, let us start by telling the truth. Why was security at the Capitol so light? Why did it take so long to call out the National Guard? What happened to the Chain of Command? Did anyone in the White House speak to participants in the riot? If so, who and when and to what ends? What did the president say and do during the multi-hour gap between his speech and his tweets telling the rioters to go home? The American people want to know the real answers to these questions. They deserve to know.

 

"Congress should empanel a special investigatory committee, with subpoena power, to establish and then publish the facts surrounding January 6th. The committee should have an equal number of Republicans and Democrats. Its meetings should be closed to the public and its members and staffers should commit to a gag order. Service on this committee must not be an opportunity for grandstanding.

 

"If the special committee uncovers criminal wrongdoing, even if it involves President Trump, that information should be transmitted to the executive branch for appropriate prosecutions.

 

"Doubtless, a thorough account of the events of January 6th will also reveal acts of great bravery. We have already seen video of police officers putting themselves in great danger to protect us. We owe them all a debt of gratitude. The American people deserve to know those facts too. 

 

"This will not be possible on the path of impeachment. The House has passed articles, but the Senate will likely acquit. Along the way we will get more grandstanding but little truth.

 

"Even if the Senate were prepared to convict President Trump, disqualifying him from running for president a third time expresses a fundamental lack of faith in the American people. President Trump has lost my support—permanently. Yet this decision, ultimately, is up to the American public. Previous disqualifications prevented local corruption from infecting federal officeholding. That is a good and responsible use of the disqualification power. Yet if we, as a Congress, put special fetters on who can run for president, then we may as well just admit that we do not trust the American people to make a wise choice.

 

"Perhaps that is what some of my colleagues believe. I do not. The American people want a Congress that works for them, not for retweets. They want legislators, not pundits. And they want to be told the truth. We all had a hand in creating the toxic environment that blew up on January 6th. We are going to have to work together to fix it."

 

Get Healthy Bingo Challenge  

A new health and wellness challenge is playing on a popular game to get people more physically active and fit while having some fun during the winter months.  Realizing that the pandemic has put many restrictions in place, members of the Get Healthy Kewaunee County workgroup are initiating a Bingo Challenge.   WIC Director and Dietitian Rachel Bauer explains how the Get Healthy Kewaunee County Bingo Challenge works.

 

 

Examples of tasks that need to be completed include visiting Winter Park for snow tubing or skiing, eating five servings of fruits and vegetables, and donating a healthy item to a local food pantry.  Bingo cards will be made available online this Friday and must be turned in by March 1.  Prizes include a free monthly fitness membership, $50 gas cards, and gift cards from local businesses. 

 

To see Bingo Card click here

The Sturgeon Bay Police receives certification

The Wisconsin Law Enforcement Accreditation Group has recognized the Sturgeon Bay Police Department with certification for their "use of force" policy.  According to the letter sent to Police Chief Clint Henry by the group, Sturgeon Bay Police qualified to receive federal grants for reaching eligibility requirements set down by the U. S. Department of Justice for the next three years.  Glendale Police Chief Mark Ferguson, the Wisconsin Enforcement Accreditation Group president, shares the two criteria that must be met for certification.

 

 

The Wisconsin Law Enforcement Accreditation Group scrutinizes and reviews local police departments' policies of "use of force".  Ferguson says 180 agencies in the state have applied and received the certification, with the deadline being January 31.

State senate passes COVID-19 relief bill

The Wisconsin State Senate has now put it on the Assembly to approve their COVID-19 relief bill after passing an amended version Tuesday afternoon. The bill includes legal protections for businesses, extending the hours of the state unemployment office, and requiring state health plans to cover COVID-19 vaccinations for lower-income individuals. First District State Senator Andre Jacque says while it does not cover everything they would have liked, it advances the legislation.

 

 

Some Assembly Republicans have already voiced their displeasure with the pared-down version of their bill. Rep John Macco of Green Bay post on Facebook he would not support a bill "that doesn't protect churches, our right to worship or protect against mandatory vaccines." Jacque understands his frustrations and hopes to work with Macco and other members of the Assembly and Senate to address those concerns.

 

 

Even though it was not the compromise he had hoped for, Governor Tony Evers signaled his support for the Senate bill and urged the Assembly to do the same.

Area adds 33 new COVID-19 cases

For the second-day in-a-row, Door County saw recoveries outnumber positive cases of COVID-19. On Tuesday, Door County Public Health reported 17 new coronavirus cases with 24 recoveries noted.  Active cases decreased by six to 278, which is the lowest in several weeks.
One additional hospitalization was reported in Door County.
 
Kewaunee County Public Health disclosed 16 more COVID-19 cases on Tuesday with ten new recoveries.  The active cases in Kewaunee County went up six to 82.   The Hospitalizations in Kewaunee County remained at two.

Wisconsin Department of Health Services confirmed 2,790 more coronavirus cases on Tuesday, along with 149 more hospitalizations and 49 deaths. 

 

 

 

Sturgeon Bay man faces indictment for Child Porn production

A federal grand jury has returned a two-count indictment against a 36-year old Sturgeon Bay man for engaging in child pornography production.  According to a U.S. Department of Justice news release Tuesday, Christopher J. Kone could face up to a mandatory 15 years in prison and up to 30 years imprisonment on each count if convicted.  Matthew D. Krueger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, made the announcement.   Door County Sheriff's Office also investigated the case with the assistance of the Door County District Attorney's Office. 

 

The case will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Daniel R. Humble.

 

 

Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine arrives in Door County

Door County Public Health will roll out the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for up to 250 unaffiliated healthcare workers this week.   Door County Medical Center had provided the Moderna vaccine to consenting frontline staff in the past two weeks.   Health Director Susan Powers says the hospital is collaborating with Public Health to now vaccinate dentists, chiropractors, eye doctors, private nurses,  EMTs, and other 1A designated workers by invitation only.  The first shipment of weekly doses of the Pfizer vaccine will be given in the next few days as another order will come next week.

 

 

Powers says Door County Medical Center does have some vaccines leftover and that Public Health could send any 1A population to get vaccinated if they should run out of the 250 doses received.  She says the State of Wisconsin has not opened the vaccine to the 1B population, which is not clearly defined by the state at this point.  Once Wisconsin has determined who is eligible under the 1B classification, Door County Health Department will then wait for the green light to vaccinate.  

Southern Door High School building bridges for returning students

As families become more comfortable sending their kids back to school, Southern Door High School is helping make sure they make a smooth transition.  The Bridges Program launched last week to give students who have been learning 100 percent remotely since the beginning of the school year to engage with their teachers and be on campus for a limited amount each week. Students would go to the school’s FAB Lab three days a week for two hours a day. They would have access to a teacher separate from the rest of the student population to answer questions and monitor progress. Southern Door High School Principal Steve Bousley hopes the program is successful in re-engaging students with in-person learning.

 

 

Bousley says the program was developed in response to parents asking for additional learning opportunities for students in remote learning and for help addressing their child’s social and emotional needs. Interested families can contact the school district to be a part of the program.

 

This story previously said Southern Door School District. The program is for high school students only. DoorCountyDailyNews.com regrets this error.

Healing services to continue in priest's memory

A Catholic priest and frequent visitor to the National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in Champion will be honored with the Eucharistic healing prayer service he helped begin. Father Ubald Rugirangoga died last week in Salt Lake City from COVID-19 complications. A survivor of the Rwandan genocide, Father Ubald made several visits to the Champion Shrine in recent years, most recently in October. Communications Director Corrie Campbell says Father Ubald had a very strong Marian devotion and believed heavily in the healing power of the religious site.

Campbell believes Father Ubald had a strong connection not just to the Champion Shrine, but also to Door and Kewaunee counties.

The Eucharistic healing prayer services led by Father Ubald drew more than 25,000 people to the Champion Shrine over the last five years. In addition to continuing to hold Eucharistic healing prayer services on the last Saturday of every month in his honor, the National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help is planning to release details on a special Mass for the Repose for Father Ubald in the near future.

 

Screenshot from 10/8/2020 Eucharistic healing prayer service

Call for Presidential removal falls on party lines

The opinion of removing President Donald Trump from office falls largely along party lines in Wisconsin.

 

In a statement the day after the unrest that occurred in and around the U.S. Capitol last Wednesday, Democratic U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin called on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove President Trump. The statement also called on Congress to address possible impeachable offenses if the 25th Amendment is not used. 

 

Republican Rep. Mike Gallagher is taking the opposite approach, instead joining a group of seven House members in requesting President-elect Joe Biden to ask Speaker Nancy Pelosi to discontinue her efforts to impeach President Trump a second time. In the letter, the members of Congress called the impeachment proceedings shortly before inauguration day “as unnecessary as it is inflammatory” and suggest it would “undermine [his] priority of unifying Americans.” 

 

As of Tuesday morning, Republican U.S. Senator Ron Johnson had not released a statement on the possible impeachment hearings, but joined Rep. Gallagher and Senator Baldwin in denouncing the violence that ensued at the Capitol last week.

 

House Democrats introduced the articles of impeachment on Monday.

 

 

LINK TO LETTER SIGNED BY REP. GALLAGHER 

 

Peninsula Transportation Coalition gets boost

A recent grant will help the Peninsula Transportation Coalition further study options for a bus system that would work simultaneously with others currently supplying rides.  Coalition member Louise Howson says the $2,500 grant from the Door County Community Foundation is the latest step in its mission to meet service goals for residents and visitors and offer employment opportunities.  She says the next step is to connect routes between and within Door County communities, much like what was done in Sister Bay.

 

 

Howson says plans are for the shuttle to run this summer.   The endgame is to have a transportation system that runs throughout the Peninsula in the smoothest and most efficient manner.  The new system would work hand-in-hand with Door Tran and the County’s Door2Door Rides and ADRC services.     

 

(photo courtesy of pixabay) 

Recoveries up as Kewaunee County adds one COVID-19 death

Kewaunee County reported their 33rd coronavirus death on Monday, and the area saw more recoveries than new cases of COVID-19 since Friday.  Kewaunee County had 27 recent recoveries compared to 26 more positive tests confirmed.  The active cases decreased by two and are now at 76.  Two people
remain hospitalized from Kewaunee County with COVID-19.    

Door County has also added 26 coronavirus cases since Friday.   Recoveries went up 56 to lower the active cases to 284.  There were no reported deaths in
Door County and hospitalizations remained the same.  

Wisconsin Department of Health Services confirmed 1,456 more positive tests of COVID-19 on Monday with 56 more hospitalizations and five deaths. The DHS also announced that starting January 18, Police and Fire personnel will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. 

 

 

 

 

 

Fans inside Lambeau Field decided Tuesday

Local Packer season ticket holders who opted in back last summer will find out Tuesday if they can purchase tickets for this Saturday afternoon’s NFL Divisional Playoff game.   Bob Spude of Sturgeon Bay was one of about only 20 percent of season ticket holders to opt-in and received an email informing him about how the presale online will be handled on Tuesday.  Limited to only 6,000 fans inside Lambeau Field, Spude is still excited for the opportunity to possibly watch the Packers in-person. 

 


 Spude is planning on getting four of the six allowable tickets in the socially-distanced pods throughout Lambeau Field.  The mobile tickets are non-transferable and range from $127 to $177 apiece plus fees.  The presale for tickets begins at 10 am Tuesday through Ticketmaster.  The kickoff is set for 3:35 pm Saturday between the Green Bay Packers and the Los Angeles Rams.   

Washington Island turning COVID corner

Services on Washington Island continue to be altered due to a surge of cases, but Town Supervisor Hans Lux believes things are improving. As of last week, there were over 50 positive cases on the island since the pandemic began, with many of those coming since Christmas when two residents passed away from COVID-19 complications. Several of the positive cases involved town employees according to Lux, which cause offices in the town to close. The town hall is expected to reopen on Wednesday by appointment only and the community van will go back into operation with the proper COVID-19 protocols in place. The police department and the recreation center remain closed for at least one more week and Washington Island School is in virtual learning until January 18th. Despite the inconveniences caused by the surge, Lux is happy the residents of the island took the precautions seriously.

Lux adds that the town should know if things can return closer to normal on Friday. That is also when the Washington Island School Board will reconvene to discuss if they will continue in virtual learning or welcome students back to the building on that following Monday.

 

AFFECTED SERVICES FOR THIS WEEK (JANUARY 11TH-JANUARY 15TH)

 

ISLAND EXCHANGE/LANDFILL

The Island Exchange has resumed normal winter operating hours. It is open 8 am to 12 noon Monday and Wednesday, and 8 am to 3 pm Saturday. Please continue the rules of being patient, masking, and waiting at the stop sign until an opening develops at one of the two stations (paper/cardboard & garbage). Please keep person to person contact to a minimum and always maintain a minimum six-foot distance on-premise.

 

TOWN OFFICES

The Town Offices will reopen to appointments only beginning on Wednesday, January 13th. Please call #847-2522 to schedule. All transactions will take place at the side window and masking will be required. Any messages left will be answered when office staff is available to do so.

 

POLICE DEPARTMENT

Officers will continue to be on duty; however, the Police Department offices will be closed to the public during this time. Incidents will be handled whenever possible by phone if the officer’s presence is not required on the scene. If you have an emergency, call 911. To leave a message for an officer to return, call #847-2355. If you wish to reach the on-duty officer, contact Door County Dispatch at #920-746-2400, Option #0

 

REC CENTER

The Rec Center will be closed the entire week as well and is planned to reopen on Monday, January 18th. The Rec Center follows the school schedule as to access.

 

WASHINGTON ISLAND SCHOOL

Washington Island School has shifted to virtual learning only through January 18th. The school will revisit this decision on January 15th.

 

WASHINGTON ISLAND COMMUNITY VAN

The Washington Island Community Van will begin scheduling rides again, provided COVID-19 protocols are followed. This includes the passenger and driver will always be masked, restrictions apply as to where trips can be taken to, and cleaning of the van prior to and after transport. For more information, contact Ti Heal at 920-847-2014.

Town administrator peaks discussion at special meeting

The Town of Gibraltar Board will host a special meeting this Wednesday to discuss the future hire of a town administrator.

 

Bringing a town administrator into the fold has been a topic of discussion since November when it began talks to work with The Harding Group. At a board meeting held earlier this month, The Harding Group presented a project plan for a town administrator, which also included the development of the job description and an organizational ordinance draft outlining the roles of the board, chairperson, and appointed officials. According to the Town of Gibraltar budget presented in November, approximately $71,000 has been budgeted for the role.

 

The Town of Gibraltar will host the special board meeting on Wednesday beginning at 6 p.m.

Kewaunee changes high school schedule

As the pandemic has evolved, so has the schedule for Kewaunee’s high school students. Since school started back in September, the high school has gone through two stints of 100 percent virtual learning for the entire class body of at least two weeks. Students started a new model of instruction on Monday that will have all freshmen, sophomores, and juniors in the building for four days a week. Seniors will have in-person instruction three days a week but are allowed to come to school additional days if they are in danger of not getting enough credits to graduate. It is a change from a previous model where students would be in the building for a couple of weeks straight before going to remote learning for five days. Kewaunee Principal Mike Bennett says the schedule was difficult not just on staff but for parents as well. He hopes this new model will be in place for the rest of the school year if the pandemic allows it.

Bennett is thankful to the district's parents for filling multiple roles for students during this school year as they have bounced back and forth between virtual learning and in-person instruction. The high school started 2021 with one week of virtual learning as an extra precaution for students coming back from winter break.

Basketball game attendance on agenda for Gibraltar School Board 

The Gibraltar School Board will be considering an action to allow parents to attend their child's home basketball games in the future on Monday.  Right now, with COVID-19 precautions in place, no fans are allowed in the gymnasium for ballgames.  The administration will be bringing along a recommendation that will enable parents to attend the games while following safety protocols to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread among adults, employees, and the student-athletes.  The Gibraltar School District Board will also discuss resuming in-person board meetings and public access while allowing members to attend virtually if they so choose.  A primary election for the school board will be needed in February as the number of candidates is more than twice the number of seats available.  The school board meeting's virtual executive session will be at 6 pm, with the regular meeting scheduled for 7 pm. Gibraltar's Financial Planning Committee Meeting will be on Wednesday.

Witcpalek elected to Edge Farmer Cooperative

One of the top milk-based farm cooperatives in the country has elected Jamie Witcpalek of Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy to its board of directors. Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative announced last week that Witcpalek and Justin Peterson of Creamery Creek Holsteins in Bangor will join the board for three-year terms. Witcpalek has been involved with Edge for over ten years, since her father, John Pagel started the organization. Pagels Ponderosa Dairy near Kewaunee milks 575 cows per hour, producing 10 gallons of milk per day. According to the news release, Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative provides dairy farmers throughout the Midwest with a powerful voice in Congress, with customers, and within their communities. 

Crossroads mapping out hiking trails 

Although the lack of additional snow recently prevented ski trails from remaining open in some parks and other venues in the area, Crossroads at Big Creek reminds people that all their paths are available for hiking. Coggin Herringa, the naturalist at Crossroads, says health experts agree that it is better to spend some time outside of the home to keep healthy. She notes that the Big Creek Preserve has a new set of maps for hikers to navigate the trails.

 

 

Crossroads at Big Creek is currently going through a restoration program to eliminate invasive species from the three properties being managed.   The 200-acre preserve has recreational opportunities at the Ida Bay, and Cove preserves along with Big Creek.  The Collins Learning Center and restrooms are closed to the public at this time, but trails are open with social distancing practiced. 

Door County YMCA extends weekend meal program

The Door County YMCA announced this past week that it would continue its Share Our Strength Weekend Meals Program through May 30.  In partnership with the Boys and Girls Club of Door County, lunch-time meals and snacks are offered free to community members.  Door County YMCA's new Chief Executive Officer Heidi Erickson says it is one of the many programs that will be expanded this year to benefit the community.

 


The registration process has not changed. Anyone interested in receiving food from the program needs to have enrolled for the upcoming weekend before 10 am Wednesday through the Door County YMCA website or phone (920) 743-4949.  Pick up for the requested meals is between 3:00 pm and 5:00 pm on Friday afternoons.  Pick up in Sturgeon Bay will now be at the Lansing Avenue Center, while in Fish Creek, it will still be at the Northern Door Program Center. 

Options for controlling wild turkey population boom

Wild turkeys are abundant around rural and urban areas in Wisconsin. Farm fields and neighborhoods in Door and Kewaunee counties are no exception.  The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources says the birds are thriving because of wide-open grassy areas in and around farms, where livestock feed may also be nearby.  The availability of pet food outdoors, bird feeders and gardens have some flocking to neighborhoods in cities and towns.  Those conditions can cause conflicts between farmers and city residents alike when the birds feed and damage property.  DNR Wildlife Biologist Josh Martinez says there are no special hunting seasons planned to reduce the wild turkey population.  He says the best first step is to make your property less attractive to the birds.  From there, Martinez says farmers and communities can take more drastic measures.

 



Property owners in more populated areas can also remove nuisance birds by bow hunting.  Martinez says to check community ordinances first and, if necessary, with your neighbors.
 



Martinez also recommends obstructing reflective windows as much as possible.  Those can agitate tom turkeys into thinking their reflections are rival toms that are invading their territories. 

 

(Photo courtesy of Wisconsin DNR)

United Way sets record in annual campaign

The United Way of Door County has been kept busy due to COVID-19 and the community rewarded them for their efforts. Over $750,000 was donated during their annual campaign that wrapped up officially on Thursday. Its previous high watermark for donations was approximately $563,000 and the organization has only crossed the $500,000 threshold four times in its history. United Way of Door County Board President Peter Kerwin says some donors gave multiple times during the course of the year knowing how much the funding would be needed. Even with the record giving, the United Way of Door County will not be able to fund every application request 100 percent completely due to the increased need in the area. Despite that, Kerwin knew the community would come through in a big way.

Kerwin also noted over $100,000 of the total came from new donors. Some of the funds collected by the United Way of Door County will go towards child care options across the county, HELP of Door County, and the Door County Dental Clinic.

Early morning fire in Baileys Harbor

The Baileys Harbor Fire Department responded to a fire of an unoccupied vehicle that was parked in a driveway at 2534 Linda Lane shortly after 8 am Saturday.  Baileys Harbor Fire Chief Brian Zak describes the scene when they arrived at the fire.

 

 

Zak adds it is unknown what caused the engine fire.  No injuries were reported and the pickup truck is considered a complete loss.  Northern Door Mutual Aid was initially paged but was canceled since the fire was contained and did not reach the residence.   

 

(photo taken by Tad Dukehart)  

First day of school coming for Gibraltar Secondary

Staff at Gibraltar Secondary School will get to see many of their students in-person for the first time since last March this Monday and Tuesday.  Students in sixth, eighth, ninth, and twelfth grades will be in the building on Monday, and on Tuesday it will be orientation day for kids in grades seven, ten, and eleven.  After that, the two groups will alternate weeks until Gibraltar Secondary School enters phase two of its reopening plan. When they are not in the building, students will still be learning remotely five days a week. For families opting to not allow their kids back, they will learn synchronously with the students who are in the classroom. School will look different than it did pre-pandemic with students and staff members masking up among other mitigation efforts. Principal Gereon Methner says he is just happy to be able to see students get off the bus and walk through the hallways again.

Methner says it varies by grade level, but up to 75 percent of kids will be returning to the classroom. Gibraltar Elementary School will be in Phase 2 of their reopening plan, which allows more students in the building. High school-aged students participating on the school’s athletic teams have been able to come to the building for practices and games since their seasons started in late November.

Moore cabin gets restored

A unique part of Wisconsin agriculture and 4-H history received a little tender loving, care over the last several months. The cabin located on the Dana Farm property near Winter Park in Kewaunee is the childhood home of Ransom Asa Moore, who is known as the “Father of 4-H” in addition to creating the University of Wisconsin’s agronomy program and agriculture short course. After 170 years, the fireplace got cleaned up and the cabin’s restorers paid extra attention to the logs that make up the building’s walls. After its unveiling earlier this week, Kewaunee County UW-Extension Agriculture Agent Aerica Bjurstrom is happy people will be able to visit this small piece of history for years to come.

The Moore Cabin was restored as a part of a grant given by the 2017 Kewaunee County Farm Technology Days Committee. The cabin is now used for small group gatherings.

 

Village election outlook: Contested election coming to Luxemburg

Luxemburg may offer the only contested village election this spring in Door and Kewaunee counties. Village President Jack Seidl, who was selected for the role approximately seven months ago after the death of Ken Tebon, is slated to face Larry Hurley. Germaine Burkart, Brian Barbiaux, and Lori Hurley are all running for re-election to their posts on the village board but will be joined on the ballot by Ronald Tlachac and Daniel Rueckl.

 

It is all incumbents in Casco as Kelly Pinchart runs again as Village President and Troy Alsteen and Dennis Cravillion look to keep their role as trustees.

 

The Village of Sister Bay will need to fill at least one position on its board with only two trustees running for three spots. Scott Baker and Nate Bell are running to keep their seat while Rob Zoschke is running for village president.

 

Like Casco, the Village of Egg Harbor will just have its three incumbents on the ballot as John Heller looks to stay on as president while Angela Lensch and Joe Smith hope to continue their role as trustees.

 

Additional candidates could still jump into the races as registered write-in candidates. The deadline to do that is April 2nd, just a few days ahead of the spring election on April 6th.

Preparing for winter travel

Motorists in Door and Kewaunee counties should still be prepared for more treacherous roads ahead as the winter driving season heads into a second month. The area has only had a few measurable snowfalls this winter, with the most substantial amount occurring last week when the area saw three to five inches of snow come down. The season is still young and Randy Sahs from Sah’s Auto Center in Sturgeon Bay says a good set of tires could be the difference between you staying on the road or not.

Sahs also recommends your vehicle get a thorough inspection to check on its brakes, batteries, and wiper blades. Local law enforcement and emergency personnel also encourage motorists to travel slowly and give plenty of space to other vehicles on the road while traveling. As of Friday morning, The Weather Channel does not show snow in the forecast for the next 10 days.

Long term lessons from DPI COVID-19 survey

Wisconsin schools, including those in Door and Kewaunee Counties, had to make adjustments in teaching, food services, and transportation to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Local school officials hope those adjustments can help guide education operations during future crises. The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction Report on Virtual Instruction and School Operations During the Public Health Emergency 2019-2020 School Year surveyed all public school districts.  The  60-page report outlined how each district handled virtual remote learning and non-virtual instruction.  That included providing computers and WIFI hotspots to kids or printed materials for use at home. It also looked at how some districts tried their own approaches to meeting some COVID-19 related challenges.  Sturgeon Bay School Superintendent Dan Tjernagel says this was a huge learning experience for educators on teaching during a major crisis.


Many districts followed similar approaches in remote learning, teaching schedules, and reassigning school personnel to other tasks.  Sevastopol School Superintendent Kyle Luedtke says there was no one-size-fits-all for some school operations.  He believes, however, that documenting the responses will help future educators plan for future crises.

Luedtke believes school administrators will do a lot of note comparisons when they meet virtually later this month.

 

 

Townhall highlights childcare possibilities and challenges

A virtual town hall on child care by the United Way of Door County looked at a new option for families while also showing that many challenges remain.  The meeting focused on the Wisconsin Shares Child Care Subsidy program.  Cori McFarland, Deputy Director of the Door County Department of Health and Human Services, believes the shares program offers another option to local families, though many are unaware of it.
 



One obstacle to making the Wisconsin Share program work in Door County is the lack of daycare facilities.  McFarland says the county is looking at attracting non-traditional care providers.

 



More information on the Wisconsin Shares Child Care Subsidy program can be found at https://dcf.wisconsin.gov/wishares 

New COVID-19 cases outpaced by recoveries

Door County saw more recoveries on Friday than new positive cases of COVID-19. Ten new positive test results were confirmed in Door County, but health officials reported 16 recoveries.  There were no new deaths or hospitalizations recorded.

 

In Kewaunee County, 10 new positive tests were confirmed, and 20 recoveries noted, dropping the active cases by 10.  Like Door County, no recent deaths or hospitalizations were recorded.

 

Wisconsin topped the half-million mark for positive tests on Friday with 3,474 more cases.  Door County has reported 2,144 coronavirus cases, while Kewaunee County has 2156.  According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, the death toll increased by 40, and hospitalizations went up 136.

 

 

 

Hastings forever connected with Door County

The person who inspired the bright yellow daffodils that cover Door County roadways every spring has died. The former Executive Director of the Door County Chamber of Commerce Bob Hastings is being remembered for being the driving force of tourism and business in the 1990s. Hastings passed away in Florida last Sunday at the age of 72.  Director of Communications and P.R. for Destination Door County Jon Jarosh shares some of the more notable and visible promotions spearheaded by Hastings.

 

 

After Hastings left his position with the Door County Chamber of Commerce, he started up the publication Door County Magazine. According to his obituary, Hastings moved to the east coast and was the Penobscot Bay Area Chamber of Commerce's CEO.   Later he became the Executive Director of the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce in Massachusetts before retiring with his wife, Donna, to Florida in 2014. You can read Bob Hastings' complete obituary here.

 

 

Vaccine rollout smooth locally despite state's lagging

You can count Door County Medical Center Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jim Heise among those anxious for the next phase of COVID-19 vaccinations to begin. Heise says over 60 percent of the hospital’s employees have been vaccinated with the first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. He adds all of the residents at the skilled nursing center and half of their staff have also been vaccinated with the second dose coming for some as soon as January 20th. Statewide, the state has struggled to keep up with the demand for the vaccine with only approximately 110,000 receiving it since the rollout started in mid-December. Rep. Joel Kitchens sent a letter to Department of Health Services Secretary-designee Andrea Palm requesting more transparency in the roll-out process of the vaccine, which is the third slowest in the Midwest. Heise’s initial concern was when rural hospitals like Door County Medical Center would receive the COVID-19 vaccines since urban areas like Green Bay got the Pfizer-version first. He says now they are waiting to see who gets to have the vaccination next after healthcare workers and when.

Door County Medical Center has also been able to take care of some of their volunteers, dentists, optometrists, and emergency services employees while Door County Public Health waits for their shipment. Heise adds that once they get more vaccines and they shift phases, they will have plenty of people to administer it.

He says only two or three of the several hundred people they have vaccinated so far have had some kind of minor side effect. He expects the shift to phase 1B, which will include people 75 and older, teachers, first responders, and corrections workers, to start receiving vaccinations later this month.

Sevastopol takes virtual stage this weekend

The challenge of the perfect Christmas gift in turn of the century New York City seems small compared to what students at Sevastopol High School have endured bringing its play to the stage this weekend. Alexis Garret, Owen Ensign-Foulds, Sienna Cain, Lilly Turner, Brooklyn Brauner, Lucas Apsey, Finn Mathews, Brynleigh Ash, Alexa Olson, Izzy Wadkins, Bea Dramm, and Merrick Mann star in Sevastopol’s production of “The Gift of the Magi.” It tells the story of a near penniless couple trying to find the perfect Christmas for each other. Like many events over the last nine months, the students will be masked as they perform the play four times for a live streaming audience. Director Amy Ensign says diction was just as important as anything due to the masks.

Ensign adds the students have adjusted well to performing in front of a camera instead of a live audience.

The performances will take place on Friday at 7 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. and are free to watch. You can click on the links above to join the show during the given time.

Luxemburg bowling alley burglarized

The Brown County Sheriff’s Department estimates that tens of thousands of dollars of damage was caused when a Luxemburg bowling alley was burglarized earlier this week.

 

The report posted by the department and shared by Kewaunee County agencies revealed that two unknown offenders cut phone lines and broke into C Z’s Bushville Lanes during the early morning hours on Sunday. While inside, the suspects broke open an ATM and numerous gaming machines. Investigators with the Brown County Sheriff’s Department believe the pair of culprits targeted the business and were familiar with its operations.

 

The department released video footage of the incident on Thursday (shown below) and are seeking the community’s assistance to help identify the suspects.

 

Screenshot is from the video posted below. 

 

 

Zahn reflects on 30 years as County Treasurer

After three decades in office, Last Thursday was Jay Zahn’s official final day as the Door County Treasurer.  Zahn, who announced his retirement last July, was elected Door County Treasurer in 1990 and has been responsible for collecting property taxes ever since.  Carrying many pleasant memories with him for the rest of his life, Zahn shares what he will miss most about his work.

 

 

Jay’s uncle Chester Ostrand actually served as the Door County Treasurer for 18 years prior to Zahn taking office.  A Door County native, Zahn has been involved with many local organizations over the years including the Rotary Club of Sturgeon Bay, the Jaycees, the Miss Door County organization, and the Sevastopol Board of Education.     

Another COVID-19 death 

Door County reported their second coronavirus death this week on Thursday. and 15th overall.  The number of confirmed positive tests increased by 32, while health officials noted 16 more recoveries.   The active cases went up by 13 to 317, and there were no new hospitalizations. 

 
Kewaunee County saw an increase of 19 COVID-19 cases on Thursday and 13 more recoveries.  The active cases went up six to 82, with one more person hospitalized.  


Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported 3,791 new positive tests for COVID-19 with confirmed cases approaching half a million.  There were 40 more deaths and 99 additional hospitalizations in the state on Thursday.

 

 

   

 

Temporary Trail Closures at Potawatomi State Park

The beginning of logging operations has temporarily closed some trails at Potawatomi State Park.  The logging is being done mostly north and west of the campground area to clear trees impacted by emerald ash borer and beech bark disease.  Park Superintendent Erin Brown-Stender says the temporary closure is needed as a safety measure.

 

 

Stender adds that trails within the southern portion of the park will remain open.  The snowmobile trail up to and including the campground will be accessible when Door County opens that zone.  Snowmobilers will be able to enter the park and go as far as the campground.  The logging operations at Potawatomi State Park are scheduled through mid-May, but the trails could open sooner if the work is completed early.   

 

 

(Map courtesy of Potawatomi State Park)

Public safety building plans get trimmed down

Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski hopes its proposed public safety building is getting closer to having the residents weigh in on it. Planning for the new facility was placed on hold during the pandemic in order to get a firmer grasp on what the county’s financial picture would look like. As a result, some of the offices and other features were cut out of the project to the tune of $13 million in savings.  Joski says the new $20 million-plus proposal addresses the needs of here and now.

He adds during phase three of the public safety building planning process, it is the committee’s mission to refine the operational costs and the site plans so they can present the most accurate information possible. When considering a future referendum, Joski says failure is not an option.

Further discussion about the public safety building is expected to take place at the next Kewaunee County Board meeting on January 26th. Joski says the site for the facility located near the county’s administration center would give them room to add-on in the future if there was community support.

Kinnard selected as DBA president-elect

Casco farmer Lee Kinnard could be next in line to serve as the president of the Dairy Business Association Board of Directors after being selected as its president-elect on Wednesday. The owner of Kinnard Farms, he has been on the DBA Board of Directors since 2017 and served as its secretary for the last two years. He is humbled by the trust the state’s other farmers have put in him as the DBA continues to collaborate with policymakers. Kinnard is especially proud of the new partnership the organization has forged with the Nature Conservancy and Clean Wisconsin.

His farm is part of Peninsula Pride Farms and the Door-Kewaunee Demonstration Farm Network as both groups seek more sustainable farming practices. Kinnard is excited to get more involved on committees addressing sustainability and regenerative agriculture during his two-year term as president-elect. The DBA consists of 650 members and includes large and small farmers, cheesemakers, animal health companies, lenders, and insurance providers.

Door County Library offers hygge talk

The Door County Library is encouraging you to throw on a pair of slippers and find an extra cozy blanket to cover up with next week. Via Zoom and its Facebook page, the Door County Library is welcoming UW-Madison Assistant Professor Claus Andersen to talk about the concept of hygge, which is a Scandanavian term for coziness. Andersen will discuss how hygge fits in with the Scandanavian lifestyle and how Americans can learn from it. For those who need a little extra help reaching a state of hygge, Morgan Mann says the Door County Library has you covered.

The presentation, entitled Hygge, Health, and Happiness, is part of the statewide Badger Talk series from the University of Wisconsin and will take place on January 13th at 2 p.m. Similar to its activity kits for kids, you can call the library to reserve your own hygge care package to go.

 

 Picture courtesy of UW-Madison Badger Talk Series

 

 

Spring election update: Primary set for Kewaunee

At least one municipality will have a primary before the spring election on April 6th.

 

Three candidates filed papers to run for the District 2 seat in Kewaunee being vacated Jeff Dworak: Evan Gibbs, Wendy Shelton, and Jeremy Robillard. The top two vote-getters in the February 16th primary would face each other in the spring election. Kewaunee’s other seats will be decided at the spring election. District 1 alderperson Arthur Schiller will try to defend his seat from former Kewaunee mayor John Blaha and District 3 alderperson Joe Mills will run against Robin Nelson. Richard Taylor is the only candidate running to represent District 4 and 5, which is being vacated by David Kuehl. 

 

In Sturgeon Bay, incumbent alderpersons Helen Bacon, Dan Williams, Gary Nault, and Kirsten Reeths will run unopposed to keep their spots on the common council.

 

Algoma’s city council will likely feature two new members with Leah Pierquet filling Jacque’s Wiese position representing District 2 and Steve Lautenbach taking over for Mitch Groessl in District 3. John Pabich and Lee Dachelet are also running to keep their posts.

 

The Village of Sister Bay will need to fill at least one position on its board with only two trustees running for three spots. Scott Baker and Nate Bell are running to keep their seat while Rob Zoschke is running for village president.

 

Legacy born at new Dana Farm Ice Rink

Winter Park in Kewaunee will soon have a new attraction nearby thanks to three warm days in Algoma close to four years ago. The Dana Farm Ice Rink will soon open to skaters free of charge once it freezes over. In addition to the ice rink, a warming shelter with bathrooms was also built and the nearby Ransom Moore cabin was also restored. The $100,000 project was funded in part by a donation from the 2017 Kewaunee County Farm Technology Days Committee. Randy Ebert, who hosted the event at Ebert Enterprises, is proud of the legacy Farm Technology Days continues to leave for future generations.

Kewaunee County Promotions and Recreation Director Dave Myers hopes cold temperatures come soon so skaters can stop by and enjoy the new ice rink. As for Winter Park, its tubing hill is expected to open this weekend with COVID-19 safeguards in place. Myers says more snow and cold temperatures are needed for the ski hill, but is hopeful it will open by next weekend.

 

Recoveries outpace new Door County cases

Door County saw more recoveries than new positive cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday.

Thirty new positive cases were confirmed in Door County, but health officials reported 45 recoveries. There were no more deaths or new hospitalizations recorded.

 

In Kewaunee County, 20 new positive cases were confirmed and noted 15 recoveries for a net increase of five additional active cases. Like Door County, there were no new deaths or hospitalizations recorded.

 

Statewide, 3,406 new cases were reported and 60 additional died from COVID-19. That put Wisconsin above the 5,000 COVID-19 related death mark since the beginning of the pandemic.

 

Kewaunee County Food Pantry gets help from Feeding America

A nationally-based network is aiding one area food pantry to keep up with the community's additional needs.  Ken Marquardt of the Kewaunee County Food Pantry says the increased demand for provisions has been offset by Feeding America, the second-largest U.S. charity that serves over 200 food banks.  He says the pantry is in a good position starting 2021, thanks to donors' generosity and Feeding America.

 

 

The pantry is open Monday and Wednesday from 11 am until 1 pm.  Marquardt estimates that the Kewaunee County Food Pantry helped 119 new families last year and provided for 180 families during the highest demand month of November. 

Erickson excited to return to YMCA family

New Door County YMCA executive director Heidi Erickson is ready for the challenges facing the organization.  Replacing former CEO Tom Beerntsen, who is retiring, Erickson worked as the Northern Door County YMCA executive from 2016-19 before accepting a position at the East Side YMCA in Green Bay.  Erickson says returning to Door County is like coming home again.

 

 

As far as looking ahead, Erickson notes that the plan is to enhance virtual programming provided through the YMCA.

 

 

Erickson credits Beernsten for being a strong leader for the Door County YMCA and helping with the transition period before he retires.  Currently living in Suamico, Erickson plans to move back to Door County shortly.  You can listen to the conversation with Heidi Erickson on the podcast page at DoorCountyDailyNews.com.

Sturgeon Bay moves Third Avenue beautification plan forward

The City of Sturgeon Bay took care of business in quick-order with a 15-minute Common Council meeting Tuesday.  The Council unanimously approving a Memorandum of Understanding between the City and Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding for a Third Avenue beautification plan.  The recommendation came from the Finance/Purchasing & Building Committee, and chair Helen Bacon says the professional project will be paid exclusively by Bay Ship.

 

 

City Administrator Josh VanLieshout added that the Memorandum of Understanding's importance is to create a framework for the City and public to participate in the corridor plan on Third Avenue.  The beautification plan was issued by the Plan Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals as a contingency in granting height variances requested by Fincantieri last year for the expansion of the shipyard for contract work on a U.S. Navy frigate by Marinette Marine.  The upgrades would address landscaping, parking enhancements, the new building's appearance, and the following of storm-water management set down by the DNR.

Door County Civility Project's strong message for 2021

 Incorporating the principles of civility into the fabric of everyday life is the goal the Door County Civility Project wants people to follow in 2021. Steering Committee member Shirley Senarighi says the past year showed us that we could handle a whole lot more than we thought was possible.  She encourages people to approach things with the proper perspective and to be respectful of others' opinions while avoiding passing judgment.

 

 

Senarighi also notes that the additional stresses brought on by COVID-19 concerns should not be excuses for any uncivil behavior.

 

 

You can find a link to Door County Civility Project’s “Speak Your Peace” video series on showing respect, responsibility, and listening to understand below.

 

http://www.doorcountycivilityproject.org/

Public hearing set for former West Side School apartment proposal

A potential new apartment development for the old West Side School building will be the focus of a public hearing in two weeks.  The City of Sturgeon Bay Plan Commission will hold the hearing to allow public testimony regarding the proposed zoning code amendment.  Northpointe Development will then seek approval of a conditional use permit to convert the former West Side School building into multiple-family dwellings with detached garages.  Developer Andy Dumke is proposing a 15-17 unit apartment complex that would house at least half low-to-moderate-income (LMI) rentals. The public hearing by the City of Sturgeon Bay Plan Commission will be held at 6 pm in Council Chambers at City Hall on Wednesday, January 20. 

 

Notice of Public Hearing The City of Sturgeon Bay Plan Commission will hold a public hearing in the Council Chambers,...

Posted by City of Sturgeon Bay on Tuesday, January 5, 2021

 

Another area COVID-19 death

Door County suffered another COVID-19 death on Tuesday.  It was the fourteenth reported COVID-19 fatality since the pandemic began in March.  Only five new coronavirus cases were confirmed on Tuesday out of the 18 tests performed, and active cases went up four with one recovery noted.    

Kewaunee County went up another 17 cases on Tuesday, and active cases increased by 13 with just four new recoveries.  The 32nd death in Kewaunee County was reported on Monday.    
 
One person was hospitalized in Kewaunee County, while Door County did not have any new hospitalizations.

Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported 3,403 COVID-19 more cases on Tuesday with 95 more deaths.

 

 

Show stopped but charity continues

The curtains will not be raised this winter at the Agricultural Heritage Center in Kewaunee, but the group responsible for the annual Hooray for Hollywood shows is still hoping to make an impact in the community. Last year’s Hooray for Hollywood shows raised over $53,000 for approximately 30 Kewaunee County organizations. It also donated additional funds to area food pantries due to the high demand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Hooray for Hollywood decided to cancel its 2021 performances due to the pandemic, but many of the businesses that have supported past shows are still sending in checks. President Lori Kleiman says it means a lot that the community is still supporting their mission despite knowing the show will not be going on this year.

Kleiman says some of the normal beneficiaries from the shows are still making requests, albeit smaller ones due to the uncertainty of 2021. She adds other organizations can still request funding from Hooray for Hollywood while businesses and individuals can still make donations. You can find those details below. Performers in past Hooray for Hollywood are using the extra time off to prepare for a return in 2022.

Southern Door to offer AP capstone program

Southern Door High School will become one of four in northeast Wisconsin schools and one of 1,800 in the entire country to offer an AP Capstone Diploma program next fall.  The program will focus on college-level research, collaboration, and presentation skills necessary for continuing education and future careers. Students that receive a score of three or higher in the two AP courses will receive a certificate. AP Seminar will culminate with a test while AP Research ends with a year-end paper, presentation, and defense. Southern Door principal Steve Bousley calls it a tremendous opportunity for students to get a taste of college in high school.

Students can start requesting to be in the Fall 2021 course later this year. This represents one of the several AP-level courses available to Southern Door students, many of which offer the opportunity to earn college credit.

Diabetes class gives support

Those at risk of developing diabetes do not have to tackle it alone thanks to a program offered by the Door County YMCA beginning next week. The Diabetes Prevention Program is for those trying to get a firmer grasp on their overall health and wellness.  Attendees learn about nutrition and developing behavioral changes over the course of the year. The class meets once a week to start the year, before transitioning to twice a month, and then monthly sessions. Tonya Felhofer from the Door County YMCA says the class really helps with accountability for people seeking a change in their lifestyle.

The class is usually limited to 10 people and begins on January 12th. You can find more information about the Diabetes Prevention Program below.

 

 

Successful resolutions need gradual progress -- Mental Health Minute

A Sturgeon Bay psychologist says making a new behavior a new habit for your New Year's resolutions requires patience as well as a lot of willpower. Dr. Dennis White predicts you will probably fail if you want instant change.  Bad habits are developed over a long period, and setting realistic goals over time can make your new goals more achievable.

 

 

Dr. White warns that some bad habits are problematic because they represent compulsive behaviors that are part of a deeper psychological issue, like alcoholism.  Over 50 percent of Americans make resolutions every year, but only 15 percent reportedly succeed.  You can listen to the entire audio of this week's Mental Health Minute with Dr. Dennis White on the podcast page. 

Another area COVID-19 death, over 100 recoveries

Kewaunee County Public Health's COVID-19 update on Monday reported one more fatality since last Wednesday. The death is the 32nd in the county, which saw a significant increase in recoveries with 58 over the previous five days. There were 38 additional positive tests for the coronavirus compared with 330 negative test results. The active cases decreased by 21 and now are at 64.     

  

 Door County had 34 more people test positive for COVID-19 since last Thursday, with active cases going down by five to 315 and 56 recoveries noted. 

 

 There are currently no hospitalizations in Kewaunee County and no new people hospitalized in Door County.   

 

 The Department of Health Services reported a decline in COVID-19 cases Monday, with 1,407 confirmed positive tests and 51 more hospitalizations on Wednesday. The death toll in Wisconsin went up nine since Sunday. 

 

 

 

 

 

Unemployment claims backlog finally cleared

People in Door and Kewaunee counties waiting for their unemployment claims to be processed received good news over the holidays.  Last week, the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) announced that the Unemployment Insurance Division had cleared up the regular claims backlog.  Former Executive Director of the Bay Area Workforce Development Board Jim Golembeski credits the new leadership in the DWD for using creative thinking by partnering with Google and working through claims in new ways.  He says the processing of recent unemployment insurance claims is impressive.

 

 

Since the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, DWD has processed nearly 8.8 million weekly claims, which are comparable to four years' worth of claims in just nine months.   As of December 26, over 590,000 claimants in Wisconsin received over $4.68 billion in unemployment insurance benefits. 

Brussels car fire rings in New Year

A motorist was uninjured when his car caught fire along Highway 57 in the early morning hours of New Year’s Day. The Brussels-Union-Gardner Fire Department responded to the scene just before 3 a.m. to find the vehicle near County Road H on Highway 57 fully engulfed in the ditch. BUG Fire Chief Curt Vandertie says the vehicle potentially caught fire in the engine compartment in the area around the tires as the driver tried to get unstuck. Vandertie says if you go into a ditch along a state highway that you are required to call for a certified tow truck operator to get you out. He adds it is just easier and safer to let them do the heavy pulling.

 

 

Crews were able to leave the scene a few hours later after putting out the fire and letting the car cool off before the tow truck operator was able to remove it from the ditch. Vandertie reminds motorists to stay in their vehicles to wait for assistance if they do get stuck in the snow.

Washington Island extends service reductions

Many Washington Island services will be operating on a reduced level this week as the town handles a spike of COVID-19 positive cases in the town. The police station and the town offices will remain closed this week as it was last week. The Rec Center will also be closed and hopes to reopen on January 18th when Washington Island School possibly returns to in-person instruction. The Washington Island Community Van will also take the week off out of concern for the coronavirus. Town supervisor Hans Lux told DoorCountyDailyNews.com last week he hopes people take the actions seriously.

This is the second week of service reductions on the island since the positive COVID-19 test spike began in late December, during which two town residents passed away due to complications with the virus. The island’s landfill and recycling center will remain open with COVID-19 mitigation techniques encouraged.

Gallagher in favor of certifying electoral votes

Rep. Mike Gallagher joined six other Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives on Sunday calling for election reform, but not going as far as voting against certification.

Gallagher joined Kelly Armstrong (R-ND), Ken Buck (R-CO), Thomas Massie (R-KY), Tom McClintock (R-CA), Chip Roy (R-TX), and Nancy Mace (R-SC) in saying it is the states’ job and not Congress’ job to select electors. The move is counter to what members of the Senate did on Saturday when U.S. Senator Ron Johnson joined several others to announce they would object to certifying the Electoral College results when both houses of Congress meet on Wednesday. Both groups agree there are parts of the election process that need further investigation. The statement specifically cites “the reckless adoption of mail-in ballots and the lack of safeguards” as two aspects they believe should be looked at in the future. The statement also points out that in the text of the U.S. Constitution and the 12th Amendment that “there is no authority for Congress to make value judgments in the abstract regarding any state’s election laws or the manner in which they have been implemented.” That means unless the states’ electors say otherwise that the votes should not be changed by Congress.

 

Johnson and 10 other senators are calling for an appointed Electoral Commission to conduct an emergency audit of the election returns in a number of disputed states, including Wisconsin. 

 

You can find statements from both Gallagher and Johnson below

 

SENATOR JOHNSON

WASHINGTON – During an interview on “Meet the Press” Sunday, U.S. Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) spoke about his support for creating an electoral commission to conduct an emergency 10-day audit of the election returns from disputed states.

 

“The fact of the matter is that we have an unsustainable state of affairs in this country where we have tens of millions of people that do not view this election result as legitimate. We've just come off of four years where the other side refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of President Trump, and here we are again.”

 

“This is an unsustainable state of affairs right now. That’s all we're saying is as long as someone will be objecting to this and we’re going to be taking a vote, let's propose a solution in terms of transparency, investigation, with a commission.”

 

“There is a double standard here and we are not being transparent and we are dismissing the concerns of tens of millions of Americans. Again, I didn't light this fire. This fire was lit over four years ago and we have destroyed the credibility – you have destroyed the credibility of the news media by your bias. And of course people like James Comey, Andrew McCabe, John Brennan destroyed the credibility of the FBI and our justice system as well. We have an enormous problem in this country, it’s unsustainable, and the only way you solve it is with information and transparency and hearings and investigations. It’s not quackery, it’s not a conspiracy theory, it’s what is going to be required.”

 

REP. GALLAGHER

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Reps. Mike Gallagher (R-WI), Kelly Armstrong (R-ND), Ken Buck (R-CO), Thomas Massie (R-KY), Tom McClintock (R-CA), Chip Roy (R-TX), and Nancy Mace (R-SC) today released the following statement concerning the January 6 vote to certify electoral votes. 

 

“We, like most Americans, are outraged at the significant abuses in our election system resulting from the reckless adoption of mail-in ballots and the lack of safeguards maintained to guarantee that only legitimate votes are cast and counted. It is shameful that between both chambers of the U.S. Congress, we have held precisely one hearing on election integrity since Election Day.

 

"The people cannot trust a system that refuses to guarantee that only legal votes are cast to select its leaders. The elections held in at least six battleground states raise profound questions, and it is a legal, constitutional, and moral imperative that they be answered. 

 

"But only the states have authority to appoint electors, in accordance with state law. Congress has only a narrow role in the presidential election process. Its job is to count the electors submitted by the states, not to determine which electors the states should have sent.

 

"The text of the United States Constitution, and the Twelfth Amendment in particular, is clear. With respect to presidential elections, there is no authority for Congress to make value judgments in the abstract regarding any state’s election laws or the manner in which they have been implemented. Nor does Congress have discretion to disqualify electors based on its own finding that fraud occurred in that state’s election. Congress has one job here: to count electoral votes that have in fact been cast by any state, as designated by those authorized to do so under state law.

 

"As of this moment, not a single state has submitted multiple conflicting slates of electoral votes. In other words, every state has sent either (a) Biden electors, or (b) Trump electors. Of the six states as to which questions have been raised, five have legislatures that are controlled by Republicans, and they all have the power to send a new slate of electoral votes to Congress if they deem such action appropriate under state law. Unless that happens between now and January 6, 2021, Congress will have no authority to influence the outcome of the 2020 presidential election. 

 

"To take action otherwise – that is, to unconstitutionally insert Congress into the center of the presidential election process – would amount to stealing power from the people and the states. It would, in effect, replace the electoral college with Congress, and in so doing strengthen the efforts of those on the left who are determined to eliminate it or render it irrelevant. 

 

"From a purely partisan perspective, Republican presidential candidates have won the national popular vote only once in the last 32 years. They have therefore depended on the electoral college for nearly all presidential victories in the last generation. If we perpetuate the notion that Congress may disregard certified electoral votes—based solely on its own assessment that one or more states mishandled the presidential election—we will be delegitimizing the very system that led Donald Trump to victory in 2016, and that could provide the only path to victory in 2024.

 

"There is one and only one path to victory for President Trump on January 6, 2021, and it depends on state legislatures certifying Trump electors in the states at issue, pursuant to state law and the U.S. Constitution, and based on a finding that votes lawfully cast in November were sufficient to produce a Trump victory. If they believe there was fraud—and if they believe that such fraud affected the outcome of the election—they must, as a body, convene immediately and send us that information, along with certified electoral votes cast by a Trump slate of electors. Absent such action, there is not a constitutional role for Congress to change the outcome of any state’s vote.

 

"The text of the Constitution is clear. States select electors. Congress does not. Accordingly, our path forward is also clear. We must respect the states’ authority here. Though doing so may frustrate our immediate political objectives, we have sworn an oath to promote the Constitution above our policy goals. We must count the electoral votes submitted by the states.”

 

Sturgeon Bay to decide on Bay Ship's beautification plan Tuesday

The Sturgeon Bay Common Council will have the final say on the Memorandum of Understanding between the City and Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding regarding Third Avenue's beautification on Tuesday.  The Finance, Purchasing and Building Committee approved the plan last month, which was part of a contingency in the shipyard receiving a height variance for a new fabrication hall approved by the Zoning Board of Appeals last October.  Bay Shipbuilding needed to provide details of landscaping, parking enhancements, the building's appearance, and the following of storm-water management as set down by the DNR.  The City granted the shipyard two variances concerning an upgraded plan to contract with Marinette Marine's building of a U.S. Navy Frigate.  The Sturgeon Bay Common Council will meet at 6 pm on Tuesday in Council Chambers at City Hall. 

Local grocer expects full food chain recovery by summer

Supermarkets faced challenges keeping their shelves fully-stocked last year as the foodservice supply chain was strained in many areas due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The disruptions in the supply chain had supermarkets scrambling to streamline and look for alternate products to meet consumer demand. Tadych's Econofoods Store Manager Jon Calhoun says with more people staying at home and cooking, especially before the holidays, expected spikes in purchases occurred throughout the store.  He expects the food supply chain to be fully recovered by this summer.

 

 

According to Supermarket News, the trends of more simplified product lines and food brands will continue well into 2021 with a one-to-two percent increase in "food-at-home prices".  Calhoun appreciates the continued support provided by the local community and encourages everyone to shop all area businesses.

Door County room tax increase under study

The Door County Tourism Zone Commission is funding a study on the impact of a proposed increase in the lodging room tax by 2.5%. It's currently set at 5.5%. The commission's Ad Hoc Room Tax Committee voted to accept a proposal from the UW-Whitewater Fiscal and Economic Research Center to study the proposal's potential benefits and impacts. Center Director Dr. Russell Kashian says research has found similarities between Delavan and Door County on how to use increased revenues to enhance a visitor's experiences and attract return customers.



 






Kashian told the committee during a Zoom meeting Tuesday that communities that have raised their room taxes have not seen significant decreases in lodging occupancy rates.

 

(photo courtesy of Rock Koshkonong Lake District)

Domestic abuse centers on power and control

Help of Door County is educating the public that domestic violence is not so much about anger as it is about power and control. Milly Gonzales, the executive director, says an abuser who is losing power and control will lash out and do everything they can do to keep it. She says financial control is another major issue faced in Door County for a variety of reasons.

 

 

Gonzales adds that children can often be used as pawns by abusers, who accuses victims of bad parenting and threaten to take children away. You can find more information about Help of Door County and the complete conversation with Milly Gonzalez below. 

 

 

Choosing the right executor in your will is crucial

One overlooked aspect of estate plans and wills can be selecting the best person to be the executor. Jim Downey from Blazkovec, Blazkovec & Downey in Algoma and Sturgeon Bay says the roles and responsibilities of the executor of the estate or trust come with a lot of work. He says the decision to choose the representative to handle the duties can be challenging at times.

 

 

Downey says he sees that most executors chosen for either the financial or healthcare power of attorneys are usually closest geographically.   

Kewaunee County ends year on a giving note

Kewaunee County residents helped make sure families in their area were able to end 2020 on a high note. The Kewaunee County Toys for Tots Drive assisted 108 families in 2020, making sure 267 kids had toys, a game, stuffed animal and a stocking stuffer under their tree. The final amount of the area’s Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign will be announced next week, but has helped dozens of families in the past thanks to the community donating thousands of dollars. Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski helps coordinate both campaigns and says even in a year of uncertainty, he knew for certain the area would give back.

Last year’s Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign raised over $20,000 to help fund vouchers for Kewaunee County residents.

Johnson joins GOP senators in election challenge

Wisconsin U.S. Senator Ron  Johnson joined a group of 10 other Republican senators on Saturday to challenge the results of the November 3rd election.

 

In a released statement, the Republican senators claim there were enough charges of voter fraud and irregularities that an emergency audit of the states with disputed results should take place. One of those states would be Wisconsin, which has faced court challenges by President Donald Trump and the Wisconsin Voters Alliance. Johnson held a hearing to address possible voting irregularities in the middle of December.

 

He told DoorCountyDailyNews.com that even though it was unlikely to change the result of the election, it is important for Americans to be able to trust their elections. The statement comes just days before Congress convenes on Wednesday to confirm the results of the Electoral College. 

Funding coming to aid people with transit challenges

Organizations helping people with transportation challenges in Door and Kewaunee Counties will get some much-needed funding in 2021.  The Wisconsin Department of Transportation will distribute $3,799,860 to 57 public and non-profit agencies that provide transportation to seniors, those with physical challenges and those who have no other way of getting around.  Door Tran in Sturgeon Bay received nearly $146,833 through the 5310 grant program in 2020.  Executive Director Nikki Voight says that helps those who depend on taxi service and military veterans.

Eastshore Industries, Incorporated of Algoma employs those with disabilities.  It received $56,800 dollars in 2020 to replace a transit van.  CEO Tracy Nelson says this year's funding will add a handicapped-accessible van that will seat more people and help clients to better live on their own.


5310 grant funds also help non-profit transit providers cover day-to-day operational costs.

Snowmobilers excited for season's start

The sounds of snowmobile engines may soon be revving throughout Door and Kewaunee Counties. The combination of snowfalls on Sunday, Tuesday, and Friday this week and cold temperatures have allowed groomers to tend to parts of the trail systems in both counties. Weather conditions can change those plans, but Kewaunee Moonriders President Tom Cherovsky is excited for snowmobilers to experience some of the trail improvements made over the last several months. In many cases, the improvements were made to help keep snowmobilers safer while riding.  Kewaunee Moonriders also made a positive impact off the trail in October when it announced it would waive the establishment fee for the 2020-2021 season in order to help still promote the businesses that have supported the organization over the years. Cherovsky reminds riders that if they do hit the trails to stay on them to keep themselves safe and so they can continue using the land they ride on for years to come.The websites for Door and Kewaunee Counties remain the best place to keep up-to-date with trail closures and conditions.

 

 

Early childhood teachers learning pandemic lessons

Northern Door Children’s Center Community Relations Coordinator Karen Corekin-De La Mer says you can always learn from kids, even if it took a pandemic to find out. Like many early childhood facilities across the country, the Sister Bay-based Northern Door Children’s Center has been operating at a lower capacity since the pandemic took its hold in March.  Teachers have learned how to be interactive with their families even on days where they can meet in person. Corekin-De La Mer says seeing the resiliency of their kids has been great to see, even among its youngest of students.

Northern Door Children’s Center is also operating on a cohort model to make sure students and teachers from different classrooms do not mix to help keep as many people in the building and healthy as possible.

Birch Creek hoping for 2021 season

Birch Creek Music Performance Center is moving forward with plans to have students and staff on its Egg Harbor campus for the first time in over a year. The pandemic caused the Birch Creek Board of Trustees to cancel the 2020 season, which included all events, programs, and in-person sessions. The organization was able to offer virtual programming for interested students. Executive Director Mona Christensen says the sessions for percussion and steel band, symphony, and jazz will be held at half capacity. Concerts and other events will be held outside and socially distant if possible. Christensen is confident they can still offer a rewarding experience while also keeping students and staff safe.

CHRISTENSEN1

The two-week sessions begin on June 13th for percussion and steel band, June 27th for Symphony, July 11th for Jazz I, and July 25th for Jazz II. Registration opens on January 4th. 

 

 

S.S. Badger car ferry sold

The historic S.S. Badger car ferry that carries passengers across Lake Michigan from Manitowoc to Ludington has been reportedly sold. The coal-fired ferry was sold to Interlake Holding Company of Ohio last Wednesday along with two other vessels, including the Badger's sister ship the S.S. Spartan, which is not in operation right now. The Pere Marquette Shipping Company and Lake Michigan Car Ferry Company also sold a tug-barge in the transaction. The S.S. Badger, built and launched by Christy Corporation in Sturgeon Bay nearly 70 years ago, is the last coal-fired passenger steamship operating in the country. Kewaunee was once a port for the car ferry before discontinuing service in 1980. Offering four-hour daily trips between Manitowoc and Ludington from May until October every year, the S.S. Badger was declared a National Historic Landmark in 2016. 

 

(Photo courtesy of J.R. Manning and S.S. Badger website)

Weather offered good news for farmers

While 2020 offered bad news in many different ways, the weather was a breath of fresh air for area farmers. Wisconsin had gone through three of the wettest years on record in terms of precipitation. Kewaunee broke a 29-year record with 41.09 inches of precipitation and Sturgeon Bay broke a 34-year record with 50.11 inches. Wisconsin farmers saw a little less rain in 2020 with six months below their historical averages. Peninsula Pride Farms President Don Niles said last week that the more favorable weather allowed farmers to work through their plans and implement some of the conservation practices they have not been able to do for several years.

Financially, the United States Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service estimates Wisconsin farmers will see their highest income level since 2013. According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the $119.6 billion in 2020 is a 41 percent increase over the previous year. While it is buoyed by payments from the federal government, farmers did see soybean and corn prices go up at harvest time. Monthly milk prices varied over the course of the year, but are currently below where they were at the beginning of 2020.

Budgeting better in 2021

Money Management Counselors is stressing the importance of financial budgeting as 2021 begins.  The community organization in Sturgeon Bay works with families and individuals to improve their lives by teaching sound economic principles to implement all year long.  Director Leslie Boden says although Christmas is over, a long-term spending and savings plan is vital to do all year long.

 

 

Boden adds that sticking to lists and boundaries set down by a plan can make it easier to keep within your budget.  She advises people to utilize a "cash envelope" where you put only so much money aside for gifts throughout the year and only use those funds.   Another idea to save money is to recycle gift cards you might have received and give them to someone else. You can find more tools to create a budget for spending here. 

First-year teacher connecting with students

Lynn Rueckert admits there have been some struggles and achievements as a first-year science teacher at Kewaunee High School. Rueckert teaches three classes, physical science, chemistry, and physics. These classes add up to a total of about 100-120 students. She describes one of her struggles as learning how to teach students a hands-on subject while having virtual and "in-person" students. She also struggles with students who do not value education and feel that it has nothing to do with the "real world." Because of this, Rueckert has changed her teaching style to relate to the students and their interests. 

 

 

 She believes this different teaching style is successful in helping students retain a subject's information and connect with their education.

 

(Photo courtesy of Kewaunee School District)

COVID-19 community testing starting up again

Door County will be teaming up with the Wisconsin National Guard again to provide free weekly COVID-19 testing in the community starting next Monday.  Dan Kane, Emergency Management Director, says the testing will rotate every Monday from 8 am until 4 pm in Sturgeon Bay and Sister Bay through March 8.  He notes the best way to access the new Sturgeon Bay location, the Door County EMS facility by the fairgrounds.

 

 

The Sister Bay location for testing will still be at the fire station on Mill Road.  Kane recommends anyone suffering from mild symptoms related to COVID-19 or possible exposure to utilize the test site.  The pubic is encouraged to pre-register but are not required to do so.  You can find more information on community testing here.  

 

 

Smartphone app aids COVID contact tracing

Cellphone users who've tested positive for COVID-19 can now trace the people they've had contact with locally or beyond Door and Kewaunee Counties.  The WI Exposure Network is a new mobile phone app that sends a code to people who've tested positive.  Once that code is entered into the app a phone's Bluetooth technology then anonymously notifies other people contacted during the time of potential exposure.  Susan Powers, with the Door County Department of Public Health, calls the WI Exposure Network app one more asset to combat COVID-19.
 


The WI Exposure Network app is available for download through the Google Play Store or through an iPhone's settings.  No GPS or other personal information is collected or saved during the app's use. More information can be found at www. dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/notification.htm.        

Developers withdraw appeal for RV Park

Members of the Quarry RV Park opposition group were able to let out a sigh of relief on Thursday after the developers withdrew their appeal. The appeal hearing with the Door County Zoning Board was supposed to take place on February 2nd about the parcel located near George K. Pinney County Park northwest of Sturgeon Bay.  The Door County Resource Planning Committee ruled in February to deny the application submitted by Quarry Bluff LLC because it failed several of the conditional use permit criteria. In July, the developers Mike Parent and Tom Goelz wrote in a letter they are negotiating possible alternative uses for the site which could eliminate a hearing. No Quarry RV Park member Brenda Lange says she is thankful it is done for now.

The Bay Shore Property Owners Association announced in October it had approached the owner of the land, the Margaret Druetzer Trust, regarding possible public use options for the quarry. The organization hired an appraiser in September to support the discussions.

Washington Island School goes to virtual learning

A spike of COVID-19 positive cases on Washington Island is forcing its school students to stay away from the building for at least the next two weeks.  The Washington Island School Board made the decision earlier this week to keep the students at home for remote instruction through January 15th. School officials on Wednesday delivered Chromebooks and other instructional materials to its students so they could work from home. School Board President Amy Jorgenson knows a few of their families have been impacted by the increase in positive cases on the island and says the decision was made to protect all of its students, parents, and staff members.

Washington Island officials announced last weekend it would be closing its town hall and police station while altering some of its other services as a result of the outbreak. Jorgenson says a decision will be made by January 15th on whether or not virtual instruction will continue or if they can come back to school on January 18th.

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