News Archives for 2021-02

Walleye tournament to boost Sturgeon Bay's Memorial Day weekend

Sturgeon Bay will get a big economic boost going into Memorial Day weekend.  The Bass Pro Shops/Cabela's National Walleye Tournament is set for May 26th-May 28th.  It marks the tourney's first visit to the Door County side of Green Bay.  Previous walleye tournaments have been held in Marinette and Oconto Counties.  The event is expected to draw nearly 290 anglers and nearly 140 boats for the three-day event.  Gary Nault, a Sturgeon Bay City Council member, and fishing guide, says the economic impact for Sturgeon Bay and all of Door County should be staggering.

 

 

Nault says the walleye tournament's impact on Door County will be felt long after it ends.

 

 

 

Nault says tournament organizers waived the $10,000 fee to host the event.  He says the community will provide space at Sawyer Park, ice for the fish caught, and lodging for organizers and their support staff.

 

(photo courtesy of City of Sturgeon Bay)

 

League of Women Voters hosting virtual Gibraltar School Board candidate forum

The only candidate forum planned before the April election will take on a new look for the League of Women Voters Door County.  Chair Pat Scieszinski says the six candidates for the Gibraltar School Board will be featured on a recorded forum on March 9th that will be posted immediately within 24 hours on the LWV website.  The format will be the same as in the past, says Scieszinski.

 

 

The six candidates for the three openings on the Gibraltar School Board are Angela Sherman, Carrie Becker, Jamie Christianson, Amie Carriere, Erick Schrier, and Cambria Mueller.  The League of Women Voters Door County is a nonpartisan political organization encouraging informed and active participation in government. 

Door County YMCA's "Day of Giving" on Tuesday  

To bring awareness to their capital campaign and community impact, the Door County YMCA is joining other YMCAs across America in promoting a "Day of Giving."  Annual Campaign Director Alyssa Dantoin shares a few of the events planned for Tuesday.

 

 

The YMCA will also be promoting one of their mission-driven programs every two hours throughout the day on Tuesday.  Programs include active older adult sessions, Livestrong Summer Camps, Membership-for-All, food programs, and safety around water.  You can visit DoorCountyYMCA.org for more details on Tuesday's "Day of Giving." 

 

(photo courtesy of Door County YMCA)

 

There's still time to register for Day of Giving activities! Participate in our Rubber Duck Race or our Virtual Bingo...

Posted by Door County YMCA on Saturday, February 27, 2021

 


Frozen food sales jump

Local supermarkets are still seeing a big influx of frozen food purchases.  With more families eating meals at home in the past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, grocers are working to keep up with the continued demand for frozen food.  In 2020, frozen food departments reportedly saw a 21 percent increase in sales over the previous year.  Tadych’s Econofoods Store Manager Jon Calhoun shares the most notable part of frozen food purchases he has seen in-store.

 

 

Supermarket News reported this week that the biggest categories of growth in frozen foods were 35.3 percent in seafood, 34.7 percent in poultry, and appetizers with a 28.9 percent increase over last year.  Calhoun says that the store has maintained ample freezer space to keep up with the demand with the help of additional warehouse and vendor support.      

Portable WiFi check out makes no internet, no problem

Kewaunee County families with limited internet access or no access at all can now surf the web with help from the Algoma Public Library.  Ten portable WiFi hotspot units are available for checkout for up to seven days.  They work with cellular phone services that can accommodate internet services.  The Algoma Public Library purchased the portable hotspots with help from Algoma Utilities.  Library Director Cathy Kolbeck says the units can each accommodate 10 to 15 device users, depending on the model type.  She says that makes them ideal for family use.
 



Kolbeck also says the portable WiFi hotspots have proven to be popular with some unexpected users.

 



Kolbeck says once a seven-day sign-out is over, the portable WiFi hotspots must be returned to the library.  Users must then wait for 24-hours before checking them out again.  Kolbeck says, so far, there's been no need for a waiting list.

Southern Door shares success of FFA Week

Despite the limitations of COVID-19 precautions, the Southern Door High School FFA program made the best of celebrating National FFA Week.  From a dressing up in "camo" and "true colors" last week to "Name that Country Tune" on Wednesday, FFA members at Southern Door made the most of a scaled-down version from other years.  Agricultural Science teacher and FFA advisor Ann Glowacki says she is incredibly proud of all her students' resilience in the program that has seen two, Anna Olson and Chloe LaCrosse, awarded recent FFA grants.

 

 

End-of-the-week activities included a milk chugging contest and a pig herding with pink balloons.  The Southern Door chapter of FFA will host the leadership development event this year, a speaking contest.  Students will be volunteering to put on the virtual event that includes prepared speaking, employment skills, and the famous quiz bowl.   

 

 


Program focuses on parents supporting parents

A new program from the United Way of Door County and Door County Child Protective Services looks to mentor families in tough situations. The United Way of Door County is looking for a parent partner to work with families who have had children placed in out-of-home care due to losing their parental rights or other permanency decisions. By linking those families with someone who has gone through the process before and has since been reunited with their children, Rebecca Nicholson from the United Way of Door County hopes the parent partner can serve as a mentor during an otherwise tough time.

Nicholson hopes the “Parents Supporting Parents” program has success locally and eventually reaches other communities across the country. The United Way of Door County is looking for one full-time or two part-time individuals to take on the role on a contracted basis. You can learn more about the program and the available position below.

 

The United Way of Door County is looking to contract either one full-time or two part-time individuals for the role of a Parent Partner for a new Program called, “Parents Supporting Parents”. This program is being provided through a partnership between the United Way of Door County and Door County Child Protective Services (CPS). It is part of a local and state effort to involve parents, and their voice of lived experience, to support local and state policy and system change.


Interested applicants must be a birth parent who received services from a Child Welfare Services department, has had their children placed in out of home care, and has been reunited with their children for at least one year or has resolved all issues related to the termination of their parental rights or other permanency decisions. As such, we are seeking passionate and committed individuals who are skilled in the areas of listening, providing guidance, and sharing hope with families receiving services from Door County CPS. Applicants must also; have a valid Wisconsin driver’s license, reliable transportation, and provide proof of current automobile insurance.


Any questions should be directed to Rebecca Nicholson at (920) 421-3145.

Maple syrup season flowing

Sap harvesters in Door and Kewaunee counties are preparing for what hopefully will be a successful harvest. The state of Wisconsin produced 265,000 gallons of maple syrup in 2020 after tapping approximately 780,000 trees to collect sap. Casco’s Bill Roethle says the weather has been helpful as of late and he hopes by completing his tube system, he is able to increase his sap collection yields without doing the same to his workload.

Roethle expects to tap the trees this weekend with the fluctuating temperatures helping him collect nearly 5,000 gallons of maple sap within the next few weeks. While he makes some maple syrup himself, Roethle sells much of his harvest to a larger processor in Manitowoc.

 

Picture courtesy of Pixabay

Local farmers fight against topsoil loss

Farms across the upper Midwest can look to operations in Door and Kewaunee counties when it comes to stopping further topsoil loss. A Wisconsin Public Radio report highlights scientists pointing to farming as the reason why a third of the Midwest’s farmland has lost fertile topsoil from their fields. The study points to farms in Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota, and Iowa tilling on erosion-prone hills as part of the problem. Tony Brey from Brey Cycle Farm in Sturgeon Bay says being involved in animal agriculture allows them to have a little more crop diversity in their fields rather than just producing single cash commodities like corn or soybeans.

Brey says they have had a lot of success no-tilling their fields and planting cover crops right after the corn harvest to keep soil in place and adding organic matter to the soil as it dies off.


Three Year Aging Plan aids ADRC client needs

Public input is a key to helping the Aging and Disability Resource Center of Door County provide services needed by its clients.  So, ADRC is conducting its latest Three Year Aging Plan survey to develop a strategy for operations between 2021-2024.  Participants are asked to answer 11 questions ranging from past services they've received, how COVID-19 has impacted their lives, and what services they feel are needed.  ADRC Executive Director Jake Erickson says past surveys have helped the organization fill some unique needs.

Anyone interested in taking part in the ADRC Three Year Aging Plan survey can pick one up at the offices on N. 14th Avenue in Sturgeon Bay or by logging on to https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/V2J9QJ3 .

Charitable giving up in 2020

Donors across the country have made sure non-profit organizations continue to provide services to the community. The Blackbaud Institute 2020 Charitable Giving Report shows a two percent increase in charitable giving over 2019 total despite a significant drop at the onset of the pandemic. The average donation increased $120 to $737. Often serving on the frontlines of emergencies, Door County Community Foundation President and CEO Bret Bicoy says charities addressing human services saw the biggest gains in 2020. Despite the gains, challenges remain.

Another challenge Bicoy says is that some Door County charitable organizations addressing the arts and environmental causes have seen donations plummet due to the increasing need for human services, which has shifted those dollars to other places. The Door County Emergency Response Fund has collected over $1.1 million since the beginning of the pandemic.

Why Whole Grains?

Did you know that at least half of your grains should come from whole-grain sources? Why? Well, whole grains help us to stay healthy by reducing cholesterol, cardiovascular disease risk, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers. Whole grains also improve our overall digestive health.

 

When shopping, be sure to read the packages. Some words can be deceiving, making you think that the product contains whole grains when it actually may not. Look for the word WHOLE such as “whole grain, whole wheat, stoneground whole, or whole oats.”

 

Ready to make a change? Remember to look for the word WHOLE in the ingredients. Have oatmeal for breakfast or whole-wheat toast, cook with brown rice instead of white, or enjoy air-popped popcorn for a snack! And remember make half of your grains whole grains!


Area cases of COVID-19 remain low

The positive trend in the fight against COVID-19 in Door and Kewaunee Counties took another step forward on Friday.

 

 Door County reported three new positive tests for COVID-19 but also noted three new recoveries. The number of active cases stayed at 17. The county only noted 11 test results on Friday.

 

Kewaunee County reported only four new COVID-19 cases since Tuesday of 38 test results shown. With four recoveries noted, the number of active cases remained at just eight.

 

There were no recent hospitalizations or deaths reported in either Door or Kewaunee counties.

 

The state reported 840 new positive tests in Wisconsin on Friday, which makes it over two weeks since the last time over 1,000 daily cases were reported. The number of people hospitalized increased by 61, with 52 deaths reported.

 

On the vaccination front, 1,361 people in Door County and 523 in Kewaunee County have received doses this week. 

 

 

Proposals look to shake up elections

Two proposals being circulated in the Wisconsin Legislature could have an impact on how future elections are held. Republican Reps. Duey Stroebel and Alberta Darling are proposing major changes to the absentee voting system that saw record use in 2020 but has also been targeted with claims of fraud. The proposals would require a photo ID with every absentee ballot application, limit the use of people claiming to be indefinitely confined, and ban municipalities from accepting grants for running an election. The bills are being championed as a way to restore confidence in the election process while creating uniformity and transparency. Jay Heck from Common Cause Wisconsin says the package of bills is just making it harder for people to vote.

A bipartisan group of Wisconsin state lawmakers also introduced a ranked-choice voting format for U.S. Senate and Congressional elections. The process would eliminate partisan primaries and instead allow the best performing five candidates to advance to the general election. According to the Wisconsin State Journal, the candidate who garners more than 50 percent of the vote would win. If no one reaches that mark, the last-place candidate would be eliminated and anyone who voted for that person would have their second choice counted. The process does have the support of U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher.

 

WISCONSIN VOTER ALLIANCE COMMENTS ON  ABSENTEE BALLOT LEGISLATION

 

Kewaunee County man rescued

A 78-year-old man was rescued south of Algoma on Lake Michigan's shores after falling off an 80-foot cliff on Thursday.  Algoma Fire Department Captain Wayne Schmidt says the call came in about 12:30 pm.  Upon arriving at the scene at N6238 Highway 42, Schmidt says Algoma Police Chief Randy Remiker was attending to the victim at the bottom of the cliff.  He describes how they were able to transport the man to safety.

 

 

Schmidt notes the man showed no signs of injuries other than being cold and shivering before being transported to a Green Bay hospital.  According to Schmidt, the Algoma Fire Department was familiar with the rescue area since they had a similar incident in the same location last fall. 

 

(photo courtesy of Algoma Police Department)

Door County Library resuming in-person visits

All Door County Library branches will reopen for limited in-person use starting Monday, March 1st.  The library system had been limited to pick-up service for books, videos, and other checkout items during the pandemic.  Walk-in visitors will still have to follow masking and other COVID-19 precautions.  Community Relations Librarian Morgan Mann says visitors will have access to all public areas of the library, with some limitations.

Mann also says the contactless pick-ups and drop-offs remain available for those with health safety concerns.

New ag building allows students skills to grow

The new agriscience building at Luxemburg-Casco High School is allowing students to learn beyond textbooks and videos. In conjunction with the school district, Luxemburg-Casco FFA Alumni members have helped make the building a reality by installing the necessary equipment for a greenhouse, a chicken coop, and an area for small and large mammals. In the future, the building will house space for hydroponics and aquaponics. Agriculture and FFA advisor Justin Selk says there will be plenty of opportunities for students to learn inside the building’s walls.

Selk says its 30-plus member FFA chapter has been relatively quiet this year due to COVID-19 restrictions but believes it has proven to be more than just “cows, plows, and sows.”

Chapters in Door and Kewaunee counties are taking time to celebrate National FFA Week through Saturday. This is part of series of stories highlighting the area’s active chapters.

Most oppose Dollar General at public hearing

The long-anticipated public hearing on the proposed Dollar General in Egg Harbor saw over two hours of public comments on Thursday night. Initially planned for last November, the hearing was delayed and done virtually with just Town of Egg Harbor supervisors present at the town hall.  After Dollar General representatives gave their presentation, Egg Harbor residents were allowed to ask questions and make comments.  Dollar General was denied access in Sister Bay over a year ago and is now proposing a site at Highway 42 and Hillside Road. The proposed 9,100 square-foot building would be placed on a 2.5-acre lot.  Supervisor Steve Schopf says most people voicing their opinion were opposed to the development.  He shares the primary concern raised by residents on Thursday evening.

 

 

Schopf added that those in opposition also did not like an outside business entering the area and competing with local retailers.  The plan commission will meet on March 8 to review the architectural design before it goes in front of the Town of Egg Harbor Board on March 15.

 

(initial site plan of Dollar General store courtesy of Town of Egg Harbor)

COVID-19 active cases continue to hold steady

Door County Public Health reported five new positive cases of COVID-19 on Thursday out of the 40 test results returned. The active cases held at 17 while five people recovered.  No hospitalizations or deaths were reported and the total number of tests performed in Door County is now at 16,291.

 

Kewaunee County Public Health did not report today. 

 

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services announced 52 additional deaths along with 840 new cases statewide on Thursday.  

 

Rueckl remembered for his dedication to community

Long-time business owner and community supporter Tom Rueckl of Luxemburg is being mourned this week after passing away at the age of 80 in Florida last weekend.  Rueckl, a life-long resident of Luxemburg, was involved in developing Northbrook Country Club in 1972 and served as a funeral director and owner of McMahon's of Luxemburg for 50 years.  According to his obituary, Rueckl was a member and past president of the Luxemburg Area Chamber of Commerce.  He was the Chamber's "Man of the Year" in 1991.  Ted Stodola, businessman and close friend to Rueckl, says he was a professional and dedicated man that the community will greatly miss.

 

 

Rueckl also served on the Bank of Luxemburg board for 27 years before retiring nine years ago and staying in Florida during the winter months.  You can find details on Tom Rueckl's funeral here.  

Tractor Supply coming to Kewaunee

The City of Kewaunee is excited to bring a large retail business to the community to fill a vacant building at the city's north entrance.  Mayor Jason Jelinek says Tractor Supply will be coming to the old Shopko building on Highway 42 with hopes to open in June.  The building is about 30 percent larger than the retailer's typical layout.  Jelinek sees the business as a good fit in Kewaunee.

 

 

Based in Brentwood, Tennessee, Tractor Supply has over 1,800 stores nationwide that offer home improvement, agriculture, lawn and garden maintenance, and animal care products.  Jelinek noted that Kewaunee has six other new businesses planning to open later this year.

Door County food box events to be held Friday

Door County residents can head to either Sister Bay or Sturgeon Bay for the next Farmers to Families Food Box events happening on Friday. Beginning at 4 p.m., residents can receive the food boxes contactless at the Door County Fairgrounds and the Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Station. United Way of Door County Executive Director Amy Kohnle stresses patience at both events.

Over 1,000 boxes are expected to be distributed between the two sites courtesy of the Door County Food Pantry Coalition, the Door County Fire Chiefs Association, the United States Department of Agriculture, and Feeding America. Kohnle adds that food ran out quickly at the Sturgeon Bay site two weeks ago, which prompted changes to how many boxes each family can receive. Additional details, including a Farmers to Families Food Box event in Kewaunee County, can be found below.

 

DOOR COUNTY

 

 

KEWAUNEE COUNTY (FROM KEWAUNEE COUNTY FOOD PANTRY PAGE

MARK YOUR CALENDARS AND PLEASE SHARE THIS POST AND TELL YOUR NEIGHBORS AND FRIENDS USDA FARM TO FAMILY FOOD BOXES COMING TO KEWAUNEE

COUNTY AGAIN.

 

ON THURSDAY FEBRUARY 25TH WE WILL BE RECEIVING A SHIPMENT OF 500 OF THESE FOOD BOXES FOR DISTRIBUTION. THESE BOXES WILL CONTAIN FRESH FRUITS AND VEGETABLES AS WELL AS CHEESE, MILK AND MEAT PRODUCTS. THESE ARE AVAILABLE TO ANYONE IN KEWAUNEE COUNTY AND YOU CAN ALSO PICK UP FOR FAMILY MEMBERS AND NEIGHBORS WHO CANNOT COME THEMSELVES. LIMIT – 4 BOXES PER CAR – IF YOU NEED MORE GET BACK IN LINE

NO REGISTRATION REQUIRED

 

WHERE TO PICK UP

THE KEWAUNEE COUNTY FOOD PANTRY IN ALGOMA, WISCONSIN, 1528 SUNSET AVE.

 

WHEN TO PICK UP

FEBRUARY 25TH FROM 10:00 AM UNTIL GONE. IN THE EVENT OF INCLEMENT WEATHER, PICKUP WILL BE ON FRIDAY FEBRUARY 26TH BEGINNING AT 9:00 AM

 

 

FFA Week takes a different look at Kewaunee

Chapters across Door and Kewaunee counties are celebrating National FFA Week a little bit differently this year due to the pandemic. Many of their outings have either been canceled or taken place virtually. At Kewaunee, their FFA chapter will distribute dairy products to students but will also take a year break from hosting elementary school kids for a petting zoo as a part of its festivities. Kewaunee FFA Advisor and agriculture teacher Randy Charles says they are continuing to look for ways to promote agriculture in the district. One of those ideas could have a big impact on the community.

Charles added its 50-plus member chapter is working towards competitions taking place later in the year even though like many other things, they will be taking place virtually. This is part of series of stories highlighting the area’s active chapters.

 

 

Warming weather parks snowmobiles locally -- UPDATED

Snowmobile enthusiasts in Door and Kewaunee counties will have to travel elsewhere to sneak in a ride.

 

The Door County Parks Department announced Wednesday it was closing the southeast and central zones of its snowmobile trail system. The southwest zone in Door County closed on Monday, which was when Kewaunee County closed down its entire system due to poor trail conditions.

 

The weather report is not looking too kindly on those trails reopening in the near future with little to no snow in the forecast and daytime high temperatures above the freezing mark occurring for nine of the next 10 days.

 

North Zone - CLOSED - FEBRUARY 26, 2021

Trails are from Maple Tree Road/Kangaroo Beach Road (Egg Harbor to Baileys Harbor) north to the Gills Rock area.

  

Conditional permit process helps Sister Bay deal with multiple applications

The Village of Sister Bay is working through multiple applications for conditional use permits for the construction of secondary dwellings.  The Planning Commission had several requests for such permits on Tuesday's agenda.  Those range from transient rentals to condominiums.  A number of transient housing units have been proposed in Sister Bay and other Door County communities.  Sister Bay Village Administrator Beau Bernhoft says conditional use permit applications are proving to be a useful tool when the plan commission is pondering developments with long-term community impact.

During Tuesday's meeting, the plan commission approved conditional a use permit for a condominium project on Little Sister Road by Lance and Bridget Crane.  The commission also gave approval to a preliminary redevelopment plan for a hotel/motel condominium project on Maple Drive by Al Gokey. A modified redevelopment plan is expected to be submitted as early as March.

No new COVID-19 cases in Door County

Wednesday’s report of COVID-19 cases in the state yielded no new positive tests in Door County.

 

It marks the first time since February 15th that there were no positive tests reported. There were also no deaths, hospitalizations, or recoveries in Wednesday’s report.

 

As a state, an additional 747 people tested positive for COVID-19 while 25 died and 55 were hospitalized.

 

So far this week, 355 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine were administered in Door County while Kewaunee County has administered 107.

 

DOOR COUNTY

Tests Performed: 16,251 (+13)
Positive: 2,406
Probable: 195
Negative: 13,637 (+13)
Recovered: 2,565 
Active: 17
Deaths: 20 
Total Ever Hospitalized: 83 
 

 

WISCONSIN

Tests Performed: 3,3,164,429 (+5,264)
Positive: 561,311 (+747)
Negative: 2,603,118 (+4,517)
Deaths: 6,342 (+25)
Total Ever Hospitalized: 25,893 (+55)
 

Kewaunee man arrested on child sex crimes

A 57-year-old Kewaunee man was arrested Wednesday on charges of possession of child pornography. A release from the Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department revealed they received a tip from the Wisconsin Department of Justice Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force that John Kay Jr. was searching for child sex abuse imagery. After a search of his home in the town of Pierce, Kay was incarcerated in the Kewaunee County Jail pending further orders from the court.

Luxemburg adding new housing

The groundwork for two new housing projects in the Luxemburg area is well underway. Village President Jack Seidl says the developments are good news for the community. The Northbrook subdivision condominium development will begin construction this spring. 

 

 

The other condominium development, on Seidl Street, will need some completed paperwork done before it is brought before the board next month for final approval. That project will offer 12 units with some additional single-family residences. Last month, the Village of Luxemburg passed a motion to limit incentives for any development at $500,000.  

 

Weather may trump shanty removal dates

With forecasted high temperatures above freezing for at least another week, the Department of Natural Resources is warning ice anglers that ice can deteriorate quickly with those conditions. Local DNR Conservation Warden Chris Kratcha says by law, unoccupied fishing shanties on area inland lakes, like Clark and Kangaroo lakes must be removed by March 7.  Ice shanties on Green Bay must be off the ice by March 14.  Kratcha cautions anglers to consider the thawing temperatures before venturing on the ice.

 

 

You can still ice fish after the deadlines, but only with portable shacks that are removed each day.  The DNR is asking for help from the public to report any violation of the rules.  You can call or text the DNR hotline at 1-800-847-9367.

Door County confirms Ash as Highway Commissioner

Thad Ash will take over as Door County Highway Commissioner beginning March 1st.  Ash is a 22 year veteran of the highway department and has served as Patrol Superintendent for the past 15 years.  As highway commissioner, Ash says his priority will be to maintain the quality of state, county, and township roads with the funding available.

 



Ash replaces John Kolodziej, who's retiring on February 26th after nearly 21 years with the county and nine years as Sturgeon Bay Public Works Director.

Area COVID-19 death

Door County Public Health disclosed a small sampling of COVID-19 results on Tuesday as the 20th death was reported, the first since February 10.  Of the 18 test results, there were two confirmed cases with no new recoveries noted.  Also, for the first time in two weeks, the daily number of active cases went up.  The total number of active cases now stands at 17 with an increase of two.   Door County also reported one additional hospitalization on Tuesday.

 

After two consecutive days of zero deaths in the state, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported 33 COVID-19 deaths on Tuesday.  The DHS also reported 566 positive tests and a positivity rate of just under16 percent.   

 

On the vaccination front, Door County dispensed 74 COVID-19 vaccine doses this week while Kewaunee County showed 35 people receiving the vaccine.  Overall, about 20 percent of the population in Door County have been vaccinated, with 13 percent in Kewaunee County.

 

County approves funds for salt-brine facility

The Door County Highway Department will begin producing its own salt-brine mixture for use on area highways next winter.  The Door County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved the transfer of $170,000 from the Highway Department's Cash Account to the Building Account.  Those funds would be used to build an addition to the Sturgeon Bay garage to house the salt-brine manufacturing operations.  A $147,000 state grant will pay for the brine-making equipment.  Door County Highway Commissioner John Kolodziej told supervisors that the new facility and the arrangement with the state make sense for Door County. 

 



The construction and installation of the salt-brine facility is expected to be finished by October, just in time for the 2021-2022 winter driving season.

Algoma mother charged in drowning death of baby

The Algoma woman who was arrested last week in connection to her seven-month-old child drowning in a bathtub has been charged with child neglect resulting in death.

 

According to the criminal complaint, 23-year-old Cheyanne Wierichs admitted to investigators that she left the bathroom with the baby in the bathtub to connect her phone to a Bluetooth speaker, returning after listening to a song when she heard splashing sounds.  It was estimated that several minutes would have passed from the time Wierichs left and returned to the bathroom.

 

After authorities completed a search warrant, evidence of methamphetamine was gathered from the residence.  Also charged with possessing methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia, Wierichs is scheduled to appear in court on Thursday. 

Gibraltar School Board sends students back to classroom

In a matter of two months, Gibraltar Area Schools will go from completely virtual to allowing the entire student body back for in-person instruction. The Gibraltar School Board made the decision Monday to allow for a change to the district calendar to be open every day for students. The elementary school had already made the transition to five days a week in-person learning. The seven secondary school grades were previously split into two groups that alternated every five days between in-person and remote learning. Secondary students will also transition from two 210-minute class periods to five 80-minute class periods. Superintendent Tina Van Meer said it took longer to get to this point than many parents would have wanted, but she looks at the positives.

Van Meer hopes the longer the schools can prove their COVID-19 mitigation strategies are working, coupled with the change class day structure, the more parents will feel comfortable sending their children back for in-person learning. Students at the secondary school have not been 100 percent in person since the pandemic hit the area last March. Parents will still have the option to keep their kids in remote learning.

Sevastopol to return to 100 percent in-person attendance

For the first time since the fall, Sevastopol School District will welcome all of its students back to the classroom if their families so choose on March 1st. The district has been in its current A/B model since the end of September when at one point contact tracing kept nearly 10 percent of its student population in quarantine. That was preceded by two weeks of 100 percent in-person learning. The number of positive cases has dwindled in recent weeks and close to 20 percent of the county’s population has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Sevastopol Superintendent Kyle Luedtke says that gives him confidence moving forward.

The district currently only has one positive case and four people in quarantine due to COVID-19.  Luedtke added that the district’s cleaning procedure and 14-day quarantine period for close contacts will stay in place.  Approximately seven percent of elementary and high school students and eight percent of middle school students have opted out of in-person learning according to principals Adam Baier and Aaron Hilts earlier this month. Currently Luxemburg-Casco, Algoma, Sturgeon Bay, Southern Door, and Washington Island School District offer 100 percent in-person learning.

Vaccine benefits outweigh possible side effects

Despite the side effects many people are experiencing when receiving the COVID-19 vaccine series, Door County Medical Center officials are encouraging residents to take advantage of any opportunities to get it one. Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jim Heise and President/CEO Brian Stephens from Door County Medical Center weighed in on a number of COVID-19 vaccine issues during a Facebook Live session on Monday night. Many of the questions centered around the side effects of getting the vaccine, which have included fevers, chills, tiredness, and headaches. Stephens admits you may want to plan ahead if you are scheduled to get the vaccine.

Heise hopes the side effects do not force people to steer clear of the vaccine.

Heise and Stephens reiterated that demand is outpacing the current supply the hospital, Door County Public Health, and other vaccination partners have available. It could grow even more when sign-ups start for the next stage of vaccinations, which include teachers, child care workers, some farm personnel, and grocery store workers.

 

 

Town of Gibraltar to discuss special assessments

The Town of Gibraltar Board will discuss the special assessments being levied on property owners for recent lighting and sidewalk improvement projects.

 

Both projects were included during last year’s Highway 42 improvements. Approximately $567,500 for sidewalks and $811,100 for new lighting will be a part of the special assessment. The amount paid for by the property owner is based on the assessed cost per acre and per $1,000 of total property value.

 

You can find the special assessment schedules for both projects by clicking this link. The information will be discussed at a special meeting on Wednesday at 6 p.m.

New waiting list opens for vaccine

Door County residents that are 65 years and older and who still have not received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine can start booking an appointment on Tuesday with the Door County Health Department. Door County made it through all 1,400 people on their original waiting list and will add up to another 700 people this week. Door County Health and Human Services Director Joe Krebsbach says nearly one-fifth of the county's population has received at least their first dose of the vaccine.  To avoid a repeat of having to cancel appointments due to a shortfall of vaccines allotted to Door County that occurred a few weeks ago, Krebsbach shares the approach being taken this week.

 

 

Krebsbach notes that any Wisconsin resident can schedule an appointment to get the vaccine. Door County confirmed Monday that they received 360 first doses and 60 more second doses for this week. Senior citizens, frontline healthcare workers, EMS, law enforcement, or firefighters are currently on the list to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The Department of Health Services is expected to name other eligible groups within the next week.

 

Door County Public Health Press Release

 

COVID-19 cases diminishing

The area saw more encouraging signs since Friday on the COVID-19 front with a lower positivity rate and recoveries outnumbering cases again.

 

Door County Public Health disclosed only two positive tests for the coronavirus on Monday.  The positivity rate from the 39 tests performed was only 5.1 percent.  The total active cases dropped by one and now stands at 15. 

 

Kewaunee County reported three confirmed cases of the coronavirus with five recoveries noted on Monday.  The 72 test results since Friday showed a positivity rate of just 4.1 percent.  The number of active cases fell from 12 to 10.

 

The Department of Health Services reported no COVID-19 deaths for the second consecutive day.  Coronavirus cases in the state went up 423 on Monday with 32 new hospitalizations.

 

 

Sister Bay Plan Commission looking at Conditional Use Permits

A few potential developments in Sister Bay will fill the discussion at the Plan Commission meeting on Tuesday.  Village of Sister Bay Administrator Beau Bernhoft says proposed secondary dwelling units that are being pursued will require the village’s approval of a Conditional Use Permit.  He explains the process to move those projects forward.

 

 

Another Conditional Use Permit for a duplex and single-family home that is classified as residential condominiums in a B-1 business parcel is on the agenda.  The Sister Bay Plan Commission will also be reviewing the conditions imposed on the 18-unit Cove at Pebble Beach condominium development that has already gone through a public hearing.  Sister Bay's village board placed a moratorium on new transient lodging establishments in their three business districts last Tuesday.  Bernhoft noted that the moratorium allows the municipality to review the zoning code and make sure it falls in line with its strategic goals.  The Sister Bay Plan Commission meeting begins at 5:30 pm Tuesday. 

Loan amendment sought for West Side School apartments

The Door County Board of Supervisors will consider changes to the Sturgeon Bay-Door County Economic Development Loan Program.  That's related to funding for the West Side School redevelopment project.  Northpointe Development of Oshkosh is repurposing the former school into a 15-17 unit apartment building.  Door County Administrator Ken Pabich says supervisors will be looking at modifications to the loan agreement based on changes in the size of the project.

The West Side School building closed just over 20-years ago.  The Board of Supervisors will consider a resolution on the intergovernmental loan program when it meets Tuesday, February 23, at 10:00 AM at the county government center on Nebraska Street in Sturgeon Bay.

Sunshine Resources, East Shore Industries consider partnership

Two local organizations serving the special needs communities of Door and Kewaunee counties may join forces in the near future. Sunshine Resources of Door County and Algoma’s East Shore Industries announced on Monday it would be exploring the possibility of an organizational partnership. East Shore Industries CEO Tracy Nelson will be serving a similar role with Sunshine Resources of Door County in the interim as the two organizations look for ways to better serve the special needs community. Nelson says the partnership would give a stronger voice for people with special needs.

She added COVID-19 and changes to Medicare are challenges she hopes to help their clients face in the coming months. Nelson will start her role at Sunshine Resources of Door County officially on March 1st.

 

Picture courtesy of East Shore Industries. Taken when they received a donation from the 

Gordon Flesch Company Charitable Foundation in August.

Door County's public transit rebrands

The Door County Transportation Department is helping the public connect to places a little bit easier. The department announced on Monday that its former ADRC vans and Door 2 Door Rides vehicles would fly under the Door County Connect banner. The county has provided public transit services for over 10 years, but it has been confusing to some riders looking for a way to get where they want to go. Transportation Manager Pam Busch hopes this is the first step to connecting passengers with rides easier and quicker.

The Door County Connect services provided more than 35,000 rides in 2020, which was about 13,000 less than 2019. Busch says the numbers have started to build back up as people have gotten vaccinated and felt more comfortable traveling.

Used car prices going up

High demand for used cars has driven prices up during the coronavirus pandemic. With automobile manufacturers still trying to make up for production shutdowns last year and a shortage of computer parts, a tremendous interest in pre-owned vehicles has hit local dealers. Co-pilot's auto industry analytics company reported last month that used car prices increased nearly five percent since last June. Jim Olson Motors General Sales Manager Missy Allen says the inventory of used vehicles is making up for the challenge of getting new models on their lots.

 

 

Allen adds that Jim Olson Motors is also actively purchasing cars as part of their "We Buy Cars" campaign. The average used car prices topped $20,000 in 2018 and are reportedly about $22,500, according to Edmunds.com.

 

(vehicle photo courtesy of Jim Olson Motors)

Kewaunee County snowmobile trails closing Monday

With temperatures forecast to be above freezing this week, all Kewaunee County snowmobile trails will close as of Monday morning.  A Kewaunee County Promotions & Recreation Department news release cited the eventual deterioration of the snow base would make the trails unusable.  The trails in the Red River, Algoma and Kewaunee areas had open last Wednesday along with the use of the Ahnapee Trail.  The Luxemburg area had remained closed.  Kewaunee County with the help of six snowmobile clubs maintains over 200 miles of trails.  For updates on the trail conditions, you can call the Kewaunee County hotline anytime at (920) 388-7199.  

Southern Door STEAM program goes on virtually

Southern Door Elementary School held its 2020 STEAM Family Night last February in person just before COVID-19 restrictions began.  The 2021 competition will go on March 9th as a virtual event.  The Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math competition pits teams of students and their families against other families.  STEAM Coordinator Jessica Meacham says teams will use the skills learned through the program to assemble the provided materials at home.

 



The Southern Door STEAM Family Night will begin at 6:00 PM, March 9th.

Local restaurant owner endorses new safety program

The Wisconsin Restaurant Association has initiated a "Ready to Serve Safely" program designed to make diners feel more confident eating out.  The public awareness campaign allows for restaurants to follow the best practices for mitigating COVID-19.  Wanda Hilsabeck, Wanda Jeans Family Restaurant owner in Sturgeon Bay, completed the certification process last month.  She believes promoting a safe dining establishment is essential to her staff and customers.

 

 

Restaurants that complete and follow up a checklist of safety measures and sign a commitment will earn the program's endorsement through the Wisconsin Restaurant Association. The program is free to WRA members and is funded through a partnership with the Wisconsin Department of Tourism.  

 

Find more information on the WRA "Ready to Serve Safely" program here

Property owners responsible for sidewalk snow removal

As the area receives another dose of winter weather and snow over the weekend, municipality officials in Door and Kewaunee County remind city residents that keeping their sidewalks clear of snow and ice is the property owners’ responsibility.  Sturgeon Bay Municipal Services Director Mike Barker says that city ordinances require snow to be removed from sidewalks promptly.

 


Property owners can face fines or be charged for the eventual snow removal from sidewalks by the municipality.  You could also be sued for a form of negligence if someone would slip and be injured because of failure to remove snow or ice from sidewalks.

COVID related rental assistance coming soon

Help is on the way for people in Door and Kewaunee counties who've fallen behind on their rent payments due to COVID-19.  Applications for the Wisconsin Emergency Rental Assistance Program will soon be accepted through the Lakeshore Community Action Program.  That's being funded through the Wisconsin Department of Revenue.  Katie Markwardt, the Supportive Housing Director with Lakeshore CAP,  says rental assistance and other aid will be made available to those impacted economically by the pandemic.
 



Wisconsin Emergency Rental Assistance Program applications will be announced through Lakeshore CAP's website http://www.lakeshorecap.org/ or by calling (920) 682-3737.

Door County closer to its own salt-brine facility

The Door County Highway Department is a step closer to having its own salt-brine manufacturing facility for winter use on area highways.  The Door County Board of Supervisors will consider an authorization to proceed with the project, which is being made possible through a state grant.  The highway department currently purchases and transports salt-brine from Brown County.  Door County Administrator Ken Pabich says the new facility will make the use of salt-brine more economical and earth-friendly.

Pabich says the new salt-brine manufacturing operation at the Sturgeon Bay highway garage is expected to be up and running by late fall of this year.

Door County artists amplify diversity

Northern Sky Theater mainstays Lachrisa Grandberry and Molly Rohde are helping do their part to welcome more artists of color to Door County. The pair launched Door County Amplify earlier this year to celebrate to work of different artists of color, especially when they are involved with projects in the area. The goal is to increase Door County’s reputation as a being a welcoming place for artists of color. They also hope to increase the visibility of diverse performers coming to the region. Grandberry was new to Door County four years ago when she started to perform at Northern Sky Theater. She hopes in addition to promoting artists of color’s events in the community, she can foster a discussion about a being a Black actor in a predominantly white community.

Grandberry admits her first experience in Door County was a culture shock, but she is thankful for the people she has met for making her feel welcomed. She hopes the Door County Amplify page can help attract other artists of color to come to the area to perform.

Lautenbach melts flavor with inspiration

Chef Heidi Lautenbach did not have to go far to develop the menu for Melt at Renard’s Cheese’s Sturgeon Bay location. Last summer, Renard’s rebranded their on-site deli to feature fresh, local ingredients with new breakfast, lunch, and dinner fare. Lautenbach has worked at Renard’s for eight years and used a wide assortment of cheese varieties to craft the different dishes. She credits the business’ cheese with the inspiration.

Lautenbach also had a hand in crafting Renard’s catering menu, which will be released later in March.

Door County Coastal Byway earns national distinction

The Door County Coastal Byway was among three scenic roadways to earn national designation earlier this week. The Lake Superior Byway and the Door County Coastal Byway received National Scenic Byway designations from the Federal Highway Administration for their place in the country as tourist attractions. Earning the designation is not easy as officials spent the better part of two months making sure they were able to highlight the area’s archeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational, and scenic qualities. Door County Coastal Byway Council Chair Ann Miller is thrilled that their 66 miles of scenic views are getting national attention.

Miller adds the national designation could make it easier for other local agencies and organizations to earn important grant dollars for other projects down the road. Also receiving recognition this week in the state was the Wisconsin Great River Road bordering the Mississippi River, which earned All-American Road status. It was recognized as a state scenic byway in 2010.

Holiday demand high for Lake Michigan whitefish

Commercial fishing operators are doing a booming business for whitefish from Lake Michigan and the bay of Green Bay.  Late winter and early spring are traditionally big times for whitefish.  Charlie Henriksen, the owner of Henriksen Fisheries in Ellison Bay, says local stores and restaurants are leading the demand for whitefish.  

Henriksen also says the overlapping Easter and Passover holidays are generating a lot of orders, especially in larger cities.

Henriksen describes whitefish, which can be caught year-round, as the bread and butter for commercial fishing operators.  

Farmers battling back against debt

Wisconsin dairy farmers continue to battle their pocketbooks as much as anything else on their operations. A Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel report showed about 360 dairy farms went out of business in 2020. Successful Farming magazine is giving some operators hope, suggesting the farm outlook in 2021 is the strongest it has looked in years thanks to higher commodity prices and larger government payments. That has allowed some farmers to start paying down their debt and transitioned Kewaunee County UW-Extension Agriculture Agent Aerica Bjurstrom into a pseudo financial consultant role. She says many farmers are in catch-up mode after five years of depressed dairy prices.

Bjurstrom says she leans heavily on the UW Center for Dairy Profitability and the Wisconsin Farm Center to help operators make the right financial decisions for their farms.

 

Photo from UW Extension

Help of Door County dealing with busier times

The organization that acts as an advocate for domestic abuse has seen numbers of clients spike in the past two weeks.  Help of Door County Executive Director Milly Gonzales says the challenges of dealing with a high volume of victims and their families have put stress on her staffing.   She credits the staff at Help of Door County for persevering and being available regardless of how busy they are.

 

 

In the past two weeks, Help of Door County has dealt with many abuse issues, including human trafficking, child abuse, safety planning, and high lethality assessment situations.  Help of Door County provides services and programs throughout the peninsula for victims of domestic violence.

Recoveries outnumber positive tests

The encouraging trend of COVID-19 continued locally on Friday.  Door County Public Health reported only three confirmed cases of the coronavirus while noting six more recoveries.  The number of active cases in Door County reduced by two and now stands at 23. 

 

Kewaunee County Public Health showed only four new COVID-19 cases since Monday out of the 82 test results.  The number of active cases dropped to just 12 while no hospitalizations or deaths were reported.

 

On the vaccination front, Kewaunee County administered 701 doses of the vaccine and Door County 409 this week.

 

The Department of Health Services disclosed 733 positive tests of COVID-19 on Friday with 58 hospitalizations and 18 deaths.

 

 

Nicolet Bank trio survives Polar Plunge

Three Nicolet Bank employees were rewarded with a deluge of water over their heads on Friday to celebrate monies raised for the local Special Olympics organization.  The event was held at the Nicolet Bank's parking lot on North 4th Avenue in Sturgeon Bay and featured a front-end payloader with a full water bucket.  Senior Vice-President of Commercial Banking Jamie Alberts was one of 46 employees who raised funds for Special Olympics throughout the organization.  Alberts, Paula Englebert, and Paula Wiese collectively raised over $7,000, and the three finished in the top five in the state.   Honored to take the plunge, a chilled Alberts says it was nice to help out a very worthy cause.

 

 

Door County Special Olympics Agency Manager Stacey shares how the funds raised are utilized.

 

 


Vogel adds that the event was a huge success, and Special Olympians do not have to pay anything for their competitions.  You can see the video from Friday's event below.

 

 

Door County enjoying good luck with COVID-19 vaccinations

Door County Health and Human Services Director Joe Krebsbach feels lucky with the number of people they have been able to get vaccinated for COVID-19. Over 5,100 Door County residents have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and approximately 1,800 have completed the series. At 18.5 percent of the total population fully or partially vaccinated for COVID-19, Door County ranks eighth in the entire state. Door County Public Health announced earlier this week it had received 150 first doses and 120 second doses of the Pfizer vaccine. Both Door County Public Health and Door County Medical Center have had to alter their scheduled appointments in recent weeks due to the supply received not meeting the demand in the area. Krebsbach would not be shocked if other counties get more as they try to catch up to Door County’s percentage. He is also confident that more help is on the way as well.

Earlier this week, the state crossed the 1,000,000 mark in total vaccinations administered. Wisconsin is currently ranked 11th among U.S. states and territories when it comes to the percentage of residents with at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 33rd of people completing the series.

Volunteer Center of Door County ceases operations

The changing times in the non-profit world have led the Volunteer Center of Door County to cease its operations effective immediately. The organization made the announcement on Friday after serving the community for close to 20 years. When it was established as a Leadership Door County initiative, area non-profit organizations did not have all the tools at their fingertips to recruit volunteers and raise funds as they do now. The Volunteer Center of Door County has also been operating without an executive director since the fall of 2019 and its everyday duties have stretched the abilities of its Board of Directors.  Alyssa Dantoin served on the Board of Directors for two years, and says she is most proud of the spotlight it shined on area non-profits and their volunteers through its annual Golden Heart Awards.

The Volunteer Center of Door County has made a huge impact on the community during its history. In addition to connecting volunteers with charitable efforts, it has awarded $11,000 in scholarships to college-bound Door County students.

 

 

Taking Lent outdoors

You do not have to go indoors to celebrate the Lenten season at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in Champion. The Catholic pilgrimage site will once again offer its outdoor Stations of the Cross on Friday evenings and Tuesday mornings during the Lenten season. It will also continue its practice of hosting Eucharistic Rosary Processions following its Sunday masses. Practicing one’s faith has certainly faced its challenges since the onset of the pandemic last year, but the Shrine’s rector, Father John Broussard, is thankful pilgrims have opportunities to do so safely on their grounds.

Broussard also pointed out that holding masses and other special events in its Mother of Mercy Hall has also allowed visitors to spread out more inside, including this past week’s Ash Wednesday services.

 

Picture courtesy of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help

Plans for West Waterfront apartments can proceed

The developer of a proposed apartment building in Sturgeon Bay's West Waterfront Redevelopment Area can proceed with more a detailed conceptual plan.  The city's Plan Commission approved Northpointe Development's request to finalize the concept for a five-story, 53-unit apartment building on E. Maple Street.  That's the former site of the Door County Cooperative.  Overall, commissioners were pleased with the initial concepts and aesthetics of the proposal.  Though, some were concerned about Northpointe's desire for two parking slots per unit for the project.  Mayor David Ward believes those concerns can be resolved to benefit tenants and visitors.
 



Northpointe Development will now further refine the apartment project's design while the city works on a development agreement.  No timeline has been set as to when the revised concept will go before the plan commission.

 

CORRECTION:  This story mistakenly referred to the development as a hotel project initially

Door County continues downward trend

For the second consecutive day, Door County Public Health reported only three new cases of COVID-19.  Out of the 41 test results on Thursday, one was classified as “probable” and the positivity rate was under ten percent.  The number of active cases went down to 23 as six more recoveries were noted.  There were no additional hospitalizations or deaths reported. 

 

Wisconsin Department of Health Services showed that 445 people in Kewaunee County have received the vaccine this week, with over 200 being vaccinated in the last day.  In Door County, 321 people have received the vaccination this week.  

 

Long-term care facility residents may face eviction

Proposed cuts to Medicaid funding may lead to many long-term facility residents being forced to leave their current living situation.  Tama Begley, the owner of Anna’s Healthcare in Sturgeon Bay, says the nearly nine percent cut could impact a third of the people staying in her assisted care facility.  She notes that long-term care facilities have already been challenged with thousands of dollars of COVID-19 expenses from the past year, and the cuts create more stress to operations.

 

 

Begley is disheartened that many of her clients may be forced to leave and live in apartment-like settings.

 

 

 

There are currently 20 residents at Anna’s Healthcare who are on Medicaid-assistance, and Bagley says 15 would be impacted by the cuts that start April 1.  She adds that many families are not aware of the situation and that Congress is not fighting for at-risk senior citizens.  Residents of long-term facilities must be given 30-day notice for eviction due to financial matters.

Law enforcement strives for balance in response

Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski says his department has ramped up the dialogue it has with the community about how it responds to incidents. How law enforcement either escalates or de-escalates a situation has come into focus over the last year due to media coverage and local response to national incidents. With limited information at their fingertips, Joski believes law enforcement has to respond in a way that protects the community and themselves.

He added every training they do circles back to the concept of de-escalation.

Joski enjoys the dialogue he has with community members about their policing techniques so they can better inform the public of what is and what may not be happening when they approach the scene of an incident.

 

FROM SHERIFF MATT JOSKI

This week’s article is in response to a very pleasant conversation I recently had with a young lady regarding her son’s experience with law enforcement. The story is as follows: Her son was attending to a service call of a rental unit, where he had entered the basement to conduct his work. One of the tenants, who were unaware of this work, called into law enforcement stating that there was a burglary in progress. As the young man was exiting the basement, he was met by Law Enforcement officers with their weapons drawn shouting commands to him. The young man complied with the orders of the Law Enforcement Officers, and the situation was resolved after determining that the young man did indeed have legitimate business purposes.

      

As you can imagine, this ordeal had an impact on this young man and he shared the story with his Mother, who felt that the Law Enforcement approach was excessively aggressive. I explained to her that Law Enforcement’s response is based primarily on the initial information we receive from the caller. While it is easy in hind sight to say that the heightened level of response was inappropriate, you have to look at what information was available at the time. While this incident took place outside of our community, the dynamics of such a call can and have happened even here in Kewaunee County. It is these types of situations which require our Officers to be well trained and proficient in both escalation and de-escalation techniques.

      

We recognize that each and every contact an Officer makes brings with it a level of risk. We must balance the mitigation of that risk with the need to maintain an open and non-threatening posture to our community. A good example is that you should never see an Officer approach a traffic stop with his hands in his pockets oblivious to the potential dangers he or she is walking into. On the other extreme, we do not want to see an officer approaching every traffic stop with a weapon drawn, shouting verbal commands. We must always strive to find the balance between keeping our officers safe while not alienating the very community we serve.

       

In every call we respond to and every traffic stop we make, we must be constantly adjusting our tactical posture in response to the behavior of those around us. To not escalate in a threatening environment is to put the officer and our community at risk, while escalating to quickly can turn a bad situation worse, resulting in a cascading of reactions leading to tragedy.

       

It is important to note that this process of escalation and de-escalation is incorporated into each and every one of our training scenarios. We are very aware that our mere presence at a scene brings with it a perceived level of force, and that our ability to appropriately escalate or de-escalate that level of force can be the difference between not only life or death, but also success or failure as public servants. I want to thank this member of our community for sharing her story with me, as it is in the sharing of experiences and perspectives that we are able to bridge the gaps and build stronger relationships.

Legislators weigh in on the state budget

Both state Rep. Joel Kitchens and state Senator Andre Jacque had reasons to be happy and frustrated with the $91 billion biennial budget plan announced by Governor Tony Evers on Tuesday. The plan calls for increasing aid to the state’s public schools, raising the minimum wage to $10.15 by 2024, and pumping more money into economic development initiatives. Kitchens says there are pieces of the budget he does support like extending the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program and approving a number of water quality initiatives. He also believes the budget is filled with items the governor knows will not pass.

Jacque was happy to see 15 of his bills be included in the governor’s budget with little to no changes, like reimbursement for local governments for special elections and income tax exclusion for National Guard members. However, Jacque says some of the items are just relitigating old fights like prevailing wage and Act 10.

Both Kitchens and Jacque hope to find common ground with the Governor’s office on a budget. Rep. Kitchens announced earlier this week that he will be hosting one-hour virtual listening sessions at 9 a.m., 1 p.m., and 5.30 p.m. on February 25th. Jacque says he is in the process of planning his own listening sessions to take place in the coming weeks.

 

REP. JOEL KITCHENS' THOUGHTS ON THE BUDGET

The Positives

The Negatives

 

SEN. ANDRE JACQUE'S THOUGHTS ON THE BUDGET

The Positives

The Negatives

 

Mini golf course for Sturgeon Bay gets permit

Miniature golf could be available in the Sturgeon Bay city limits as soon as this summer.  The Sturgeon Bay Plan Commission on Wednesday approved a conditional use permit for the planned 18-hole, Door County-themed attraction.  It would be built on a parcel of land on S. Grant Avenue and Highway 42/57.  Developer Susan Hartzell told commissioners the project is designed with families in mind.

Traffic and noise concerns were raised by Lexington Management Vice President Michelle Stimpson, who owns the nearby Harbor Winds and Harbor Ridge Apartments.

City Council member Spencer Gustafson lives in the nearby apartments and believes city ordinances can address those issues if they should arise.

The commission unanimously approved the conditional use permit.  Hartzell hopes to have the mini-golf course open by mid-July or 2022 at the latest.

 

Picture courtesy of the City of Sturgeon Bay

Three local Friends groups get state funding

Thanks to the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Fund, projects being organized by the Friends groups at three different state parks in Door County will be possible. The State Building Commission announced last week that the Friends groups at Whitefish Dunes State Park, Peninsula State Park, and Potawatomi State Park each received $20,000 grants for various projects. The Friends of Peninsula State Park is using their grant to help fund its outdoor amphitheater and walkway project while the Friends of Potawatomi State Park is using their allotment for picnic shelter extensions. It will be easier to get around the Brachiopod Trail at Whitefish Dunes State Park as they work to make it more handicap accessible and develop additional signage. Friends of Whitefish Dunes State Park President John Nelson says the funding will allow them to get the project done much quicker than they could have if they had to fundraise it all by themselves.

The Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program was developed in 1989 to preserve natural areas and expand outdoor recreation areas in Wisconsin.

Door County goes down one active case

The positive trend in the fight against COVID-19 in Door and Kewaunee Counties took another step forward on Wednesday.

 

Door County reported three new positive tests for COVID-19 but also noted four new recoveries. The number of active cases went down one to 25. Kewaunee County did not report new COVID-19 statistics on Wednesday. The state reported 657 new positive tests in Wisconsin, which makes it a week since the last time over 1,000 cases were reported.

 

On the vaccination front, 278 people in Door County and 219 in Kewaunee County have received doses this week.

 

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: 16,116 (+25)
Positive: 2,398 (+3)
Probable: 193
Negative: 13,525 (+22)
Recovered: 2,547 (+4)
Active: 25 (-1)
Deaths: 19 
Total Ever Hospitalized: 82 

Crews repairing severed sewer line in Algoma

A force main sanitary sewer line on Navarino Street in Algoma was severed on Wednesday.  Municipal Services Director Matt Murphy says the issue was just east of Second Street and was not weather-related. 

Murphy expects the work to repair the sewer line to be completed by Thursday. Temporary blacktop will be placed over the site of the repair until the spring when they do a complete resurfacing. The road will be closed until approximately 4 p.m. Wednesday before reopening for the evening. Crews will close the road down again Thursday morning until they finish the job.

 

 

Kewaunee County helping farmers and families again

The first USDA Farmers to Families Food Box distribution in Kewaunee County of 2021 is next Thursday. Kewaunee County Food Pantry President Ken Marquardt estimates that 500 boxes will be available for families in need. The last event in December saw 500 boxes handed out within two hours. Marquardt explains the distribution of the boxes, which will include meat, cheese, milk, fresh fruits, and vegetables.

 

 

The Farmers to Families Food Boxes are available to anyone in Kewaunee County with a four-box limit per vehicle. No registration is needed, and pickup will start at 10 am on February 25 until all boxes are gone. The Kewaunee County Food Pantry is located at 1528 Sunset Avenue near the Algoma Industrial Park. 

Sonny's hosting blood drive

A Sturgeon Bay business is stepping up to host a community blood drive next week.  In efforts to help keep the local blood bank in ample supply, Sonny's Italian Kitchen and Pizzeria will provide floor space downstairs for the Community Blood Center to conduct the drive. Sonny's owner Jason Estes explains the additional benefits one receives by donating blood at this time.

 

 

Estes adds that all donors afterward will receive a complimentary pizza and pizza cutter, besides the regular coffee and cookies.  The Community Blood Center is the sole provider of blood, platelets, and plasma to the Door County Medical Center.  You can find contact information to schedule a blood donation between 11 am and 5 pm on Thursday, February 25 below. 

 

 

Schedule by calling 800-280-4102    or visit www.communityblood.org

Sturgeon Bay delays room tax increase decision

A one-hour discussion on a resolution for a room tax increase ended with postponing a decision until next month by the Sturgeon Bay Common Council Tuesday night.  Baileys Harbor Town Chair Dave Elliot, who started the countywide initiative through the Door County Tourism Zoning Commission that would increase the tax from 5.5 to 8 percent, answered questions and concerns by councilmembers.  Room tax revenues would be split 70/30 between Destination Door County and the local municipality.  The Door County Tourism Zoning Commission proposal needs 13 of their 19 Door County municipalities to resolve an ordinance to be drafted.  Councilmember Kristin Reeths motioned to postpone a decision on the recommendation until more information could be received, including a study conducted by UW-Whitewater on the tax impact’s elasticity.  The motion was seconded and unanimously passed by the council.  The Sturgeon Bay Common Council will revisit the resolution at their next scheduled meeting on March 2.

 

In other business, the council passed a resolution delaying the payments for combination Class B Beer and Class B Liquor licenses. Instead of one lump sum fee, restaurants and bars will now be able to spread out the cost over three different payments in June, August, and October.

 

A second resolution approved Tuesday waived sidewalk café fees for 2021. Restaurants and even non-food-related businesses can submit plans to move some of their operations.

Tuesday's local primary results

The primary race in Kewaunee for the Alderperson District 2 position has Wendy Shelton and Evan Gibbs moving on to the April election.  Shelton received 69 votes while Gibbs finished with 17.  Jeremy John Robillard ended up third with 13 votes.

 

In the Gibraltar School Board race, the field of eight candidates was reduced to six with Angela Sherman, Carrie Becker, Jamie Christianson, Amie Carriere, Erick Schrier, and Cambria Mueller garnering enough votes to move on to the April election where three seats will be decided.  The complete results are below.

 

 

Statewide, Jill Underly and Deborah Kerr will vie for the Superintendent of Public Instruction in April's election after topping the field of seven candidates in Tuesday’s primary race.  Capturing 27 percent and 26 percent of the vote, respectively, Underly and Kerr claimed over half of the overall vote in the state. 

 

 

Active cases continue downward trend

As the state approaches one million doses of the COVID-19 vaccines administered, Door County Public Health reported more encouraging news on Tuesday.  Of the 28 test results in Door County, only four coronavirus cases were confirmed, with 25 negative tests and one less probable case of the 193 pending. The number of active cases went down by one to 26, and four recoveries were noted.  No recent hospitalizations or deaths were reported in Door County.

Kewaunee County Public Health did not have a COVID-19 update posted on Tuesday.

 

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported 624 cases of COVID-19 along with 82 hospitalizations and 38 deaths. Reportedly over 970,000 vaccines have been given to Wisconsin residents since the first shots were given on December 13 to healthcare workers.   

 

Kewaunee County to open snowmobile trails Wednesday

Snowmobilers will be able to crisscross through Algoma, Kewaunee, and Red River beginning on Wednesday. The trails will be officially opened at 6 a.m. in sections 1, 2, and 4. Poor conditions in section 3, which encompasses Luxemburg, will keep those trails closed. While the trails are listed in good condition, Kewaunee County Promotions and Recreation Director Dave Myers says some parts are not.

 

 

Snowmobilers are required to purchase a Wisconsin Snowmobile Trail Pass through the Department of Natural Resources. They are also asked to stay on the marked trails and to respect private property.

 

(photo courtesy of visitKewauneecounty.com)

Sturgeon Bay cancels St. Patrick's Day Parade

The St. Patrick's Day Parade in Sturgeon Bay will have to wait another year.  Destination Sturgeon Bay announced Tuesday that the annual event, scheduled for March 13, will be postponed until 2022.  Marketing & Events Director Carly Sarkis says the canceling of the event was made because of safety concerns.

 

 

The canceling of the St. Patrick's Day Parade last year occurred two days before the event, when Governor Tony Evers issued the "Safer at Home" order.  Sarkis adds that Destination Sturgeon Bay staff and the Board of Directors are actively pursuing additional activities for the community to take part in this year safely.  The St. Patrick's Day Parade for 2022 is scheduled for March 12. 

Egg Harbor Firefighters Inc. reinstated

The charitable arm of the Egg Harbor Fire Department has been reinstated in the eyes of the State of Wisconsin. At the end of January, Attorney Randy Nesbitt notified Egg Harbor Fire Chief Andy Staats 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. Since then, the Egg Harbor Firefighters, Inc. has worked things out with the state and paid all of its back fees in order to be recognized as a non-profit organization once again. Former department member and current Egg Harbor Firefighters, Inc. President Dan Kiehnau says they can now make use of programs to help update their equipment.

Kiehnau added they had stayed up to date with their status on the federal level. The organization has named new members to its board and will update its by-laws in the coming months. Kiehnau says COVID-19 will limit what it can do for fundraising activities this spring and summer. It has used funds recently to purchase AED units, a rescue truck, and extrication units.

 

Photo courtesy of the Egg Harbor Fire Department Facebook page

Liberty Grove chimney fire a close call

The caretaker of an Ellison Bay home came at the right time before a chimney fire potentially got worse Monday afternoon. Door County EMS and firefighting crews from Sister Bay/Liberty Grove, Gibraltar, Ephraim, Baileys Harbor, and Jacksonport began arriving on the scene at 11789 Porcupine Bay Road after the home’s caretaker reported light smoke circulating throughout the house. Snow was also found melting at a rapid pace near the roof of the vacant house. Crews found the fire within the chimney area, but it was located outside of its normal flue. The wall of a downstairs bedroom and some of the chimney’s masonry had to be torn apart to access the flames. Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Chief Chris Hecht says a large amount of debris had to be removed for the fire to be extinguished. He says the incident is a reminder that you should have your chimney not just cleaned every year, but inspected as well.

The scene was cleared in about two hours and no one was hurt. Hecht added that even though the structure was relatively unscathed, he estimates approximately $5,000-$8,000 worth of repairs will have to be made.

Waterfront apartments and miniature golf course projects before Plan Commission

A planned 53 unit apartment development on the West Waterfront and a proposed miniature golf course on S. Grant Avenue will be before the Sturgeon Bay Plan Commission February 17th.  Northpointe Development will present a conceptual development of the apartments project for the former Door County Cooperative property along Maple Street.  Northpointe is requesting that 13 parcels now zoned for industrial use be rezoned as a central business district.  The Northpointe project would include 1 and 2 bedroom units, 44 surface parking spaces and 46 underground parking areas.   Mayor David Ward, the chair of the planning commission says the conceptual development presentation serves as an outline for the project.

The commission will also consider a request for a conditional use permit from Susan Hartzell to develop a miniature golf course on the corner of Grant Avenue and Highway 42/57.  The project would include an 18-hole course, a clubhouse/concession area and 28 parking spaces.  Mayor Ward says this project is ideal for property that offers limited options.

The Plan Commission meeting will take place at Sturgeon Bay City Hall on Michigan Street at 6:00 PM.

 

Picture of the mini-golf course rendering is courtesy of the City of Sturgeon Bay

 

 

Algoma woman arrested for infant's death

An Algoma woman has been arrested Monday on multiple charges stemming from the death of a seven-month-old child.  Cheyanne Wierichs of Algoma faces charges of Neglecting a Child resulting in death, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and Possession of a Controlled Substance, Methamphetamine.  The incident occurred last Tuesday when police responded to a call of a drowning of a young infant child at the 400 block of Fourth Avenue.  Algoma Police Chief Randy Remiker informed DoorCountyDailyNews.com that Wierichs was booked into Kewaunee County Jail without incident and awaits formal charges by the Kewaunee County District Attorney’s office.  The one-week investigation was completed by the Algoma Police Department with the assistance of the Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigations (DCI).     

Ice fishing strong despite previous ice floe emergency

The rescues of 66 anglers from several ice floes caused by high winds on Green Bay earlier this month have not diminished interest in ice fishing.  The below-freezing temperatures and minus-double digit wind chills have, in fact, drawing more people to the ice.  J.J. Malvitz, the owner of JJ's Guide Service, credits the colder weather conditions and peak times for a popular fish species with keeping him very busy.
 



Malvitz also says the conditions that caused the break and the ice floes show how quickly situations can change even for experienced anglers.

 



The Department of Natural Resources reminds anglers, snowmobilers, and ATV users that ice should never be considered safe.  Floatation devices, a cellphone, and ice claws or picks should be standard equipment when venturing out on any ice-covered waters.

 

(photo courtesy of JJ Malvitz)

Area active cases drop

Door County did not have another confirmed positive test for COVID-19 since Friday.  On Monday, Door County Public Health disclosed one probable case out of the 43 test results gathered.  The number of active cases dropped to 27 with 24 recoveries noted. 

 

Kewaunee County Public Health reported Monday only eight confirmed cases for the coronavirus of the 58 test results received since last Thursday.  The total number of active cases went down to 20 as 14 new recoveries were noted. 

 

There were no deaths reported and no new hospitalizations in either county.

 

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported 405 new cases on Monday with 38 hospitalizations and four deaths.  The state shows that over 10,000 more people were fully vaccinated since Sunday.   As of Monday 12.3 percent of Wisconsin residents, and nearly 40 percent of adults 65 years and older, have received at least one dose of the vaccine.  

 

 

Few primary races on Tuesday

Only a few Door and Kewaunee County residents will see a locally contested race on their ballots when they head to the polls for Tuesday's primary.
 
Voters in the Gibraltar School District will decide which six candidates of the eight on the school board's ballot make it to the April Election.  The six top finishing candidates will be moving on and each voter will be able to choose three of the eight names listed on Tuesday's ballot.  Candidates include Carrie Becker, Jamie Christianson, Amie Carriere, Erick Schrier, Cambria Mueller, Marc Savard, and Alan Kroll.

Jeremy John Robillard, Wendy Shelton, and Evan Gibbs are vying for the District 2 seat for the Kewaunee City Council.  The voters there will have a say on which two candidates appear on April's ballot.

On Tuesday, all ballots in the state will have the seven candidates running for Wisconsin State Superintendent of Public Instruction.  The two top primary vote-getters will face-off in the general election on April 6.  The non-partisan seat was held by Carolyn Stanford Taylor, who did not seek reelection. 

 

Polls open at 7:00 am throughout the state on Tuesday and close at 8:00 pm..  

Pandemic forces Ash Wednesday changes

Those who have marked the beginning of Lent in Europe in the past will not see anything new to them when Catholic churches in the Diocese of Green Bay celebrate Ash Wednesday this week. Instead of marking the foreheads with the sign of the cross accompanied by a small prayer, ashes this year will be sprinkled on the top of the head in silence. Other countries have done this for years as the practice closely mirrors what appears in the Book of Joel. Father Dan Schuster of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Luxemburg and Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Casco says even though it will look different, the meaning behind Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent remains.

While Ash Wednesday is celebrated by a number of Christian denominations, not all of them mark the occasion with ashes. Pastor Joel McKenney of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Algoma says they will continue their practice of not marking people on Ash Wednesday, but will still distribute communion during its traditional holiday service. Algoma United Methodist Church is passing out individually wrapped packets of ashes.

 

 

Council looks to waive sidewalk permits, spread license payments

The Sturgeon Bay Common Council will look to pass a pair of resolutions aimed at helping local businesses get through another year of handling the pandemic.

 

One resolution would delay the payments for combination Class B Beer and Class B Liquor licenses. Instead of one lump sum fee, restaurants and bars would be able to spread out the cost over three different payments in June, August, and October.

 

The other resolution would waive sidewalk café fees for 2021. Restaurants and even non-food-related businesses could submit plans to move some of their operations. Both resolutions cite the current state of emergency and the financial fallout that comes with it as a part of their reasoning.

 

The Sturgeon Bay Common Council will also weigh in on the proposed hike in room taxes and the annexation of land in the Town of Sturgeon Bay when it meets Tuesday at 6 p.m. in its chambers.

County weighs factors in transitional housing

Finding the perfect location for transitional housing for sex offenders may be easier said than done for Door County officials. The Door County Board approved approximately $15,000 for plans to be drawn up by an engineering firm for three different sites located near the Door County Justice Center. Door County Administrator Ken Pabich says in past years many municipalities took a “not in my backyard approach” when it came to allowing sex offenders to live in their communities.  Now that counties can no longer fall on that, Pabich says they have been forced to find options for them.

Two more sex offenders are expected to be released to Door County in the coming weeks. Pabich says even though the proposed sites may still not be ideal, the sites near the Door County Justice Center have their advantages.

He adds the project is going through the proper committee channels right now before it heads to the City of Sturgeon Bay for additional guidance and input. Pabich hopes to wrap up the site location and the bidding process this spring.

Sunshine Resources clients reaching dreams 50 years later

Sunshine Resources in Sturgeon Bay has come a long way since its founding in 1971 to help those with special needs.  As the organization marks its 50th anniversary, Sunshine Resources has greatly expanded its services. It now provides transportation, personal care, employment with the organization's facilities, such as the Sunshine Resale Store and Sunshine Business Services along with advanced career-building skills.  Business Development Director Jeremy Pazczak says those are great accomplishments for a non-profit group that simply started as a hang out for people with special needs.
 



Pazczak says Sunshine Resources says today's clients are reaching heights not considered possible a half-century ago.
 



More recently Sunshine Resources have offered help to those with dementia, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Disease help through the Sunshine Cottage in Sturgeon Bay.

Short-term rental ordinance on Town of Sevastopol agenda

The Town of Sevastopol will be discussing a proposed short-term rental ordinance at their Board of Supervisors meeting on Monday.  A draft of the ordinance was approved at the Plan Commission meeting last month and would require rental owners to obtain a short-term rental license through the state and the Door County Tourism Zone Commission.  A “short-term rental would be classified as any stay of 30 days or less and a minimum of six nights, according to Plan Commission Chair Linda Wait.  The proposed ordinance would be up for discussion only at the meeting Monday for board members to become current with the proposed draft, and no formal board action would be taken.  The Town of Sevastopol Board of Supervisors will also hear from Samantha Koyen of Door County Soil and Water on a special report about invasive species at Monday’s meeting that starts at 7 pm at the town hall.   

 

(photo courtesy of Sevastopol Town Board website)  

Largest ever abstract display at Miller Art Museum

The Miller Art Museum in Sturgeon Bay is highlighting abstract works by regional artists for two more weeks.  The displays are featured on the Ruth Morton Miller Mezzanine and are called "From Deep Within: Meditations of Wisconsin Abstractions".  Miller Art Museum Curator Helen del Guidice says one of the artworks by Cristian Andersson of Appleton is the largest ever displayed at the museum.

 

 

Other artists currently featured are Alyssa Krause of Milwaukee and Marjorie Mau of Green Bay.  The From Deep Within exhibit will be up until February 26, and viewing is allowed on an appointment basis by calling the Miller Art Museum between 10 am and 5 pm Monday through Friday.

 

The last day of the ‘Museum of Civilization’  exhibit in conjunction with the Door County Reads program is Monday, February 15.

 

(photo courtesy of Miller Art Museum) 

New restaurant preserves Ballering's history

A new restaurant will pay tribute to a 19th century Kewaunee landmark when it opens to diners. “The Ballering” is part of the ongoing renovation and restoration work at 402 Milwaukee Street, which opened in 1881 as a shoe factory.  While it also has been used for other purposes, veteran restauranteur Boyd Finell is now transforming some ground floor space for a combination eatery and performance space for musicians.  Finell says “The Ballering” restaurant is trying to incorporate as much of the building's structural past as possible while also meeting 21st-century utility code requirements.
 



Finell says “The Ballering” will serve everything from Cajun Po' Boy sandwiches to smoked beef brisket to Friday night fish fries.  It's expected to open this spring if conditions permit.

 

 

(photo courtesy of The Ballering)

Dealing with COVID fatigue – Mental Health Minute

Sturgeon Bay Psychologist Dr. Dennis White says there are three reasons why it is difficult for people to continue to follow safe practices when it comes to the health crisis.  The fatigue brought on by continually having to follow health guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic has led to people questioning how much longer they have to do it.  Dr. White shares why it is so hard to follow safe practices.

 

 

Dr. White says maintaining safe social contact can be accomplished through social distancing, wearing masks, and washing hands frequently.  He notes that although we often can’t see the direct results of our safe behavior, each of us has a responsibility to each other to fight through the COVID fatigue and continue to do it.  You can listen to Dr. White's entire Mental Health Minute below.

 

 

Extremely dangerous cold expected through Monday -- CANCELLATIONS

Dangerous wind chills are expected to continue through Monday morning in the area.  The National Weather Service issued a weather alert for a hazardous weather warning calling for wind chills to reach 15 to 25 below on Sunday, with even more dangerous wind chills of 25 to 40 below zero returning overnight.  Some lake effect snow showers are possible Monday before temperatures are expected to rise in the middle-teens on Tuesday and get warmer as the week goes on.   

 

CANCELLATIONS

Gibraltar Area Schools canceled in-person classes for Monday due to the cold weather.  There will be remote learning.  

 

Sevastopol School District canceled classes for Monday due to the cold weather.  There will be no remote learning.  

 

 

Washington Island School District will have a two hour delay due to the cold temperatures. 

 

5:56 AM [02.14.21] ???? We have one more night/morning of dangerously cold wind chills, tonight into Monday morning! ?? Wind chills this cold can cause frostbite in as little as 10 minutes on exposed skin!

Posted by US National Weather Service Green Bay Wisconsin on Sunday, February 14, 2021

 

Hagen embraces TPAC challenge

Julian Hagen is very familiar with the stage at Washington Island’s Trueblood Performing Arts Center, but not necessarily in his new role. Hagen was recently tapped as the new managing director for the performing arts venue. Like other facilities, it remained shuttered for most of the year due to concerns with the coronavirus. Outside of its walls, the Trueblood Performing Arts Center offered concerts on his lawn and other activities where they could still gather while still staying six feet apart. Hagen says one of his goals to build the TPAC’s local outreach.

Hagen hopes the TPAC will be able to do what they did last year with the outdoor performances with a little flexibility from visiting artists.

Last year the TPAC was able to host nine events and is currently hosting a short film contest through the end of the month.

Peninsula Preschool explores reopening

Peninsula Preschool is putting the question to parents: are you ready for us to reopen? Located in the basement of the Village of Ephraim Administrative Center, Peninsula Preschool has been closed since Governor Tony Evers’ shutdown orders in March. The Peninsula School Board has met several times since then as they have weighed their options. The combination of dropping COVID-19 numbers and the reopening of buildings at Gibraltar Area Schools has parents and school officials discussing options again. A lack of airflow in the basement would mean its reopening would be held off until they could hold classes outside. Peninsula Preschool Director Jill Harkaway says there are also other factors they need to consider.

Parents have been sent a survey to answer their thoughts about kids returning to the classroom. Harkaway says the decision rests with its board, which is made up of the school’s parents.

Sturgeon Bay School District welcomes literacy consultant

Sturgeon Bay School District will host Dr. Danielle Thompson from Transformative Reading Group next month to help address the needs of its current reading curriculum. Hailing from Bozeman, Montana, Thompson has experience working with pre-K, elementary, and middle school students in at-risk environments from Alaska to Mississippi to Montana. She has also contributed to guidance and assessments for Montana students suffering from dyslexia.  Middle School Reading Specialist Jeanne Schopf says not all teachers have all the skills needed to teach literacy to a wide variety of learners. The hope is Thompson can help do just that.

Thompson will be conducting her work March 1st, 2nd, and 3rd as she performs an assessment of the district’s students and staff. With that information, she will create new guidance and strategies for teachers moving forward. She will also be coming back in the fall to follow-up on some of the changes that may need to be made and also offering coaching for teachers.

Rotary Shipyard Tours docked until September

Touring the shipyards of Sturgeon Bay will have to wait until September. The Sturgeon Bay Rotary Club announced earlier this month it was postponing its annual May tradition until September 11th due to COVID-19 concerns. It will allow more time for people to get vaccinated before tours of Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding, Centerpoint Yacht Services, and Coast Guard Cutter Mobile takes place. The event is the Rotary Club’s biggest fundraiser and was completely canceled last year due to the pandemic. Keith Mutchler from the Sturgeon Bay Rotary Club hopes it is well worth the wait with the proper procedures in place.

Funds raised during the event help support vocational and academic scholarships and the Rotary International Youth Exchange program. Tickets will be available online beginning in June.

Sturgeon Bay's Linnan area's newest Eagle

Sevastopol freshman and Troop 1022 member Ezra Linnan officially joined the rank of Eagle Scout following his board of review earlier this week. Linnan still had some requirements to finish after he completed his Eagle Scout project back in September. Those included two required merit badges, collecting letters of recommendation, and staying active in his unit for at least six months. Linnan completed the requirements while navigating the challenges of the pandemic. During the Board of Review, Linnan says he enjoyed reflecting on his scouting career in front of the committee.

His Eagle Scout project involved building a 100-foot boardwalk through a section of Crossroads at Big Creek with the help of 45 donors and 25 volunteers. Linnan will formally receive his award at a ceremony in the coming months. While he knows his priorities will change as he goes through high school, but he hopes he stays active in scouting as a youth member and a future adult leader.  

 

Picture from Sean Linnan

Sister Bay considers pro-masking welcome banners

The Village of Sister Bay welcomes visitors any time of the year and village leaders want them to stay safe.  The village's Parks, Properties and Streets Committee on Tuesday approved the concept of placing banners or other signs at highways leading into Sister Bay. They'll have a simple message:  “Our Community.  Our Health.  Our Responsibility. Wear A Mask.”  Village Administrator Beau Bernhoft says it's another way of urging people to come and have fun in a safer and courteous manner.

Several locations were suggested at the meeting.  While the original concept was a banner hanging over a roadway, Parks Manager Dan Lundquist raised a concern about high winds snapping a banner causing it to fall on approaching traffic.  Bernhoft says the type of signage and safety precautions will be addressed before anything is put up. 

The committee wants plans for any type of pro masking signage to be developed and in place by mid-May, just before the summer tourism season begins.  

Firefighters' efforts receive Congressional Record

The Sturgeon Bay Fire Department received special recognition on Friday afternoon for the heroic efforts made containing and extinguishing the Roger Blough freighter's fire on February 1. U.S. Representative for Wisconsin's 8th District Mike Gallagher presented the department with a copy of an entry put into the Congressional Record.  Sturgeon Bay Fire Chief Tim Dietman says his department was honored to receive the recognition.

 

 

Gallagher joined the firefighters on a Roger Blough tour after the presentation at the Sturgeon Bay Fire Department.   The Roger Blough, which is docked at Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding for winter lay-up, caught fire in the early morning of Monday, February 1, and required nearly 12 hours to extinguish the blaze fully. Due to Sturgeon Bay Fire Department's efforts to contain the fire, 70,000 gallons of onboard fuel oil were not discharged into Sturgeon Bay's waters.  

 

 

 

 

Door County registers zero new COVID-19 cases

Door County Public Health reported no new cases of COVID-19 on Friday as testing numbers in the area have reduced greatly.  Four recoveries were noted which brings down the active cases to only 50.  No recent deaths or hospitalizations were reported.   Kewaunee County did not issue an update on Friday with ongoing vaccinations being performed.  The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported 938 positive tests on Friday with 55 hospitalizations and 11 deaths.  The DHS says 213,571 people have now received the second dose of the vaccine.  That represents about 3.7 percent of the state’s population.  

 

Rescheduled public hearing for Dollar General February 25

The proposed Dollar General Store will be the topic of discussion when the Egg Harbor Town Board holds a public hearing later this month. The public hearing, which was postponed last November due to concerns with the coronavirus, will be at 6 pm on Thursday, February 25. A developer and representatives for Dollar General will first present their project. Then, public comments by people wishing to speak will be allowed up to three minutes each. A spokesperson from an opposing group called “Eggs Against Dollar General” will have ten minutes to present their concerns over the development, including a 9,100 square-foot building. Construction of the proposed project would be located at the corner of Highway 42 and Hillside Road. Supervisors will not participate in the public hearing discussion but will be the only people allowed to be physically at the Town Hall due to COVID-19 concerns. Town Clerk and Treasurer Pam Krauel says members of the public can join the meeting via video conferencing or phone. You can find details on how to participate in the public hearing below.

Vaccine supply low as Door County outpaces the state

Despite supply issues for both Door County Public Health and Door County Medical Center, Door County is among the state leaders when it comes to getting its population vaccinated.

 

Over 17 percent of the county’s residents have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and approximately six percent have completed the series. That compares to approximately 10 percent in Kewaunee County getting at least one of the two doses and about four percent completing the series. Approximately 11 percent of the state has received at least one dose.

 

 

The numbers come as Door County Medical Center announced on Friday it was only receiving 100 first doses of the Moderna vaccine, which was far below what they expected.  The hospital has begun contacting those who are affected by the vaccine shortage. Door County Public Health has experienced similar shortages with the Pfizer vaccine and has implemented similar practices. Door County Medical Center President and CEO Brian Stephens says it all comes down to the supply the state receives.

Despite the shortage, those scheduled for their second dose are not affected. It was also announced this week that approximately 178 Wisconsin Walgreens locations, including one in Sturgeon Bay, will receive an allotment of COVID-19 vaccines through the Federal Retail Pharmacy program.

Door County Medical Center adjusts visitor policy

Patients at Door County Medical Center will be allowed a support person with them during their stays.  Effective February 15th, most patients will be allowed to have one support person with them with some restrictions such as staying in a specific area or room and practicing safe mitigation techniques. Pediatric patients will be allowed two parents with them. The change in the no visitor policy that was instituted on October 1st is thanks to falling COVID-19 numbers across the state. Door County Medical Center Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jim Heise says having a support person available for patients is important for the healing process.

Visitors are still not allowed at the skilled nursing facility outside of prearranged courtyard and compassionate care visits. You can find the full policy below.

 

Door County Medical Center Updates No Visitor Policy – Effective Monday, February 15, 2021

 

 

Sturgeon Bay, WI - We know that it is very important for our patients to have support from their loved ones when they receive care at DCMC.   A support person is considered part of the patients care team.  Because of this and the decline in COVID-19 cases, we are updating our restrictions to allow the presence of a support person. 

 

We would like to make it very clear, that although we are making this change, this is not a time to let our guard down and it is of the utmost importance that we remain vigilant when it comes to COVID-19. These changes will go into effect on Monday, February 15, 2021.

 

The following is allowed for support persons per patient care areas:

 

Pediatric patients under the age of 18 may have TWO (2) parents or guardians present who are required to be in the patient room at all times.

 

Emergency department patients may have ONE (1) support person who is required to be in the patient room at all times; extenuating circumstances will be evaluated by that care team.

 

All outpatient services patients (Clinic, Outpatient Medical, Urgent Care, Wound Clinic, Lab, Diagnostic Imaging, Rehab) may have ONE (1) support person with them during a visit/test/procedure who remains in designated area at all times; if patient becomes admitted, rules of that unit then apply. 

 

Patients having surgery may have ONE (1) support person who remains in designated area at all times.

 

Adult inpatients and intensive care patients may have ONE (1) designated support person PER DAY as part of their care team and must stay in the patient room at all times. 

 

Obstetrical patients may have ONE (1) designated support person PER DAY as part of their care team and must stay in the patient room at all times. 

 

All patients nearing end-of-life will have special arrangements made on a case-by-case basis.

 

Skilled Nursing Facility- Visitors/Support Persons to the skilled nursing facility will not be allowed at this time. Prearranged courtyard visits and compassionate care visits are permissible at this time.

 

The support person will be expected to adhere to the following guidelines:

Wear a facemask that covers the nose and mouth at all times; a face shield is NOT acceptable in place of a mask.

Use hand sanitizer to clean hands upon entering DCMC, entering a patient room and prior to exiting a patient room.

Remain in patient room or in space designated by staff.

They may leave the organization and return if they are a support person for a hospitalized patient.

 

Support persons who have any of the following symptoms or are not feeling well will NOT be allowed:

Fever (greater than 100.0 F) or chills

Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath

Cough

Sore throat

Loss of sense of taste or smell

Exposure to a known COVID-19 person in the past 14 days

If the support person had COVID-19 he/she may not come to the hospital until 14 days after onset of symptoms or positive COVID-19 test AND at least 24 hours fever free with improvement in symptoms

 

Note: stating that one has received COVID-19 vaccination or has a history of COVID-19 recovery does not exempt a support person from following the guidelines.

 

If additional family members have concerns or questions, they can call DCMC; we know how important it is for our patients to connect with their loved ones during times of need. In an effort to minimize interruptions to bedside caregivers, we do ask each patient to designate one individual who can serve as the spokesperson to their friends/family. This individual will be able to be the support person or call the nurse and receive detailed updates on the patient’s status.   

 

We do encourage loved ones to call their patient’s room for a telephone visit, use cell phones to text, call or video chat with them.

Cold weather forces event cancellations, emergency order

The recent stretch of cold weather has forced event cancellations and even inspired a state of emergency declaration on Thursday.

 

Governor Tony Evers announced the energy emergency on Thursday afternoon in response to limited deliveries of petroleum and propane products shipped by truck, barge, and rail. The cold temperatures have caused the demand for propane and petroleum products to skyrocket, and the order allows a 30-day waiver to allow suppliers to catch up.

 

The National Weather Service is already predicting wind chill advisories will be issued throughout the weekend with temperatures dipping to 15 to 33 below through Monday morning.

 

As a result, events like this weekend’s Candlelight Ski at Crossroads at Big Creek have either been canceled or postponed. We will update our cancellations page throughout the weekend if other events are postponed or canceled.

Sunshine House searching for new CEO

The Sunshine House in Sturgeon Bay will be looking for a new Chief Executive Director.  Randy Morrow, who is staying in the area, left the position in January to accept a developer position with a major manufacturer based out of Michigan.  Director of Business Development Jeremy Paszczak, who credits Morrow for being a great organizational leader during a difficult year in 2020, shares how the organization's Board of Directors is moving forward.

 

 

Paszczak added that the Sunshine House employs about 40 people and has approximately 70 clients.  Sunshine Resources of Door County's mission is to achieve full participation in society for people with special needs. 

New COVID-19 cases continue to dwindle

The Kewaunee County Public Health Department reported an increase of four new COVID-19 positive tests and added 10 additional recoveries, which brings active cases down to 26.  Over 2100 residents in Kewaunee County have received their first dose of the vaccine, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health.

 

Door County’s eight new positive cases were offset by the eight recoveries reported. The state shows over 4,600 Door County residents have received a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

 

The state reported 52 hospitalizations with 11 deaths on Thursday.  

 

 

 

Door County cancels remaining National Guard testing clinics

The Wisconsin National Guard will not host COVID-19 testing clinics in Door County for the foreseeable future. The county announced on Thursday it was canceling its remaining drive-thru clinic days of February 22nd, March 1st, and March 8th due to a drop in demand for the service. According to the Wisconsin National Guard, it has collected 120 specimens in Sister Bay and 150 in Sturgeon Bay as of February 8th. It follows a statewide trend that has seen a decrease in testing and in positive cases.

 

The Wisconsin National Guard’s orders for the testing clinics are set to expire on March 8th in which case Kane says they could transition to vaccine distribution or bounce back to more testing clinics. Door County Medical Center will continue to offer COVID-19 testing Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

 

Northern Sky Theater embracing the unknown

The status of the 2021 summer season is still unknown at this point for Northern Sky Theater. The organization is hamstrung by capacity limits set by the state and the Department of Natural Resources for shows at both its outdoor stage at Peninsula State Park and inside the Gould Theater at its campus in Fish Creek. The actor’s union it relies on for performers is also not allowing in-person performances of musical yet either. Like other performing arts organizations, Northern Sky Theater has been forced to embrace its virtual offerings. Feedback for its first-ever winter season has been great according to artistic director Jeffrey Herbst as they have been able to showcase some concerts and other offerings for fans virtually. He adds the creative process has changed for the better because of the pandemic.

Herbst says they are still brainstorming some ideas for the upcoming year that would allow them to perform this summer like concert shows and new material written for the moment with today’s safety protocols in mind. Its virtual season continues on Sunday with Sweet Songs for Valentine’s Day.

 

Picture courtesy of Northern Sky Theater

Minor injury in roundabout crash

An Egg Harbor woman suffered minor injuries Wednesday evening after her vehicle was struck going through a roundabout in the Town of Sevastopol.

 

April Moeller was driving north on State Highway 42/57 just after 5 p.m. when a minivan struck her as it was traveling west from Egg Harbor Road through the roundabout. Moeller was treated on the scene by Door County Emergency Medical Services for minor injuries. The other driver, Nichole Serrahn of Sturgeon Bay, suffered no injuries, but her vehicle had to be towed because of the damage it sustained. No citations were issued.  The police report filed by the Sturgeon Bay Police Department listed the driver's actions as following too closely and traveling too fast for conditions.

 

It was the second incident at that specific roundabout in as many days after a minor accident on Tuesday was reported to the Door County Sheriff’s Department a day later.

 

A previous version of this story listed Serrahn as getting cited for following too closely and traveling too fast for conditions. These were just the driver's actions listed in the report and she was not cited in the accident. DoorCountyDailyNews.com regrets this error.

Algoma infant death under investigation

The death of a seven-month girl is under investigation by the Algoma Police Department. Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski responded to a request from DoorCountyDailyNews.com for more information, saying that dispatch received the initial call on Tuesday and sent officers and rescue teams. Algoma Police Chief Randy Remiker said on Thursday the case is still under investigation and they will release more information about the incident upon its conclusion.

Over 230 vaccinated as positive COVID-19 cases continue decline

Despite one new death, a positive trend in Door and Kewaunee counties continued on Wednesday as more recoveries than positive tests were reported and additional people were able to get vaccinated.

 

The Kewaunee County Public Health Department reported an increase of six new positive tests since they last reported numbers on Monday and added 10 additional recoveries. Fifty-three Kewaunee County residents received a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services on Wednesday.

 

Door County reported one additional death and six new positive cases since Monday. It also added 28 recoveries to its rolls. The state shows an additional 184 Door County residents have received a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Bruemmer Park Zoo moving ahead with pheasant exhibit

A unique pheasant exhibit can move ahead at the Bruemmer Park Zoo in Kewaunee thanks to a major donation.  Steve Bruemmer, whose family helped establish the zoo in 1936, is donating $100,000 for the new pheasant enclosure.  David Myers, Kewaunee County Promotions & Recreation Director, says that now allows the zoo to move the project into the design stage.

Myers says the county can also start envisioning the final form of such a unique exhibit,

Myers hopes the Bruemmer Park Zoo pheasant enclosure can open next year.

Decision to return to classroom carries weight

Even with all eight school districts in Door and Kewaunee counties allowing for at least some in-person learning for the last month, some families and students are sticking with remote instruction.

 

Local school districts allowed families to keep their learning virtually if they chose to for the academic year. Kewaunee, Sevastopol, and Gibraltar have used models during the year that has limited the number of students in the building at one time with students learning virtually the days they were not in the classroom.

 

The percentage of students opting to stick to virtual learning entirely varies from district to district and from grade to grade. Sevastopol Elementary School Principal Aaron Hilts says about seven percent of his students have remained virtual this year while Gibraltar Secondary School Principal Gereon Methner says some grades saw up to 25 percent of their kids not return to the building when they reopened their doors on January 11th.

 

The reasons could vary as well. While some families worried about the health of loved ones, Sevastopol senior Zoe Kuehn says she wanted to stay in virtual learning so she could give herself the best chance of having a full basketball season. When her team was quarantined at the beginning of December, Kuehn was worried for her teammates and their families. Staying at home during her final year of high school involved some long family talks, but ultimately she believes she made the right decision.

Sturgeon Bay School District Superintendent Dan Tjernagel said earlier this year that as circumstances and conditions have changed, students that started the year remotely have made their way back into the classroom. Southern Door School District went as far as developing a program to help those students interested in returning to in-person classes to transition back slowly. You can hear the rest of Kuehn’s story online at NEWRadioSportsNetwork.com.

Farmers protecting livestock during cold snap

As the arctic blast continues this week, local dairy farmers are taking extra precautions to take care of their livestock.  Extreme cold temperatures and wind chills in Door and Kewaunee County have led the agricultural community to monitor their dairy herd more often to keep production consistent.  In Brussels, Jim Wautier of Church Site Farm says providing an excellent dry shelter from the wind and ample feed for the livestock is crucial.

 

 

Animals’ water consumption increases because of elevated metabolic rates necessary to maintain warmth.  Wautier says Church Site Farm uses shredded, large bales of straw and corn stalk for bedding to keep livestock more comfortable in colder temperatures.  He adds that the current price of milk has been holding steady, and dairy farmers should be alright as long as the prices don’t suddenly drop significantly.

Local bakeries prepare for Fat Tuesday and Paczki rush

The Lenten season begins next Wednesday, but local bakeries are already gearing up for "Fat Tuesday," a carnival celebration associated with Mardi Gras. A polish donut, called paczki, is a popular indulgence before Lent.  Alex Stodola from Stodola IGA in Luxemburg says the paczki tradition in the area has grown over the years.

 

 

Stodola adds that the calendar lines up perfectly this year for those with a sweet tooth, since Valentine's Day is this Sunday.  He says Valentine displays at the front of the store will switch over to Paczkis for Fat Tuesday right after the weekend.  Paczkis are made from especially rich dough that contains eggs, fats, sugar, yeast, and milk featuring fruit and cream fillings. Fat Tuesday always falls on the 47th day before Easter.

New Sheriff's Deputies get official induction

The Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department officially welcomed three new deputies to duty on Tuesday along with new Chief Deputy Jason Veeser in a long-overdue ceremony.  Due to COVID-19 precautions, the original tradition was delayed until Tuesday. The three deputies, Logan Hermans, Brandon Deprey, and Hailee Wolf, were sworn in by Sheriff Matt Joski, while Judge Keith Mehn had the honors of swearing in Chief Deputy Veeser.  Sheriff Joski says it was nice to have the formal ceremony done in the courtroom again after waiting nearly a year.

 

 

Joski adds that it is encouraging to see young men and women step up to serve their communities with the challenges being faced by law enforcement today.

 

(photo courtesy of Kewaunee County Sheriff's Department) 

Schmelzer returns home for DCEDC position

The Door County Economic Development Corporation announced Monday the addition of Julie Schmelzer as the new Director of Business Development.  Schmelzer has over 30 years of experience in community development and public administration.  She has a strong background in tourism and has worked for counties in Wisconsin and Oregon.  Returning to her roots in the new career opportunity area, Schmelzer is thrilled to have the chance to make a difference.   She says the local business community has significantly developed in recent years up and down the peninsula.

 

 

Schmelzer’s new responsibilities at the DCEDC will include overseeing Revolving Loan Fund programs, existing business programs, and small business support efforts throughout Door County.

Nelson named new KCEDC Director

The Kewaunee County Economic Development Corporation announced Ben Nelson's hiring as the next Executive Director of the organization. Nelson has owned two private businesses, including Radix Leadership in Kewaunee, and was the Door County Parks Superintendent in 2018. KCEDC Board Chair Amber Hewett says Nelson's experience was a key decision in the hiring process.

 

 

 Nelson shares the most exciting part of taking over the KCEDC's leadership role.

 

 

Nelson started his new position on Monday and will be taking over from Hewett, who has served as the KCEDC's Interim Executive Director since October of 2020.  

Sevastopol School Board member elected WASB president

The Wisconsin Association of School Boards announced this week that Sue Todey, of the Sevastopol School Board, was recently elected as president of their Board of Directors.  Serving on the Executive Committee, Todey has been on the Sevastopol School Board for 14 years and says she is very humbled and honored to be elected president of the WASB.  She says her new position has many responsibilities but helping the 36 school districts in this region navigate the current COVID-19 challenges is a priority.

 

 

Todey has been involved in education for her entire life as a teacher, school counselor, central office administrator, university ad hoc instructor, and DPI education consultant.  She will serve a one-year term as a WASB president.  The Wisconsin Association of School Boards is a nonprofit organization that provides information and services to Wisconsin school boards in school law, policymaking, legislation, and leadership development. 

 

 

Area counties see high sales tax revenues

You can partly thank the pandemic for area counties enjoying some of the highest sales tax revenues they have ever seen. Door and Kewaunee counties experienced record sales tax revenues in 2020. Door County collected over $4.4 million in sales taxes while Kewaunee County was around $1.3 million. Sales and use tax revenues went up 2.5 percent in 2020. Door County Administrator Ken Pabich believes people staying at home or traveling close to home for the reason why those numbers went up over the last year. He says they originally expected to see a 10 to 12 percent loss in sales tax revenue.

Pabich says the surplus money collected will be applied to the 2022 budget. The Kewaunee County Finance Committee unanimously recommended on Friday that the county board extends its 0.5 percent sales tax. It could have sunset or repealed at the end of the year.

Second dose supply more certain than initial vaccination

The Door County Public Health Department is feeling confident it will be able to keep up with the demand for second doses of the COVID-19 vaccinations. Its most recent allotment of Pfizer vaccines stands at 200 first and 120 second doses. Health department officials are already whittling down the over 1,200-person waiting list for the first doses of the vaccine. Door County Health and Human Services Director Joe Krebsbach says with an expected 20 percent increase in the number of doses the state is receiving, he believes things are moving in the right direction.

Last week, Door County Public Health was forced to cancel all of its first dose appointments due to uncertainty in the vaccine supply. Appointments for second doses are still on as scheduled. Krebsbach added that the department will contact you when your time has come and there will be no appointment scheduling until they are able to work through their waitlist. Door County Public Health has administered 916 vaccinations since they started. In total, 3,979 residents in Door County and 2,536 in Kewaunee Counties have been vaccinated for COVID-19.

Sturgeon Bay consolidates voting locations for spring primary

Every voter in Sturgeon Bay will cast ballots at the same place for next week’s spring primary. The city announced on Tuesday it was consolidating its Election Day operations to just one location at the former Jaycee clubhouse that now houses PATH of Door County. City Clerk Stephanie Reinhardt says a construction project at city hall and the lack of contested elections contributed to the decision.

In-person absentee voting has been going on for over a week and will continue through the end of this week. Reinhardt says however that only a few people have taken advantage of the opportunity. She also emphasized that this arrangement is only for the spring primary. The region does have its share of contested primaries including races for the Gibraltar School Board and Kewaunee City Council. The spring primary is set for February 16th.

Limited snowmobile opportunities available locally

Despite last week’s snowstorm, snowmobiling opportunities are hard to find in Door and Kewaunee counties.

 

Only Door County’s north and southeast zone are currently open with some restrictions. In the southeast zone, trails are closed north of the campground due to logging operations at Potawatomi State Park. Open water in the Ephraim-Gibraltar Swamp has closed that section of the north zone. Trail conditions for both areas are currently listed as poor due to limited grooming and snow cover.

 

Kewaunee County’s trails remain closed as of Tuesday morning. The Kewaunee Moonriders reported on Friday that they had some thin spots on their trails.

 

 

The weather forecast is calling for some amounts of accumulation on Saturday and Sunday before temperatures start to climb next week.

 

Picture courtesy of Pixabay

Recoveries more than double new cases

The number of coronavirus recoveries in the area was more than twice the confirmed positive tests that were reported on Monday.  Door County Public Health disclosed seven additional confirmed COVID-19 cases while 36 recoveries were noted since Friday causing active cases to fall significantly. Door County did not report any new hospitalizations or deaths over the weekend.   

Kewaunee County reported nine positive tests for coronavirus since Friday with 19 recoveries. The number of active cases decreased by ten and now stands at 32.  No one is currently hospitalized from Kewaunee County for COVID-19 at this time and no deaths were reported.

 The Wisconsin Department of Health Services confirmed 543 positive tests on Monday with 34 more hospitalizations and one death.  The positive tests were the lowest number reported since last August. 

 

 

Evers legal cannabis plan supported

Governor Tony Evers' plan to allow medical and recreational marijuana sales as part of the upcoming budget proposal has support in Door County.  Governor Evers' plan for the 2021-2023 budget would allow Wisconsin residents to possess no more than two ounces of cannabis and six plants for personal use.  Marijuana for such sales would be grown in Wisconsin and would be regulated and taxed like alcoholic beverages.  Sales would also be banned to minors.  Medical sales would be exempt from retail taxes.  Sturgeon Bay City Council member Seth Wiederanders, a long-time supporter of legalizing cannabis, believes Evers' proposal is very comprehensive.
 



It's estimated that legal cannabis sales could generate $165-million in tax revenue in the first year of operation.  The proposal calls for $30-million to go to a Community Reinvestment fund.  That would provide equity grants from the Department of Health Services, the Department of Administration, and the Department of Children and Families.  Another $5-million would be used for equity grants to underserved communities through the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.  Some $34-million would go be used as sparsity aid to smaller, rural school districts.  The remaining monies would go to Wisconsin's general fund.  Door County District 6 Supervisor Megan Lundahl agrees with targeting revenue for specific needs and aiding people with medical issues.
 



Under Evers proposal, no marijuana would be imported from other states for sale in Wisconsin.

Door/Kewaunee Legislative Days taking place virtually

Delegates for Door/Kewaunee Legislative Days will not be traveling to Madison this year due to COVID-19 precaution. The biennial trip provides time for local residents to discuss the issues prevalent to Door/Kewaunee counties with members of the Wisconsin Legislature and state agency officials. Instead of holding it in-person, the event will take place over the computer with small delegate teams meeting with state officials virtually during the first or second week of April. Speaking last month, UW Extension Area 12 Program Director Judy Knudsen said it is important for residents to still get their voices heard.

People interested in becoming a delegate for this Door/Kewaunee Legislative Days have until Friday to register. Two community input sessions are also being planned for February 17th at 6 p.m. and February 18th and 9 a.m. with links being posted on the Door/Kewaunee Legislative Days’ website.

Ag professionals applaud budget

A planned $43 million investment in the state’s agriculture economy and farm families has received rave reviews from local industry leaders. Governor Tony Evers announced that portion of his proposed 2021-2023 budget last Friday. The goals of the proposal are to expand local and international market opportunities, bolster local meat processing, promote agricultural innovation and farmer-led conservation, and support farmers’ mental health and well-being. Kewaunee County UW-Extension Agriculture Agent Aerica Bjurstrom says the efforts are good news for local dairy farmers.

Bjurstrom says even though the stigma around a farmer’s mental health is lessening, she is happy more support will be provided.

The Dairy Business Association also applauded the proposal last week, citing increased support for producer-led watershed grants and additional UW-Extension specialists as being among the things that are critically important for the state’s farmers.  

 

Picture courtesy of UW-Extension

Firefighters brave the cold for chimney fire

Southern Door Fire Department responded to the county’s second reported chimney fire in as many days on Sunday afternoon. Just before 5 p.m., crews were dispatched to a home on Park Drive in the town of Nasewaupee where flames and smoke were seen coming out of the chimney. Within an hour, firefighters had the fire extinguished and the chimney cleaned out to hopefully prevent another blaze from occurring. Southern Door Fire Chief Randy Massart says one other challenge crews faced on Sunday aside from the fire itself was the cold weather, which featured wind-chills well below zero degrees.

Other than a little smoke in the home, there was no damage and no injuries to report. Massart encourages residents to do the little things to help prevent fires from occurring in their chimneys such as keeping them clean and not burn green wood. On Saturday fire departments in northern Door County responded to a chimney fire in the Town of Gibraltar that later spread to the home’s roofline.

Candlelight Ski event at Crossroads UPDATE: cancelled

If Mother Nature cooperates, a Candlelight Ski and Snowshoe event will take place on Friday at the Crossroads at Big Creek Main Campus in Sturgeon Bay.  Program Director and Naturalist Coggin Herringa says the plan is to offer a candlelight hike if there is not enough snow to ski.  She says the luminaries that border the trails offer a magical and memorable experience.

 

 

The Candlelight Ski and Snowshoe event at Crossroads is contingent on safe skiing or hiking conditions.  Herringa says anyone interested in attending Friday night's free event from 6:00 until 8:00 should check the Crossroads at Big Creek website for updated information on the status of the activity.  All trails are open and free to the public at Crossroads, but walkers are asked to use the multi-use trails only as ski trails are rolled and tracked for cross-country skiing.  

 

(photo submitted)

Mayor's article featured in state magazine

The City of Sturgeon Bay was recently featured in a state publication for its 2020 economic development efforts.  Sturgeon Bay Mayor David Ward authored the article in the League of Wisconsin's Municipalities' "The Municipality" magazine.  He credits good partnerships with Door County organizations that help to deal with problems larger than what a local government's capacity is to solve them. Destination Sturgeon Bay, Destination Door County, and Door County Economic Development Corporation were instrumental in making the best out of a difficult situation during a tourist season impacted by the pandemic.

 

 

The featured article also highlighted the city's actions during the health emergency last year.  The managing of local elections and the securing of funds for development projects in Sturgeon Bay were vital. You can read Mayor Ward's article titled "Economic Development During and After the Pandemic" here.

Keys to managing stress during pandemic – Mental Health Minute

Sturgeon Bay psychologist Dr. Dennis White says developing self-care skills can help you overcome the fear, anxiety, and even anger associated with the current pandemic. Coping mechanisms can help with the overwhelming feelings felt during a prolonged health crisis. Dr. White says when experiencing stress a “fight or flight” risk response can be triggered. Anger or anxiety symptoms can cause people not to think clearly and act out more. Dr. White shares techniques that can help alleviate stresses and prevent outbursts or irrational thinking.

 

 

 Dr. White adds that fear and anger are understandable at times, but how we deal with them is the key. You can listen to the entire Mental Health Minute with Dr. Dennis White below.

 

  

Golden Eagle newest resident at Open Door Bird Sanctuary

The Open Door Bird Sanctuary is looking forward to introducing its newest bird, a Golden Eagle. They will make the first public introduction during their annual winter open days on Saturday, February 13th, and March 13th. The new bird will join a variety of birds as it makes the sanctuary it's home. Some of their other birds include a peregrine falcon, a turkey vulture, red-tailed hawks, and an assortment of owls. Interested people can see these creatures during a private visit described by Rob Hults, the executive director of the sanctuary.

 

 

 

On these private tours, people will be able to see the Open Door Bird Sanctuary's variety of raptors, as well as the new Golden Eagle.  The Sanctuary is located off of County I near Jacksonport. 

 

Photo Submitted by Rob Hults

Demand strong for marina slips in Door County

Interest in boating around Door County is strong based on the demand for marina slips for the 2021 tourism season.  That follows an equally busy year in 2020. Some marina managers believe that's due to people wanting to escape from last winter's COVID-19 restrictions.  Some boaters are taking no chances.  Sturgeon Bay Public Works Director Mike Barker says the city-owned Stone Harbor Marina remains very popular with seasonal boaters.  That means daily visitors have to find other options.
 



Seasonal boaters may have better luck at other Door County marinas.  Though Jewel Peterson Ouradnik, who manages the state-owned Rowleys Bay Marina, says supply and demand will determine how many daily slips will be available.
 



Daily traffic at area boat launches is also expected to be brisk this summer.  Some marina managers say used boats are selling almost as quickly as they're put on the market.

 

 

(photo of Sturgeon Bay's Stone Harbor Marina courtesy of Stone Harbor Resort)

Caring for pets during extreme cold

As the winter's first arctic cold blast continues through this week, a local veterinarian reminds us that humans are not the only ones affected by frostbite. Your four-legged furry friends are susceptible as well. Dr. Jordan Kobilca of the Door County Veterinary Hospital recommends using common sense when it comes to letting your dog outside during extremely cold weather conditions.

 

 

Even if your dog has thick fur, they can develop frostbite on the tip of their ears, tail, or toes. Dr. Kobilca recommends checking your dog's paws and underbelly for ice and any salt chemicals after coming back inside. You can find tips on care for your pet during the winter at DoorCountyDailyNews.com.

Committee evaluates wildlife damage claims Tuesday

The Kewaunee County Land and Water Conservation Committee will review the area’s wildlife damage in 2020 when it meets on Tuesday. The annual review is part of the Wisconsin Damage Abatement and Claims Program, which awards farmers prevention assistance and partial compensation when animals like deer and geese harm fields and crops. In 2018, two claims of damage from deer and turkeys accounted for over $9,000 in damage. Kewaunee County Land and Water Conservation Committee Chairperson Chuck Wagner says the area’s overpopulation of deer combined with strong yields from farmers could amount to more damage being claimed this year.

The committee will weigh in on the claims during the meeting on Tuesday at the Luxemburg Expo Center at 8:15 a.m. Wagner says the committee will also discuss a number of water quality bills waiting to be approved by the state legislature. He also plans on saying something in honor of the late Joe Musial, a frequent attendant of the committee meetings and a strong advocate for the health of the East Twin River.

Chimney fire spreads to roof at Gibraltar home

What seemed to be a small chimney fire at a Gibraltar home Saturday morning could have been a lot worse after further review.

 

Gibraltar Fire and Rescue and some of its Mid-Door partners were called to the scene along  Gibraltar Road at approximately 9:40 a.m. Smoke rose from the chimney but no flames were found. Shortly after Gibraltar Fire called on its northern mutual aid partners, crews found the fire had spread to the roofline and additional assistance was called. With the help of the fire departments of Ephraim, Baileys Harbor, Sister Bay/Liberty Grove, Egg Harbor, Jacksonport, and Sturgeon Bay, the fire was under control by 11 a.m. and the scene was cleared around the noon hour.

 

There were no injuries and the exact cause of the fire has not been determined. Door County Emergency Services, Door County 911 Communications Center, Door County Highway Department, and WPS also provided assistance on the call.

Farmers to Families food distributions resume

The Farmers to Families food program is returning to help anyone keep their pantries stocked.  The program, sponsored by the Door County Food Pantry Coalition, Feeding America, and the USDA is scheduled for February 12th.  It's open to anyone regardless of income level on a first-come-first-served basis.  Amy Kohnle, Executive Director of the United Way of Door County, says this event will be able to serve more people than the last one just over a month ago.


Kohnle says recipients will be required to follow some guidelines when they pick up food boxes.


Farmers to Families food boxes will be distributed starting at 4:30 PM at the Door County Fairgrounds on N. 14th Avenue in Sturgeon Bay.  Another event will be held from 4:30 PM-6:00 PM at the Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Department on Mill Road in Sister Bay.

Area youth scout on

The pandemic may keep some members meeting virtually until the weather warms, but area Scouts USA and Cub Scouts units are continuing to find ways to make an impact. The Voyageur District of Bay-Lakes Council BSA encompasses Brown, Door, and Kewaunee counties and had 54 kids reach the rank of Eagle Scout in a pandemic-riddled 2020, which was the same number earning the award in 2019. One of those earning their Eagle Scout rank was Nickolas Smith of Troop 1140 in Brussels, who received an Assembly citation earlier this year recognizing the achievement. Scouts in the region also provided over 8,500 service hours. Voyageur District Director Bobbi Gordon says the numbers serve as a good example of how scouts have been able to overcome the challenges the pandemic has thrown their way.  

Voyageur District had to postpone its first event in close to four months due to the cold temperatures this weekend, but they plan on hosting their Winter Rendezvous on February 20th at Green Isle Park in Allouez. Gordon is hopeful when warmer temperatures return that many of their scouts and leaders will be able to meet again in person.

 

Picture courtesy of Southern Door School Districy

 

 

Region welcomes cold snap

Temperatures are not expected to reach double digits until possibly Wednesday after the area received a blast of arctic air heading into Saturday morning. Overnight lows are not expected to climb above zero degrees until Friday. It is a welcome sight for ice fishing charters looking for safer spots to catch a fish and other outdoor enthusiasts hoping the snow sticks around. There are some side effects to the arctic blast, especially if it lasts a long time. The extended period of cold temperatures could cause issues for your heating units, especially if they have not been maintained properly and their filters have not been cleaned. Jeff Blemke from Ultimate Air of Luxemburg says keeping your home off of a programmed setting and at a consistent temperature could save your unit in the long run.

Because of the recent snowstorm and accompanying high winds, Blemke reminds homeowners to keep their vent pipes clean to keep your unit running efficiently and to prevent carbon monoxide build-up. Outdoor enthusiasts should also make sure they bundle up to prevent frostbite, hypothermia, and other cold-related issues.

PFLAG applauds Buttigieg cabinet confirmation

Members of the LGBTQ community of Door County call the confirmation of Pete Buttigieg as U.S. Secretary of Transportation a big step forward.  Buttigieg, the former Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and a 2020 candidate for the Democratic Presidential nomination became the first openly gay federal cabinet member after federal confirmation of his nomination.  Beth Mitchell, the President of PFLAG Door County, says Buttigieg's nomination breaks down another barrier for gay, lesbian and transgender residents.


Buttigieg is a U.S. Navy veteran who served in Afghanistan during his first term as mayor.  He came out as gay during his second-term.

YMCA to host virtual community breakfast

A popular Door County YMCA event will be taking place virtually this year.

 

The annual community breakfast on February 11th will take place online this year due to the pandemic. Viewers will be able to enjoy breakfast from the comforts of their own home while hearing comments from Door County YMCA Board President Mike Felhofer, its new CEO Heidi Erickson, and Sturgeon Bay Facility Member Steve Graf. The annual community breakfast will start on the Door County YMCA’s Facebook page and website at 9 a.m.

 

You can hear more updates from the Door County YMCA below.

 

 

COVID-19 recoveries outpace new cases

The promising sign of those recovering from the coronavirus in the area continued on Friday as recoveries outnumbered the positive tests.

 
On Friday, Door County Public Health disclosed six additional confirmed COVID-19 cases while 16 recoveries were noted. The number of active cases fell seven to 116. Door County did not report any new hospitalizations or deaths this week.

 
Kewaunee County reported six positive tests for coronavirus on Friday with nine recoveries. Active cases dropped to 42. Only one person remains hospitalized for COVID-19 in Kewaunee County, and no deaths were reported this week.

 

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported that COVID-19 deaths surpassed 6,000 on Friday, with 1,000 of those coming in the last month. The DHS also confirmed 750 coronavirus cases and 100 additional hospitalizations for COVID-19 in the state. 

 

 

 

Salvation Army sets record Red Kettle campaign

Restrictions limiting the bell ringing for the Salvation Army of Door County this past holiday season did not stop the organization from collecting a record-setting campaign. The over $105,000 collected was not only the most ever but also topped the state for county-extension units that provide assistance services. Door County Salvation Army Chair Tom Mulinix says community members' generosity was remarkable and will help more people stay in their homes this year.

 

 

Mulinix notes that despite having 25 percent fewer people ringing bells this time, the Salvation Army of Door County was able to raise over $100,000 for the first time. The organization also distributed 250 new coats to local children during the "Coats for Kids" campaign last fall.  

Protecting your child from online predators – Series Part II

A recent arrest in Sturgeon Bay for attempted sex crimes directed at a child has local law enforcement reminding parents of the dangers presented by predators scanning the internet for potential victims.  Sturgeon Bay Police Officer and Digital Forensic Examiner Chad Mielke says parents should talk to their children about the potential dangers they may encounter online.  Having access to your child’s device’s passwords and setting down rules of a smartphone or iPad can be utilized are other safety tips.  He says putting restrictions on your child’s device can be done along with downloading specific filtering software.

 

 

Mielke says many helpful apps can limit the time a mobile device can be online before deactivating it.  One app to be concerned about is Omegle, a free online chat room that does not require any login.  Miekle warns that child predators are in communities everywhere.  He adds that children are online more with virtual learning, so parents should be vigilant in communicating and monitoring their child’s internet activity.  The entire conversation with Officer Mielke can be found on the podcast page here.     

 

Snow days a thing of the past?

Sturgeon Bay School District Superintendent Dan Tjernagel is not quite ready to throw in the towel on the traditional snow day. School districts in Neenah, Stevens Point, and Wauwatosa have replaced their snow days with virtual learning days. Gibraltar Area Schools notified parents on Wednesday ahead of the storm that it would shift to remote learning if the building was closed. Tjernagel says the district has not gone into a deep discussion about the topic but raised the possibility of it during the fall. He believes switching to remote learning would be better for colder stretches of weather when temperatures are unsafe for kids to be out.

Tjernagel says icy roads and cold are a bigger determination for days off from school compared to snow. The switch to virtual learning may be needed next week when overnight lows are expected to be below zero and high temperatures are not expected to reach the double digits.

The Ridges Sanctuary names Reed new Executive Director

The Ridges Sanctuary in Baileys Harbor has named Mike Reed as its new executive director.

 

Reed brings over 30 years of experience to the position, most recently serving as the director of the Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary in Green Bay. During his over 30 years with the organization, Reed helped develop a nature-based four-year-old kindergarten program and grew its summer camp offerings, both of which are things The Ridges Sanctuary has offered in some similar capacity in recent years. He also helped engineer fundraising projects that led to a number of improvements at the Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary including a new addition to its nature center.

 

Board President Linda Brooks lauded Reed’s experience, saying it will “ensure the continued success of The Ridges Sanctuary.”

 

Picture courtesy of Bird City Wisconsin, where he serves on its Board of Directors

Area recovers from first major winter storm

Door County is digging out from its first major winter storm after it dumped several inches of snow. The Door County Sheriff’s Department received eight reports of cars in ditches between the initial start of the storm at 3 p.m. on Thursday until approximately 7 a.m. Friday. The evening winds caused branches to break off and hit power lines in Baileys Harbor and Washington Island prompting fire calls. Baileys Harbor Fire Chief Brian Zak and Washington Island Fire Chief Pete Nehlsen said both incidents were minor and the scenes were cleared quickly. Three of Door County’s four school districts had delayed openings as Door County Highway Department crews tackled town roads beginning at 2 a.m. after working several hours clearing the highway. Door County Highway Commissioner John Kolodziej says he is happy with how his crews responded to the conditions.

Kolodziej reminds motorists to still take it easy on area roadways as crews may still be out clearing off snow and ice. He added the snowpack on some roads may stick around for a while due to extremely cold temperatures over the next week.

Winter weather delays school, knocks out power

The winter storm that swept through the area Thursday evening is causing schools to be delayed and, in one community, the lights to be out.

 

Approximately 185 customers in the city of Kewaunee are without power Friday morning because of the storm. The outage is centered around the area where State Highway 29 and Ellis Street intersect. According to Wisconsin Public Service, crews were on-site and power is expected to be restored during the 6 a.m. hour.

 

The following schools are delayed this morning:

Gibraltar: Delayed 2 hours Today

Kewaunee public-private: Delayed 2 hours Today, No AM pre-K or Early Childhood

Luxemburg-Casco public-private: Opening Late 2 hours Today, No AM pre-K or Early Childhood

Sevastopol public-private: Opening Late 2 hours Today

Southern Door public: Delayed 2 hours Today, No Early Childhood

 

The following services are delayed this morning:

Sunshine House: Two hour delay on bus routes

Door County reports another "zero" for coronavirus cases

Door County Public Health reported no new COVID-19 cases on Thursday for the second time this week.  The other encouraging sign was that the number of active cases continued to drop significantly.  Active cases decreased to 123 with 25 new recoveries noted.  No recent hospitalizations or deaths were reported.

 

Kewaunee County added ten more COVID-19 cases since Tuesday.  Active cases went down nine to 45 with 19 more recoveries reported.  Hospitalizations remained at one with no recent deaths. 

 

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services confirmed 1,518 coronavirus cases on Thursday.  Hospitalizations for COVID-19 in the state went up by 80, and the death toll increased by 41. 

 

 

 

Assembly repeals mask mandate, Gov. Evers issues new order

The State Assembly passed a resolution Thursday that formally repealed Governor Tony Evers’ previous executive order regarding a mask mandate, only to see the Governor issue a new order.  A new COVID-19 public health emergency order, which included the extension of the statewide mask mandate, was issued last month.   

 

District 1 Representative Joel Kitchens was one of four area Republican lawmakers to vote against the repeal.  He says that even though the mandate may be illegal, another alternative is needed before it should be repealed.

 

 

 Kitchens, Rep. Jeffrey Mursau of the 36th District, Rep. David Steffen of the 4th District, and Rep. Ron Tusler from the 3rd District, joined three other Republican legislators to vote against the repeal. 

 

Governor Tony Evers stated he is putting public health before politics when he issued the new Executive Order Thursday still requiring face coverings.  The order is effective immediately and will negate the State Assembly’s repeal of the governor’s previous mask mandate extension last month.  The news release on Thursday by Governor Evers cited a Marquette University Law Poll from last October that showed 72 percent of Wisconsin residents agreed that masks should be required in public places and that support for the mask requirement exceeded 60 percent at that time. 

 

You can read the joint letter sent by the four area Republican legislators and the Governor’s  Executive Order #105 and Emergency Order #1 here.  

 

Assembly Speaker Robin Voss and other Republicans sent a letter to Governor Evers prior to the vote Thursday asking him to bring forward rules on masking for the legislature to review.  The letter reads as follows.  

 

The Wisconsin state law does not allow the Legislature to introduce rules for adoption. Only a governor or their agencies may do that action. We therefore are asking you to please introduce rules to the Legislature for our review that will do the following:

1) Enact reasonable masking requirements in places in Wisconsin that are susceptible to transmission of the virus to those who are especially vulnerable, such as health care facilities, nursing homes, mass transit, state government buildings, assisted living facilities, public schools, universities, and prisons.

2) Allow any private or public entity in the state that would like to require face masking to be allowed to do so on their property.

 

3) Require the Department of Health Services to pay for COVID-19 tests that anyone may take, free of charge, paid for by the state of Wisconsin.

4) The rules would be in place and reviewed by JCRAR every 30 days for any necessary modifications and would stay in place until a majority of eligible Wisconsinites are voluntarily vaccinated.

 

 

Over 60 ice anglers rescued on bay

A crack in the ice that grew to approximately 500 feet wide forced dozens of anglers off the Bay of Green Bay Thursday morning. Crews began arriving at locations near Sherwood Point and Sand Bay shortly after 9 a.m. Within an hour, personnel from the fire departments of Southern Door, Sturgeon Bay, Brussels-Union-Gardner, Jacksonport, Luxemburg, and New Franken, the Brown County Sheriff’s Department, the United States Coast Guard, and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources were on the ice escorting 66 people back to shore. Southern Door Assistant Fire Chief Randy Massart says some anglers did not know there were any issues until helicopters began circling above the ice shanties.

Massart says there are always cracks out on the ice, but Thursday’s high winds made the problems worse. He added they were off the ice after 12:45p.m. There were no injuries and no one fell through the ice.

 

 

PRESS RELEASE-Ice Rescue 

On Thursday, February 4, 2021, at 8:56am, the Door County Sheriff’s Office was notified fishermen who were stranded on the ice in the waters of Green Bay due to pressure cracks that had opened between their location and the shoreline. Deputies were notified of and responded to three separate locations. One location was off of Sherwood Point in the town of Nasewaupee. Another location was in the Sand Bay area in the town of Gardner. The third location was in the Little Harbor area in the town of Sevastopol. 

 

The following agencies responded with personnel and equipment to assist in this operation: Brussels-Union-Gardner (BUG) Fire Department, Luxemburg Fire Department, New Franken Fire Department, Southern Door Fire Department, Sturgeon Bay Fire Department, Door County Emergency Services, Brown County Sheriff’s Office, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Wisconsin State Patrol, United States Coast Guard, and the Door County Sheriff’s Office. 

 

Ice boats from the Brown County Sheriff’s Office, Wisconsin DNR and the U.S. Coast Guard safely extracted 66 stranded fishermen over an approximate 4 hour period. Helicopters from the U.S. Coast Guard also assisted in the operation. Local responders cleared the scenes at 12:48pm. These efforts concluded just prior to a major winter storm entering the area. 

 

The Door County Sheriff’s Office would like to remind all winter sport enthusiasts to always check the local weather conditions before heading out and they should carry a reliable means of communications with them. When venturing onto the ice, no ice is ever 100% safe. Proper attire and safety gear is a must.

 

Prepared by: Chief Deputy Patrick McCarty

 

Authority: Sheriff Tammy Sternard

 

 

 

 

Kewaunee County tackles possible sales tax extension

The Kewaunee County Finance and Public Property Committee will discuss on Friday if the area’s 0.5 percent sales tax will stick around a little longer. The sales tax was approved in 2016 as a way to add some revenue to balance out the county’s rising expenditures and the closure of the Kewaunee Power Plant. According to the resolution, the sales tax is scheduled to sunset December 31st, 2021. The resolution also directs Kewaunee County Clerk Jamie Annoye to provide a certified copy of the resolution before the sales tax is repealed, which means the Kewaunee County Board must come to a decision on it in September. Kewaunee County Finance Chair John Mastalir hopes people are more understanding of why the tax is needed compared to when it was first introduced.

Mastalir added the state’s ability to collect sales tax from online purchases has also been beneficial to Kewaunee County and others. Sixty-eight of the state’s 72 counties collect at least some kind of sales tax separate from the state according to the Wisconsin Department of Revenue. The committee meeting begins at 8 a.m. on Friday at the Kewaunee County Administration Center on the county’s YouTube page.

2021 Peninsula School of Art workshops/events COVID precautions

New studios will allow the Peninsula School of Art in Fish Creek to proceed safely with artist workshops during 2021.  The school had been raising money for a major expansion over the past two years.  School officials decided to do a partial expansion over the winter during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Executive Director Cathy Hoke says the new studios are complete and will allow for a limited number of artists to work safely.


Hoke says despite the larger spaces COVID-19 protocols will still be observed.

The Peninsula School of Art will still host the annual Plein Air Arts Festival July 25-31.  Details on how to hold the event are still being worked out.


A trial run of how to hold artists workshops at the Peninsula Art School will take place on February 6th.  That when the first “Try It” series of the season will offer an introduction to watercolors.

 

Photo courtesy of Peninsula School of Art's website (gallery Chris Bleck)


 

Ice rescue in progress on the bay

Dozens of anglers are being pulled off the ice in the Bay of Green Bay Thursday morning due to unsafe conditions.

 

Emergency personnel from the United States Coast Guard and several different agencies from Brown, Door, and Kewaunee counties began reporting to the scene near Snake Island Road in Sturgeon Bay during the 9 a.m. hour. Reports of a large crack in the ice are the cause of the rescue mission. People were lining Bay Shore Drive near Little Harbor watching the events unfold.

 

We will have more information on this incident as soon as it is available. 

 

 

 

 

Winter storm sets off cancellations

The impending winter storm hitting Door and Kewaunee counties Thursday afternoon is setting off a string of cancellations. Below is a list of what has been reported so far and will be updated as more information is submitted.

 

COMMUNITY SERVICES

Algoma Meals on Wheels Closed Thursday

Kewaunee County Meals on Wheels Closed on Thursday

 

LIBRARY

Kewaunee Public Library closing at 1:30 p.m.

Sturgeon Bay Branch of Door County Library closing at 5 pm Thursday.

 

SCHOOLS

Gibraltar Area School District has canceled all after-school activities, games and practices for tonight.

 

Kewaunee School District is dismissing at 1:30 pm today Thursday, February 4, 2021, due to incoming inclement weather. All after school activities are canceled.

 

SOUTHERN DOOR SCHOOLS WILL DISMISS AT THE REGULAR TIME TODAY, however, due to weather concerns, all after school activities are cancelled. The building will be closed at 4 p.m.


 

 

Kewaunee County CAFO settles wastewater suit

Rolling Hills Dairy in Luxemburg will have to pay $144,000 and construct new runoff controls as a part of a settlement reached with the state in Kewaunee County Circuit Court last week. Announced by State Attorney General Josh Kaul on Wednesday, the Kewaunee County confined animal feeding operation (CAFO) reached the deal to resolve violations of Wisconsin’s wastewater laws. The state alleges Rolling Hills Dairy unlawfully discharged contaminated runoff from its feed storage area at its main dairy near the intersection of County Road AB and State Highway 29 into a tributary that eventually got to the East Twin River twice despite warnings from the Department of Natural Resources. The suit also alleges the dairy did not cooperate with DNR when it came to inspecting its facility to determine where the runoff was coming from and information on what was being done to correct it. Rolling Hills Dairy will also have to install runoff controls at its feed storage areas at its main operation and its heifer facility located nearby. You can read the full decision by clicking this link.

Area municipalities brace for winter storm

With up to eight inches of snow predicted to hit the area over the next two days, local street and highway departments are preparing for snowplowing operations to keep motorists safe. Algoma Municipal Services Director Matt Murphy says the strategy behind snow removal is based on changing weather conditions and a staff ready to go at any given time.

 

 

Murphy states that the challenge of a winter storm hitting during the day is making sure the plow trucks can maneuver through the downtown and around parked vehicles. He recommends that people stay home, if possible, during any major snow event and avoid parking on city streets. The city crews will focus on the main streets during the early stages of a snowstorm and follow up with other roadways towards the weather maker's tail end. Murphy says it is vital to get the snow wholly removed from the streets before the subzero temperatures hit the area this weekend, preventing potentially dangerous icy roadways. 

 

The weather system is canceling or postponing some activities on Thursday,

Algoma Dining-Meals on Wheels: Closed Thursday

Kewaunee Co. Dining-Meals on Wheels: Closed Thursday

 

Active cases continue to lower

Door County saw the trend of recoveries outnumbering positive cases of COVID-19 continue on Wednesday. Positive tests for the coronavirus increased by eight cases, with 19 recoveries noted. The number of active cases dwindled to 148, reflecting a decrease of nine. No additional hospitalizations or deaths were reported in Door County.

 

Kewaunee County Public Health's next COVID-19 update will be Thursday due to ongoing vaccinations.   

Wisconsin Department of Health Services confirmed 1,177 coronavirus cases on Wednesday. Hospitalizations for COVID-19 in the state went up by 94, and 94 deaths were reported.

 

Better coverage coming to Kewaunee County by March's end

The beginning of spring could bring flower blooms and faster Internet speeds for portions of Kewaunee County. Bug Tussel Wireless, which is working with Kewaunee County on its broadband expansion, is expected to be completed with installing its equipment on towers near Casco, West Kewaunee, Algoma, and Luxemburg by the end of March. The company is also working through the hurdles of constructing seven new towers to serve areas like East Krok and Bayview by the end of late summer. Kewaunee County Administrator Scott Feldt says the project continues to move right along.

Feldt hopes that by the end of the project that 88 percent of Kewaunee County will experience stronger Internet coverage. The $2.52 million project is being partly paid for by grants from the Wisconsin Public Service Commission.

SBU looks for nine percent increase

Sturgeon Bay Utilities is looking to increase its electric rates for the first time in close to a decade.

 

The utility notified its customers of its Public Service Commission of Wisconsin application request to raise rates 9.12 percent in its most recent bill mailing.  In the letter signed by Sturgeon Bay Utilities General Manager Jim Stawicki, the adjustment is necessary to cover increased operation and maintenance expenses. Based on the typical residential customer’s monthly bill, the increase will be $6.56.

 

The final impact of the rate increase will not be known until after the PSC issues an order following public hearings in Sturgeon Bay and Madison. The dates for the hearings will be published once they are set.

 

Click here to see the letter sent to SBU customers with their monthly bill

 

Hospital hanging on with vaccination distribution

Over 4,000 Door County residents have been vaccinated for COVID-19 in the last two months, but it is the type of vaccine you may receive that may be slowing you up. Door County Public Health announced earlier this week it would be canceling all of its appointments scheduled through its clinics due to supply shortfalls. Last week the department only received 30 percent of the requested Pfizer vaccine. Meanwhile, Door County Medical Center has been able to vaccinate any eligible person upon request with its allocated Moderna vaccine. Door County Medical Center President and CEO Brian Stephens says it was not until Phase 1B was expanded to include everyone over the age of 65 did the demand exceed the supply they were given. The conditions can change week by week and Stephens believes they have been fortunate.

He adds that next week will be the big test with over 800 people scheduled to get vaccinated for COVID-19 at Door County Medical Center. He advises people playing the odds by scheduling appointments with multiple providers to cancel them once they are chosen to receive the vaccine with one of them. As of February 1st, over 568,000 COVID-19 vaccinations have been administered in Wisconsin since late December.

Scammer using Door County Medical Center phone number

A Scammer is attempting to defraud people by pretending to be connected with Door County Medical Center.  According to the Door County Sheriff’s Department, the caller is trying to sell supplementary insurance to local residents.  The scammer is “ghosting” a phone number that registers as “Door County Hospital” on the Caller ID.  Fortunately, no reports of lost money or personal information have been reported as of Wednesday morning.  The Door County law enforcement has not been able to identify the caller yet, and reminds people to never give out personal information to someone that you do not know or can verify.

On 02/02/2021, the Door County Sheriff’s Office was alerted to fraud attempts made to local citizens by “spoofing” a...

Posted by Door County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Common Council hits the road in quick meeting

It took well under an hour to address the area’s roads for years to come in Sturgeon Bay. The Sturgeon Bay Common Council awarded the concrete replacement project to Martell Construction for $139, 934.40 and the asphalt replacement contract to Northeast Asphalt for $722,053.64. Council members thanked City Engineer Chad Shefchik for getting the bids out early to get competitive pricing and potentially open the door for more projects. After completing work on almost three miles of roads last year, Shefchik says they have been working at a good pace.

The Sturgeon Bay Common Council also followed the recommendation of the Finance/Purchasing and Building Committee approved the city applying for the M-90 Transbay Service Project grant. Sturgeon Bay Mayor David Ward wrote in a letter to the U.S. Department of Transportation says by turning its area waterways into a federal marine highway, not only does it help local companies like Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding but also creates opportunities to limit the wear and tear on the area's roadways.

Teens proactively dealing with dating violence

Help of Door County is getting area youth involved with the FYRE program despite challenges presented with not meeting in person. FYRE, which stands for Forging Youth Relationships and Education, has teens meeting virtually to encourage students to come forward and report teen dating violence. Youth Advocate Karla Romero says the goal is to give young people a voice that is heard. She says this school year has presented unique challenges.

 

 

Typically, Romero would be holding activities and working within the area schools with students. She is now relying on posters and other outlets to get the word out about the FYRE program. One-hour meetings are held every other Wednesday online starting at 5 pm. February is National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.  

Big "zero" in Door County for positive tests

Door County reports zero new cases for the first time in months.  Out of 62 tests performed on Tuesday, no new positive tests were returned to the Door County Health Department. There were 12 Probable cases and one new hospitalization in today's report.    

 

Kewaunee County added five more COVID-19 cases with a positivity rate of just over 30 percent from the 16 test results on Tuesday.  Active cases went down six to 54 with 11 more recoveries reported.  Hospitalizations remained at one with no recent deaths. 

 

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services confirmed 1,095 coronavirus cases on Tuesday.  Hospitalizations for COVID-19 in the state went up by 123, and the death toll increased by 40.  

 

 

 

 

Ag Heritage Farm adds old granary and blacksmith

Big plans are in store for the 1870s circa building that was recently placed in the historic village at the Kewaunee Agricultural Heritage Farm.  Last Wednesday, the building with a blacksmith shop inside made the trek from the Edward Mastalir Farm to the Ag Heritage Center.  Mike Paral, a board member, shares the plans for the old structure that was donated.

 

 

Paral says the building's unique part is the granary's second-story with a blacksmith shop that is brick-lined for fireproofing.  Plans for the building include a blacksmith forge and a wheelwright shop with woodworking tools for early summer demonstrations.  Paral adds that the organization is always looking to add intricate structures to the Ag Heritage Farm’s historical village, including the Franklin Town Hall, a schoolhouse, and a gazebo from the Kewaunee County Courthouse.  

 

 

(photo submitted)

 

Stickers give emergency personnel heads up

Residents can help give emergency personnel like the Door County Sheriff’s Department more information when they approach their homes with just a sticker. The department began distributing the stickers this week as a way to notify emergency personnel about the possible challenges the people inside the home may be facing. The stickers address those suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, live with mental, physical, or developmental disabilities, or live on the autism spectrum. Door County Sheriff’s Department Lt. Brad Shortreed says the information provided by the sticker is useful for first responders.

Residents can pick up the stickers at the Door County Justice Center or by speaking with a patrol deputy.

Sheriff not backing down from jail discussion

Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski says they cannot afford to wait any longer with constructing a new public safety building. A week ago, the Kewaunee County Board voted 11-8 to move forward with phase three of the public safety building project, which will include a new dispatch center and jail. Despite the majority, it was not the two-thirds votes necessary to officially approve it since it affects the budget. Joski says the phase three study is important so they know the flow of the building and have a better idea of how to outfit and staff it.

A similar project stalled over 20 years ago, which something Joski says he does not want to happen again. The topic of entering phase three of the public safety building planning process will appear on the agenda for next month’s Kewaunee County Board meeting.

Ellison Bay looks ahead to next Groundhog Day

They may have seen their shadow on Tuesday, but Ellison Bay residents were not able to see a Groundhog Day Parade in 2021. The small afternoon parade is one of the few in the entire country that celebrates the holiday that either welcomes an early spring or shares the news of six more weeks of winter. Door County North made the decision to cancel the parade due to concerns around COVID-19. While there will be no unique parade floats or costumes marching down Highway 42 this year, Door County North Community Coordinator Mickie Rasch says it was in the best interest of the participants.

Rasch says there is also hope among business owners in the community that it will be an even better year to welcome visitors to the region. Furry weather prognosticators gave mixed signals on Tuesday on whether or not spring is coming early this year. What is certain is the cold temperatures and up to six inches of snow predicted for later this week.

Area COVID-19 recoveries surpass new cases

Door County saw recoveries outnumber positive cases of COVID-19 since Friday. On Monday, Door County Public Health reported 10 new coronavirus cases with 48 recoveries noted.  Active cases decreased by 51 to 172, which is the lowest in several months.  No additional hospitalizations or deaths were reported in Door County.

 

Kewaunee County Public Health disclosed 15 more COVID-19 cases on Monday with 20 new recoveries.  The number of active cases in Kewaunee County went down by five to 60.   The hospitalizations in Kewaunee County decreased by one, with just one person remaining hospitalized and no recent deaths reported.

 

Wisconsin Department of Health Services confirmed 750 coronavirus cases on Monday.   Hospitalizations for COVID-19 in the state went up by 39, and one death was reported.  January was the third deadliest month in Wisconsin since the pandemic began. 

 

 

Door County Health Department cancels all vaccine appointments

Due to challenges with the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, Door County Public Health is canceling all appointments scheduled through its clinics.  According to a news release Monday afternoon, a shortfall of vaccines received the past week and the concern about how long the trend may continue were cited as reasons for the canceling of appointments.  Last week, Door County Public Health was forced to cancel over 300 appointments due to receiving only 30 percent of the requested amount of the Pfizer vaccine.  Human Services Director Joe Krebsbach says preparations were made for about 660 residents to be vaccinated this week, including the rescheduled appointments from last week.  He says the county only received 50 doses of vaccine this week from the state.

 

 

Door County Public Health will continue to monitor the situation week to week.  No future appointments will be scheduled until Door County Public Health knows the number of vaccines they will receive.  Last week the state reported four times more requests for vaccines than the doses they had to administer.  You can read the complete news release from Door County Public Health here.  

Housing, number one priority for Mayor Ward

Sturgeon Bay Mayor David Ward sees affordable housing as a significant focus in 2021 as he approaches the final year of his three-year term in office. Ward says housing is replacing street repairs as the number one issue he wants to address this year. He shares some of the finished and proposed housing projects that will impact the housing market in Sturgeon Bay, including the old Westside School that was recently granted a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) by the Plan Commission.

 

 

Ward says he consistently hears from employers who say that the most significant barrier to hiring people, who need to move to the area, is workforce housing. He is currently serving on a task force associated with a county-wide affordable housing pilot program through the Wisconsin Housing Economic Authority. The hopes are to bring more one-family and multi-family housing to the area.

 

On Tuesday, the Sturgeon Bay Common Council will look to approve contract bids for concrete and asphalt replacement programs at its meeting. A relatively light agenda will begin at 6 pm in the Council Chambers at City Hall.

 

You can listen to the entire conversation with Sturgeon Bay Mayor David Ward on the podcast page here. 

Gibraltar Secondary pushes towards more in-person opportunities

Students at Gibraltar Secondary School in Fish Creek have been back in the classroom for less than a month and principal Gereon Methner is hoping to expand that offering this month. January 11th marked the first-day students were allowed for in-person learning since schools shut down at the beginning of the pandemic last March. Approximately 75 percent of the student population returned to in-person classes while other families chose to stay at home and continue with remote learning. Students in grades sixth, eighth, ninth, and twelfth alternate weeks with kids in seventh, tenth, and eleventh grades. While there have been some challenges, Methner says he believes their mitigation plans have been helped thanks to feedback from parents, staff, and students.

Methner adds they are exploring how to keep their risk mitigation strategies are effective with more people in the building before they increase the amount of in-person learning opportunities. He also praised the students, staff, and families for making the necessary adjustments to stay safe. Currently, the Gibraltar School District dashboard shows two active cases and three in quarantine between the elementary and secondary schools.

No injuries to Blough crew during fire

Firefighters from around the area were at Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding Monday morning to put out a fire on one of the docked ships. At approximately 1:30 a.m. Monday morning, the fire broke out on the motor vessel Roger Blough. Smoke could be seen for hours after the initial call. Firefighters were still on the scene as of 11 a.m. after the fire was put out.  In a statement from the Roger Blough’s operator, Keystone Shipping Company of Bala Cynwyd, Penn., the company announced there were no injuries to the crew and thanked the first responders for their response. They are working with the United States Coast Guard to assess the damage and to determine the cause.

 

The Roger Blough is no stranger to Door County, having docked at the Bay Shipbuilding several times over the years for winter repairs. At least twice it had to make return trips to Sturgeon Bay after repairs according to BoatNerd.com, including in 2016 when it ran aground near the Gros Cap Reef Light off the shores of Ontario. The Roger Blough was also one of the many vessels that went out to search for the Edmund Fitzgerald after it sank in 1975.

 

Contact has been made with Sturgeon Bay Fire Chief Tim Dietman for further information about the incident.

 

Keystone Shipping Statement 

 Bala Cynwyd, PA (February 1, 2021) – At approximately 0130 today, a fire broke out on the motor vessel Roger Blough.  At the time of the incident, the Roger Blough was in winter lay-up at shipyard in Sturgeon bay.   There were no injuries to the crew, and the fire is now out.

 

The Roger Blough is operated by Keystone Shipping Company of Bala Cynwyd, PA.  Representatives from Keystone Shipping are on the scene and are cooperating fully with the United States Coast Guard to assess the damage and to determine the cause.  Keystone Shipping would like to thank the first responders for their hard work and support throughout this incident.

 

Sturgeon Bay Fire Department Press Release

Sturgeon Bay Fire Department responded at 0138 for the report of “Smoke coming from the cabin area of the M/V ROGER BLOUGH”. Upon arrival units found heavy smoke coming from the upper level on the M/V ROGER BLOUGH. All members of the BLOUGH were immediately accounted for along with the adjoin boats. The M/V ROGER BLOUGH is in winter layup and is tied up amongst 3 other boats at Fincantieri Bay Ship, Sturgeon Bay. At this time the fire is under investigation by the Sturgeon Bay Fire Department, United States Coast Guard, and NTSB. Approximately 1.4 million gallons of water were used in the extinguishment. At this time no other information will be released until the invention is complete.
 

Tim Dietman
Sturgeon Bay Fire Department

 

 

 

Football pool turns into charity windfall

A friendly competition picking bowl game winners turned into much-needed funds for local Door County food pantries. Organized by county resident Joe Miller, the latest edition of his annual pick ‘em challenge raised over $6,500 for the Door County Food Pantry Coalition.  Players can donate extra funds as a part of the competition with the proceeds going towards food pantries near the first place finisher. Jim Musiel and Paul Gray of Baileys Harbor finished in first and second place respectively, which led to the donation being made last month. Like many similar football pools, Miller says it allows him to connect with friends he has made across the country. He is proud of the fact it helps local charitable efforts too.

Since his sports pools added the donation feature about five years ago, it has raised over $24,500 for food pantries.

 

Picture and description provided by Joe Miller. Shown in the photo, from left to right, the guy with the youthful good looks & pleasing personality, wearing Brett Favre's #4 is Honest Joe, Next is Teri Berndt, then runner-up Paul Gray of Baileys Harbor, the late Gary Gilroy, Amy Kohnle and the winner Jim Musiel already deep in thought about how to defend his first-place finish.

Fire at Bay Ship

Firefighters from around the area are at Bay Shipbuilding Monday morning to put out a fire on one of the docked ships. WBAY reported the fire started on the Roger Blough early Monday morning. Crews are set up at the Blough and near James Barker and American Century. We will have more details on this as information comes in. 

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