News Archives for 2021-03

Brussels church finishes renovation

St. Francis and St. Mary Parish members will be able to celebrate Holy Week in its newly renovated sanctuary. Services have been held in the church’s basement while the nearly four-month project was underway. The church received new plaster, paint, carpeting, electrical wiring, trim work, and much more. The sanctuary last received this kind of work back in 1989, almost 30 years before Father Edward Looney arrived to be the church’s pastor. Thanks to the generosity of its parishioners, Looney says they were able to celebrate Mass a week earlier than planned and without instituting a capital campaign.

Looney says the feedback has been great after parishioners were able to attend Mass in the renovated sanctuary on Palm Sunday. After celebrating Palm Sunday, St. Francis and St. Mary Parish in Brussels will host Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday services.

Baileys Harbor to decide on purchase of Nelson property

Baileys Harbor residents will decide on April 20th whether or not the town should purchase the land currently housing a former hardware store and motel. Gary Nelson recently approached the Town of Baileys Harbor to purchase the property five years after shutting down the businesses along State Highway 57. The town board voted on March 25th to offer $1.95 million for the properties, which sit along Lake Michigan and includes two boat slips. Town Chair Dave Eliot says the Nelson family is willing to help finance the sale for the first six years because of the recent construction of the new Baileys Harbor Fire Station.

Eliot appreciates Nelson’s love for the community, adding that offers north of $2 million had previously been made.

The sale of the properties depends on the vote of the town’s electors, which will take place on April 20th. As of right now, Eliot says the property will be used as additional public space near its marina until residents can weigh in on other possibilities.

Door County Medical Center expands vaccine offering

Door County Medical Center is now allowing people 18 years of age and older to schedule their COVID-19 vaccine. The news comes one day after Governor Tony Evers announced residents 16 years old and up will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine on April 5th. Outpatient Services Coordinator Michelle Johnson says there is a reason why, at least for now, they will not be able to vaccinate people younger than 18 years old.

People interested in getting the COVID-19 vaccine can schedule their appointment on the Door County Medical Center website. The state also announced earlier this week that CVS would start administering COVID-19 vaccines through the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program, joining select Pick-n-Save, Walgreens, Walmart, and Hometown Pharmacy locations. This week, 648 vaccine doses have been administered in Door County and 316 have been distributed in Kewaunee County. 


Double-digit positive cases in Door County again

Door County saw its third report of double-digit positive COVID-19 test results in a week on Wednesday.  Ten of the 13 tests conducted since Monday came back positive, adding another eight active cases to the county’s rolls. Door County now stands at 115 positive cases. Wisconsin reported 563 new positive tests and 10 additional deaths on Wednesday.

Little changes in fishing this year

With most hunting and fishing licenses expiring on Wednesday, those wanting to use Wisconsin’s fishing waters are buying their licenses for the 2021-2022 fishing season. While the new fishing licenses have been on sale since March 1st, most fishing seasons start up the first weekend of May. With rules always being evaluated, there are some changes. Door County DNR Conservation Warden, Chris Kratcha says the regulation book’s “What’s New” section will show what fishers need to know, but there are a couple changes that will affect fishing in Door County. 

 

This year’s Lake Trout season on Lake Michigan, which runs from March 1st until October 31st, has been changed to a bag limit of two. The season most recently ran year round and had a bag limit of five to include other trout and salmon.

 

 

One point of emphasis for the DNR this year is ending the use of roundgoby, an invasive species, for bait. These small fish can reproduce multiple times in a year and do no favors to the game fish population in the Great Lakes. 

 

 

While data on this year’s fishing license sales is limited, Kratcha expects that license sales will continue to trend upward. 

 

Governor Evers mask mandate overturned

On Wednesday, the Wisconsin Supreme Court voted 4-3 in favor of striking down a mask-mandate issued by Governor Tony Evers. The court ruled that Evers exceeded his authority when issuing the mandate. The Supreme Court opinion proclaimed that a state of emergency shall not exceed 60 days, unless the emergency is extended by joint resolution of the legislature. 


The order was extended on February 4th, and was set to expire on Monday. The court’s decision will not affect local mandates. Shortly after the ruling was passed, Governor Evers tweeted, "Wear a mask. Help save lives."  Justice Brian Hagedorn, Chief Justice Pat Roggensack, Justice Annette Ziegler and Justice Rebecca Bradley were in favor of overturning the mandate. Justice Ann Walsh Bradley, Justice Rebecca Dallet, and Justice Jill Karofsky opposed striking down the mandate.


Sevastopol offering unique production

Sevastopol High School’s drama department will be holding a Spring production, performing the musical “Ernest in Love.” The play will follow the misadventures of best friends Jack and Algernon. The play Director, Amy Ensign said that she chose the production because of its humor, interesting characters, and witty word play. Ensign also added that it has a fantastic script and bubbly score. 

 

The play offers versatility as well. Many of the musical performances are made up of solos or duets, allowing for health protocols to be followed. The show was pre recorded and the video and editing techniques the production team used allowed actors to perform without having to wear a mask. Each actor was filmed by themselves in front of a green screen with their scene partners reading their lines at the back of a room behind a plexiglass wall. The actors will then be put back together through the film editing process. Ensign, who is also the Managing Director at Door Shakespeare, got the influence for the idea from Door Shakespeare doing the same process to produce the play, “The Comedy of Errors.” Neil Brookshire, who edited that play will also be editing the production of “Ernest in Love,” which Ensign believes will help as he comes from an actor’s perspective. 

 

 

The Director is impressed with the students, as she has no doubt that practicing in the makeshift fashion is a challenge. 

 

 

The show will be streamed on April 9 and April 10 at 7 PM and on April 11 at 2 PM.

 

 

 

Southern Door School District has new leader

Southern Door School District School Board President Penny Price announced on Tuesday that Christopher Peterson will be the new District Administrator of the Southern Door School District, beginning July 1st. The appointment is contingent upon finalization of contract details and the transition from his current role. The search has been underway since current District Administrator Patricia Vickman announced her retirement in January. The search process involved highly qualified candidates and an extensive interview process, which involved meeting with an advisory stakeholder panel and interviews with the Board of Education. 

 

Peterson brings a wealth of experience, having spent the last twelve years as the Howards Grove School District Superintendent. Price says that was a big factor in him being selected

 

 

Before that, Peterson began his career in education in 1995 as a third-grade classroom teacher and assistant football and softball coach in the Little Chute Area School District. Peterson has also been a principal at the districts of Wausaukee, Kimberly, and Manitowoc where he was also the district’s summer school coordinator. Peterson attended the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater where he earned his Bachelor’s degree. His Masters of Education Leadership degree is from Marian University and his superintendent certification is from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

 

Sister Bay continues seeking consistency in business development

The Village of Sister Bay is moving forward carefully in defining acceptable short-term housing developments for its business districts.  The Plan Commission met Tuesday in the latest work session to rework the definitions of hotels, motels, and condominiums that could be allowed in the B1, B2, and B3 districts.  Commission Chair Denise Bhirdo says specific definitions of short-term housing are needed to prevent a rash of developments on small parcels of land.

 




Commission member Nate Bell supports a proposal to require any short-term housing project to have a minimum of ten units, and an on-site manager full time.

 



Village Administrator Beau Bernhoft says redefining zoning for short-term housing is time-consuming.  He also says that's necessary to allow for consistency in future developments.
 



The redefinition process for short-term house zoning will continue at future Planning Commission work sessions.


All state residents 16 years and older eligible for vaccine next week

Governor Tony Evers and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services announced Tuesday that everyone age 16 and over in Wisconsin will be eligible for the COVID19 vaccine beginning on April 5th. Governor Evers called it a major milestone in Wisconsin’s fight against the virus. Wisconsin is able to issue this eligibility date four weeks earlier than previously expected. Door County Director of Health and Human Services Joe Krebsbach notes that there has been no clear indication of what this will do for Door County’s current vaccine supply or distribution process.

 

 

Though everyone is eligible beginning April 5, some areas of the state may have a higher demand for vaccinations and may have waitlists. While the news is heading in the right direction, Krebsbach alluded to Door County’s uptick in cases this past week, urging residents to remain vigilant in mitigation practices.

 

 

 In Door County, 41.3% of residents have received at least a dose of the vaccine. In Kewaunee County, 26.5% of residents have received a dose.

Ephraim outlines water pressure tank replacement

The Village of Ephraim is looking to replace the current water pressure tank at the wastewater treatment plant.  A new pressure tank and plumbing lines would cost $9,000.  It would also cost the village $1,000 to have the old tank cut apart and removed.  The village will then face the decision of whether to remove the old tank during or after the installation of the new system.  Ephraim Public Works Supervisor Russ Salfi told the Wastewater Committee on Tuesday that will depend on whether the new water pressure tank system needs to use the space of the existing tank.

Committee member Jim Peterman suggested that the installation of the new water pressure system and the removal of the old tank should be done simultaneously.

Salfi indicated that the public works department will consider options from other companies in determining the most cost-effective way of removing the old water pressure tank.

Organic apple variety to be grown locally

Wood Orchard in Sturgeon Bay could be offering organic apples in the future thanks to the University of Minnesota. The same breeding program that has brought SweeTango and Rave apples to Door County has now created the Triumph apple. Wood Orchard will be planting 1,000 trees of the variety that is hailed as a cross between Honeycrisp and Liberty apples. The apples contain two forms of genetic scab resistance, which means orchard owners like Steve Wood will not have to spray it with pesticides. He says it is good news for apple lovers who want to eat something grown locally and organic.

Wood says you will have to wait possibly four years to get your hands on Triumph apples. They cut the buds off apple trees just as they start to blossom to allow them to mature before allowing them to bear fruit. When the trees are ready in the future, Triumph apples will be available in late September. The University of Minnesota has bred close to 30 different apple varieties.

 

Photo courtesy of University of Minnesota


Shipping company preventing scams

Pack and Ship PLUS in Sturgeon Bay is turning away money in some cases to help customers save some of theirs. Last week, the business stopped an elderly woman from sending $5,000 to a fraudulent person, part of the over $100,000 Pack and Ship PLUS has prevented from making into the hands of scam artists. Owner Julie Henry credits her staff for asking the right questions when it comes to situations that seem a little out of the ordinary. She says she would rather earn the customer’s trust over the long term than the money in the short term.

Henry reminds customers that you should never send cash in the mail and confirm that the person you are sending items to is actually expecting it. The Sturgeon Bay Police Department recognized Pack and Ship PLUS’ efforts with an award last week.

 

 

EXTRA TIPS ON HOW TO KEEP YOURSELF SAFE FROM SCAM ARTISTS

 

Picture courtesy of the Sturgeon Bay Police Department

 

 

Gibraltar brush fire restarts days later

A Monday afternoon brush fire in the Town of Gibraltar was an example of even when you do everything right, something could go wrong. The first crews were notified at approximately 3:30 p.m. of a brush fire located near County Road EE when a loose ember ignited a large pile of leaves. According to Gibraltar Fire and Rescue Deputy Chief Jarred Anderson, the landowners burned brush with a valid permit on Thursday. After it burned down, the landowners buried the embers under a pile of dirt. Anderson believes Monday’s high winds uncovered the embers that would later start 300 cubic yards of dead leaves on fire. Anderson says the landowners did everything right.

Firefighters from Gibraltar, Ephraim, and Baileys Harbor fought the fire for approximately three hours until they knew for certain every ember was out.

 

 

New ag building gets showcased next week

The Luxemburg-Casco High School is hosting a special open house for the new agri-science building next week. School Superintendent Glenn Schlender says FFA members helped organize the event that will showcase small and large animals. The barn-like structure includes an attached greenhouse with plans to add space for hydroponics and aquaponics. Schlender notes that the school and students have been utilizing the facility since the second semester began.

 

 

The agri-science building open house will start at 6 pm on Tuesday, April 6th, with invitations sent out. The event will be streamed online on the school district's Facebook page. 

Active cases surpass 100 again

Door County reported nine positive cases of COVID-19 on Monday bringing the total to 104, which is the first time in several weeks that number has exceeded 100. The positivity rate reflected 16.4 percent of the 55 tests performed since Friday.  Door County did not report any recent deaths or hospitalizations.

 

Kewaunee County Public Health noted on their website last week that they are switching to a weekly COVID-19 case update on Fridays.

 

Governor Tony Evers and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services announced on Monday that one million people in Wisconsin have completed their COVID-19 vaccine series and are now fully vaccinated against the disease.  Over half of people 65 or older in the state are fully vaccinated with nearly three-quarters of them having received the first dose.  

 

More opportunities for COVID-19 vaccinations

Anyone looking to ensure they're vaccinated against COVID-19 before family Easter celebrations will have more opportunities in Door County.  Additional vaccine distributions to Wisconsin have created more openings on Wednesday, March 31st.  Door County Emergency Management Director Dan Kane explains more about a unique opportunity for those who've put off getting vaccinated.

 


COVID-19 vaccination appointments can be booked by logging on here. 

Habitat excited for future projects

Springtime helps grow excitement for the upcoming year of home build and repair projects for Door County Habitat for Humanity. The pandemic delayed their work last year as organizations balanced their mission with safety protocols. The home build project got officially underway in June in Baileys Harbor, which is a couple of months later than usual. Its home repair projects are being considered on a case-by-case basis due to weather and safety concerns. Megan Dietz from Door County Habitat for Humanity says it may still be a while before they are back to full capacity doing indoor repair work.

Dietz is excited for the upcoming announcement of this year’s partner family which would receive the organization’s 44th home. Door County Habitat for Humanity is also recruiting volunteers to help out on the home build project, which will take place in Sturgeon Bay.

Man injured in UTV rollover

One man was injured in a single-UTV accident in the Town of Liberty Grove early Sunday evening. The Door County Sheriff’s Department was dispatched just after 5 p.m. to a private residence on Orchard Drive located south of the village of Sister Bay. Chief Pat McCarty says the two men driving in the UTV took a corner too quickly before rolling over. The passenger stuck his leg out during the rollover and it got pinned underneath the vehicle. He says it is a reminder that UTVs handle differently than automobiles.

McCarty says the passenger was taken to Door County Medical Center for treatment while the driver was uninjured.

 

Picture courtesy of Door County Emergency Services

Door County takes second in Dairy Quiz Bowl

Defending champion Manitowoc proved to be too much for the Door County Dairy Quiz Bowl team over the weekend at the Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center in Newton. The Door County team took second place in the district competition, forcing an extra round against Manitowoc after splitting their first two matches. The annual event had to be pared down to four district competitions ahead of a state showdown due to COVID-19 precautions. The Door County Dairy Quiz Bowl team of Anna Olson, Zach Olson, Chloe LaCrosse, and Madisyn Baudhuin answered questions on a variety of topics such as milk quality, herd health, breeding, genetics, and nutrition. Coach Rich Olson says he is proud of how his team performed.

Olson says the team has practiced around his kitchen table on Sunday nights since around October. Manitowoc and three other counties will now compete for the top prize on April 25th in Marshfield. The competition usually takes place around Christmas and New Year’s Day during the state Junior Holstein Convention.

 

Picture courtesy of Rich Olson

 

Cottage burns in Gardner

A cottage in the Town of Gardner was partially destroyed on Sunday morning due to a fire. The first crews arrived on the scene on Stevenson Pier Road at approximately 11:15 a.m.to the sight of flames coming out of the top of the cottage. They discovered the fire had already vented through the backside of the cottage and made its way through the attic. Brussels-Union-Gardner Fire Chief Curt Vandertie says the owners of the cottage had just been there to drop off items to get it ready for the summer. No exact cause to the fire has been determined, but it is believed that the fire originated in the kitchen. Vandertie credited not just the responding departments but also its newest engine with helping put out the fire quickly on a gusty day.

Vandertie says they were able to put the fire out in approximately 10 minutes due to having adequate help and water. No injuries were reported and the scene was cleared in approximately two hours. The Fire Departments of Southern Door, Sturgeon Bay, Luxemburg, and Casco, Door County Emergency Services, Gardner Emergency Medical Responders, the Door County Sheriff’s Department, and Wisconsin Public Service all assisted with the incident.

 

Picture courtesy of B.U.G. Fire Department

 

 

Future ice cutters benefit from Lake Michigan ice tests

Ice conditions around Chambers Island near Door County provided ideal research opportunities that will benefit the design and construction of the next generation of ice-breaking ships.  The U.S. Coast Guard  Cutter Mackinaw conducted several days of research to test the ship's responses to varying ice conditions on Lake Michigan.  Kristen Serumgaard, Commander of the Mackinaw, says the late-season ice pack was ideal for such testing.


 




Commander Serumgaard says the Mackinaw's rudderless, variable twin-engine response will help with future cutter designs.

 




The cutter Mackinaw conducted those tests just over a week before opening shipping channels on Green Bay and the Sturgeon Bay ship canal.

YMCA gearing up for camp season

As everything inches closer to being normal, the YMCA is getting back to planning for summer camps for kids. Both facilities in Sturgeon Bay and in Fish Creek will be offering chances for youth to get outdoors. Even with limitations, they will still be finding a way to offer a variety of activities from full and half-day camps, swimming lessons, and small field trips. One of the things that Amy Gamble from the YMCA mentions is extra important to the staff is the swimming lessons. 

 

 

Registration for Summer camps is now open. Registration for camp at the Sturgeon Bay and Northern Door YMCA can be found here. 

 

Midsummer's Music Festival adds multiple composers in residence

The Midsummer's Music Festival is proving there can never be too many good performers.  The Sister Bay chamber music venue was searching for a new Composer-In-Residence for 2021.  After receiving 140 applications, the search committee selected three finalists they couldn't turn away.  Now, all three will perform through the Midsummers Music Festival's New Composer Initiative.  Composer and pianist Will Healy will serve as the 2021 Composer-In-Residence.  Artistic Director Jim Berkenstock says the Julliard graduate will bring an urban appeal to classical music lovers.

 




Healy will compose and perform a premier piece during the 2021 season.  The two New Composer Initiative Fellows are Paul Frucht from New York and Quinn Mason from Dallas.  Berkenstock says Midsummer's Music patrons will see them share from their respective repertoires.



 




Midsummer's previous Composer-In-Residence, Jacob Beranek, is graduating from Vanderbilt University.

Soldiers kept in mind this Easter

With local troops in mind Adopt a Soldier Door County sent sixty-six care packages to soldiers living all over the map. Adopt a Soldier Founder Nancy Hutchinson says the organization typically plans to send out approximately one hundred care packages, but at this time of year some soldiers' living arrangements are up in the air. 

 

 

This has been a yearly tradition for Adopt A Soldier since 2008. The organization which centers its mission around building care packages and sending them to soldiers from Door and Kewaunee County typically sends out eight a year for various holidays. Hutchinson says the group has scaled back for this year due to financial constraints. 

 

 

The packing took about two and a half hours and every donation that was sent in was used for the packages.  

 

Kids building resiliency through course

Taekwondo being practiced by some Kewaunee County youth is about more than just getting a good workout. It is part of the COREMatters Project, a 13-week curriculum that teaches kids the importance of being strong, balanced, and flexible. Using taekwondo as a guide, COREMatters helps gets develop respect and resiliency. Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski is helping teach the course this year at St. Paul’s Lutheran School in Luxemburg, which is allowing multiple grades to participate in a safe setting. Whether it is during COREMatters classes or just handling the everyday trials of a pandemic, Joski believes the community underestimates the resiliency of the area’s youth.

The COREMatters Project is also being held at Kewaunee School District this spring in the fall. Joski says the course will then be taught at Luxemburg-Casco School District and a different parochial school this fall. You can read more about the COREMatters Project below.

 

FROM SHERIFF JOSKI

As we wait for the County Board to decide what direction they wish to go in regards to our Jail Facility project, I thought it would be a great time to deviate from that subject to something a bit more thought provoking. Although I didn’t think I would back in the schools teaching CORE Matters yet this school year, I had a request from St. Paul’s in Ellisville, and welcomed the opportunity to share this program with some amazing students. To be able to complete the 13 week course before the school year ends, it will require two classes per week but I am confident that the students are up to the challenge!

 

    

In addition to an emphasis on the Code of Conduct which is a compilation of Character Traits, the focus on Respect is discussed early and often throughout the course. This is very deliberate and based on the golden rule of “Treating others as you would like to be treated” which, if followed every day by people of all ages would result in a much different world than what we are currently experiencing.

      

Another early lesson is asking the students to look inward and answer the question “Who am I?” This is a critical part of building up resiliency in the face of adversity and for many both young and old, a key ingredient to dealing with the bullies we may face throughout our lives. It is a fact that for the bully to exist, they require a victim, and for the victim to exist it requires self doubt and uncertainty as to who we are and what our true value as a person really is. It is in knowing who we are, what our CORE values are, along with knowing what our CORE beliefs are that creates almost a Teflon coating which then gives us the inner strength to resist and repel those verbal attacks. It is only when faced with this type of inner strength that a bully loses their power over another and is truly defeated.

      

Even when faced with incredible tragedy, we can overcome the event by re-assuring ourselves that although the event had impact, it will not define us in a negative way. Even if it leaves physical scars, those scars are superficial and who we are at the CORE remains unscathed. This is not to ignore the tragedy or live in denial, but rather for you to define who you are rather than being negatively defined by some external event.

      

Over the years, I have had the unfortunate duty of informing loved ones of an untimely death of a family member. These are never easy circumstances, but when possible, I try to follow up and share my approach to tragedy which is as follows. You can never again be the person you were before I gave you the news. You have only two paths to take, the first is to allow this event to destroy you, and the second is to allow this event to strengthen you. That’s it, no other options are available and it is best you decide as soon as possible which path you will take as each path will take you in very different direction. Once embarked upon, each of these paths are difficult to return from. To choose the path of strength however, we again must know who we are at our very CORE.

      

The true challenge is living our lives in such a way that who we are on the inside is easily identified by both our decisions and our actions on the outside. If we identify ourselves as compassionate, are we being compassionate? If we identify ourselves as respectful are we treating others with respect? While not an easy task, the true indicator of our own internal inventory of CORE values and CORE Beliefs is how we live those values and beliefs each and every day. Another great test of your own internal beliefs and values is to ask a close family member or friend what they think your greatest character strengths might be. If what you think you are and what others see don’t match up, it may be a good time for some self reflection. They may see strengths you don’t see or challenges you were not aware of. It is never too late in life to have these conversations and embark upon additional self growth. As human beings, our pursuit of improvement should never end. Who we are is a book which continues to be written.

Broadband grant helps expand Washington Island services

Broadband internet service is taking the next step on Washington Island.  The state Public Service Commission awarded the Washington Island Electric Cooperative and its partners, Nsight and Door County, a grant of $297,603 for Phase 2 of its broadband expansion.  That will involve hooking up to the underwater fiber optic cable between the island and the Door County mainland.  Robert Cornell, the Manager of the Washington Island Electric Cooperative, says the next phase will help about a fifth of the island's customers.  That includes key service providers.
 




Cornell says that will be the first step in aiding economic development and new options in health care.

 




Cornell says Washington Island hopes to have broadband internet available to all residents within the next three-to-four years. The PSC also awarded Hilbert Communications $1,402, 537 to build a 61.7-mile fiber optic line for broadband service in Kewaunee County. 

Trailer stolen in Kewaunee County

The Kewaunee County Sheriff's Department is asking the community to keep an eye out for a trailer stolen early Sunday morning. According to the Kewaunee County Sheriff's Department, the trailer was stolen near Manitowoc Road and Cherneyville Road by an older, early 2000s Chevrolet pick-up truck without a cap. The public is asked to contact the Kewaunee County Sheriff's Department with any information.

 

 

Gibraltar student chosen for honors project

A Gibraltar High School student is one of the 438 students selected from a pool of over 1400 applicants to participate in the Wisconsin School Music Association state honors project. Angel Jauregui, a clarinetist, had to go through a rigorous audition process to be considered. Now that he has been selected, Jauregui will attend a summer camp to get acquainted with conductors and practice. The entire process will come to fruition when conductors and students get together in Madison in October to perform at the WMEA State Music Educators Convention. 

 

Jauregui, a Junior at Gibraltar, chose to play Clarinet Concerto number three by Carl Stamitz for his audition piece. He said he found the two different, contrasting movements in the song to be an interesting aspect of the song.

 

The Belgian Heritage Center renovating schoolhouse 

The opening of the Belgian Heritage Center in Namur for the season is still over a month away, but volunteers are working on a special project on the grounds.  Co-Chair Joe Alexander says the organization acquired the old schoolhouse located adjacent to the Belgian Heritage Center is focusing its efforts on renovating the historic structure. Alexander shares the work being done so far.

 

 

Alexander adds that the renovation of the schoolhouse will put it back into the early 1900’s setting.  The building was used as a Catholic one-room schoolhouse dating back to 1921, and even housed nuns.  Acquired from the Peninsula Belgian American Club, the Belgian Heritage Center hopes to open the renovated schoolhouse for tours later this summer.  

 

(photo below courtesy of Rick Weddig)

 

 

Soybean, corn planting expects to be up

Corn and soybean planting could be up this spring as farmers look to take advantage of high prices for both crops. The United States Department of Agriculture estimates 1.2 million more acres of corn and 6.9 million additional acres of soybeans will be planted compared to 2019-2020. At 182 million acres combined, that would be a record high and the first time both crops would be above 90 million acres planted. Rio Creek Feed Mill agronomist Adam Barta predicted as much earlier this month for many fields not firmly tied to a crop rotation schedule.

S&P Global Platts also credits higher insurance guarantees and expected record demand for grains from China for encouraging farmers to plant more corn and soybeans this year.

Many summer job applicants with few housing options

Door County businesses won't be hurting for summer job applicants.  That's despite COVID-19 uncertainties over the J-1 visa program which brings in foreign students for the peak tourism season.  There's plenty of interest from college students and other seasonal workers.  However, Phil Berndt with Destination Door County says housing options are shrinking and that could turn some well-qualified applicants away.


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Berndt says Destination Door County started an out-of-state advertising campaign to attract summer employees after uncertainty arose over J-1 visa students' abilities to come to the U.S. this summer.

Church extends fellowship to Easter

St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Algoma is reprising its Thanksgiving Dinner efforts on Easter Sunday. Even though pandemic-related restrictions are beginning to lift, Pastor Joel McKenney realizes there are still people in the community who may not be able to go out or have people visit them for one of its holiest celebrations of the year. Just like at Thanksgiving, the church is offering take-out and delivery of the Easter brunch meal for free to anyone in the area. McKenney jokes that a lot of their fellowship is centered around food, but he hopes to get a little closer to what they are used to later this summer.

You can contact St. Paul’s Lutheran Church to schedule the delivery or pickup of your Easter Brunch meal between 11 a.m. and noon on Easter Sunday.

 

 

Ice Age Trail backpacker starts in Sturgeon Bay

When Emily Ford got laid off for the Winter, she knew she would have time to complete an endeavor like the Ice Age Trail's nearly 1200 mile hike. Ford, a gardener from Duluth, gets three months off each Winter and used this last Winter to become the first woman to complete the trail in Winter, and just the second person to make the trek in the cold season. 

 

With Sturgeon Bay being an east terminus of the trail, it acted as an ideal starting point. It also made sense to start out at the east end, as her journey would go westward because she always hikes towards home. Terrain also played a role in the decision, as she wanted to hike the flatter terrain first before getting to her ending point, a more hilly St. Croix Falls. 

 

Ford thought the “trail-angels” were great. These are people who would take her in for a night along the way. In a Tourism Talk with Carly Sarkis of Destination Sturgeon Bay, Ford said she remembered how fun it was to have random interactions with strangers along the way who were excited to get to know her and her story. 

 

 

Ford started the trek on December 28 and finished on March 6.

 

(Photo from @emilyontrail)

 

Algoma's new clerk excited to serve

At the beginning of February, lifetime Algoma resident Erin Mueller became the facilitator for the city office. Mueller was originally attracted to the position a few years ago. 

 

 

Mueller has also worked in customer service and in banking, roles she thinks helped prepare her to take on the clerk duty. She credits customer service for helping with people skills and called working in banking an eye opening experience. She says she learned a lot about land information, legal descriptions, and other topics that people don’t generally associate with banking. 

 

One of the qualities of the position that drew Mueller was the prime opportunity to serve her community. So far, Mueller has said the position has been good and a learning experience. She has enjoyed getting educated on the intricacies of how the town works. 

 

 

While it is a lot to keep up, Mueller is thankful for the help from staff she works with. She will need the help from the fellow staff and election workers with Spring elections around the corner. 

 

COVID-19 cases continue to rise

After two consecutive days of double-digit increases, Door County Public Health reported another uptick of COVID-19 cases on Friday with seven positive tests.  There were 40 tests performed and the positivity rate reflected 17.5 percent.  The number of active cases in Door County increased to 95 while no deaths or new hospitalizations were reported. 

 

Kewaunee County Public Health officials reported nine additional COVID-19 cases since Monday with five recoveries noted.  The number of active cases went up four and now stands at 11.  There are two recent hospitalizations and no additional deaths in Kewaunee County this week.

 

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services announced two COVID-19 deaths on Friday.   There were 434 more confirmed positive tests for the coronavirus with 39 additional people hospitalized.

 

 

  

Dollar General looking at Brussels location

After failing to move developments forward in either Sister Bay or Egg Harbor, Dollar General plans to build a store in Brussels.  Brussels Town Clerk and Zoning Administrator JoAnne Neinas says she has already received a preliminary certified survey map for review and an application for a building zoning permit.  Neinas sent a notice to Dollar General to address a few issues before the zoning permit is approved.

 

 

Neinas adds that Dollar General plans to build on about 1.5 acres of land adjacent to the Brussels General Store and BP gas station on County DK.  She does not know the time frame that Dollar General would build the new store if all permitting is approved.

Officials notified of explicit behavior online

The Door County Sheriff’s Office and Sturgeon Bay Police Department merged to conduct an investigation into online accounts that have been soliciting sexually explicit material from teenagers. The departments were notified that the solicitation came from several online accounts, specifically on the SnapChat app. 

 

The investigation concluded that the accounts which made the requests are located in India. Local officials encourage parents to educate themselves about different online platforms and to talk with their children about the dangers of sharing information and befriending unknown people online. 


Both departments will continue to monitor and attempt to identify as many possible accounts as they can. They encourage those with concerns to contact them, or to notify them if an incident arises. Information on online application safety can be found here.

Churches slowly filling back up

The sight of a full church during Holy Week will be welcomed by area clergy a year after doing them in front of empty pews. It has been over a year since Governor Tony Evers had churches lock their doors during his Safer at Home Order. Some congregations like Friends Community Church in Sturgeon Bay took to the radio to make sure its weekly message was heard, even as they have allowed people back for services in recent months. Friends Community Church Pastor Nancy Bontempo says it has been a hard adjustment from pre-pandemic times to now even with their doors open to the public.

Pastor Dan Schuster of Holy Trinity Parish in Casco and St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Luxemburg has done weekday and Sunday masses over Facebook Live since the very beginning of the pandemic. He is encouraged that viewership has started to drop a little bit because it has meant his pews have become more full.

Churches are anticipating larger crowds for Holy Week services, but believe they can keep people safe by offering more services and continuing current COVID-19 protocols.

 

Picture of pre-pandemic service courtesy of Friends Community Church.

Assembly approves election investigation, pandemic fund handling

The Wisconsin Assembly approved a pair of measures this week taking aim at the 2020 election and oncoming pandemic relief funds from the federal government. Both measures passed along party lines when the Assembly convened on Tuesday. The resolution regarding the investigation a month after Wisconsin Republicans ordered an audit of the election and a scandal in Green Bay involving private parties playing a central role in its voting procedures. First District Assembly Rep. Joel Kitchens says it is less about changing a result and more about restoring trust in the process after a bitter election.

The Assembly also approved a measure giving them the ability to decide how the state spends its COVID-19 relief funds. The state of Wisconsin is receiving $3.2 billion from American Rescue Plan with another $2 billion-plus going directly to municipalities and counties. Kitchens says the Legislature would like to have a say in how the money is spent after Governor Tony Evers controlled the funds in 2020.

The Wisconsin Assembly also passed measures forbidding vaccine mandates and requiring return-to-work plans to be drawn by the Evers administration.

Citations issued in Bayview Bridge crash

A Baileys Harbor resident was issued citations after causing a three-car accident on Tuesday afternoon, temporarily closing the Bayview Bridge. 

 

According to the accident report released on Friday, Asa Kastner was traveling north on Highway 42/57 at approximately 4:45 p.m. when his car struck the guardrail on the Bayview Bridge, causing him to lose control. His vehicle crossed over to the southbound lane where he hit two other cars before settling back into the northbound lane. He was transported to Door County Medical Center with suspected serious injuries. Two Sturgeon Bay residents in another vehicle were listed with possible injuries but did not need to be transported. All three cars had to be towed from the scene of the crash, which closed the Bayview Bridge for approximately one hour.

 

Captain Dan Brinkman says the department issued citations for Failure to Keep Vehicle Under Control and Operating Vehicle Left of Center.

 

This story has been updated with the citations issued.

Door County continues COVID-19 upswing, nearly 1700 vaccinated this week

Door County saw another double-digit bump up of COVID-19 cases with 12 positive tests on Thursday.  The County has seen a significant uptick in confirmed cases the past week after registering single-digit daily increases the past few weeks.  The positivity rate reflected 26 percent of the total tests performed.  The number of active cases increased seven to 94 in the county. 

 

Door and Kewaunee Counties continue to see positive news from its COVID-19 vaccination distribution. Door County residents have received 1699 doses this week while those living in Kewaunee County have received 623.

 

The state reported 60 more hospitalizations and two additional deaths on Thursday. 

 

 

 

Sister Bay Historical Society wins grant for festival

After receiving a grant for nearly $23,000, the Sister Bay Historical Society will host the inaugural Door County Christkindlmark. The word is German for “Christmas market.” The Joint Enterprise Marketing grant is from the Wisconsin Department of Tourism. The event coordinator, John Nelson felt the grant landed on Sister Bay because of the ability to bring travelers from both in and out of Wisconsin

 

 

Christkindlmarkt will showcase vendors selling homemade goods and northern European delicacies. Nelson says this sort of affair is common in other parts of the world and even in Wisconsin.

 

 

The Historical Society is also planning on contacting prospective artisans and restaurants to be vendors during the event. Nelson likes the idea that this can give life to the town in a typically slow period. It also is estimated to have a positive financial impact from visitor travel.

 

 

The event is scheduled for November 26-28, December 4-6, and December 11-13.

Door County Public Health online vaccine scheduling system now open

After reserving priority for the COVID19 vaccine to residents in previously qualified groups, Door County Public Health opened their online scheduling system. The County created a waitlist for scheduling appointments, for qualified adults who never got their vaccine. That waitlist has now been eliminated and Public Health will receive both Pfizer and Johnson and Johnson vaccines next week to people who are in the group that became eligible on March 22. Public Health states that there is not a preferred vaccine in regard to effectiveness and that all are encouraged to take whichever vaccine is made available to them. 

 

All second dose appointments will be at the site the individual received their first dose. There is a limited supply of vaccines at this time, so Public Health will have a set amount of appointments available. Each week, after receiving confirmation of the distribution, will open additional appointments if available. Those without Internet access, in need of assistance, or with questions can contact Public Health at 920-746-7180. 

 

 

Units clear after gas line hit

Emergency personnel cleared the scene safely after a gas line was hit by a contractor who was digging at the area of 42 East Oak Street in Sturgeon Bay on Thursday. The Sturgeon Bay Fire Department had two units called to the scene. Wisconsin Public Services was on scene as well. On duty firefighters secured the scene until WPS appeared to repair the issue. No injuries were reported.

Baldwin praises rescue plan's impact on health care

Democratic U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin says the American Rescue Plan’s impact on health care was a major reason why she voted in favor of the $1.9 trillion bill. Between March and September 2020, more than three million Americans lost their employer-sponsored health insurance, forcing them to go it alone or jump on temporary COBRA continuation coverage. By approving the plan, it lowered or eliminated health insurance premiums for many Americans and provided incentives for states to expand Medicaid. Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and other state Republicans have voiced their opposition to expanding Medicaid, questioning what would happen if the federal dollars would disappear someday. Baldwin hopes they reconsider.

Baldwin says the Affordable Care Act has helped provide insurance coverage to thousands of Wisconsinites since it was signed into law 11 years ago this week.

 

Picture taken previous to pandemic

Camp aims to train future livestock exhibitors

Organizers of the Blue Ribbon Livestock Camp are hoping that even though the pandemic put a pause on many fairs in 2020 that kids find a way back to the show ring this year. Just like the Kewaunee County Fair, the Door County Fair, and the Wisconsin State Fair among others, the inaugural Blue Ribbon Livestock Camp was put on hold last year due to COVID-19 precautions. As the summer and fall went on, some kids were able to return to showing their animals at other events. This year, the camp is moving forward with plans to host the day-long camp at the Kewaunee County Fairgrounds and connecting participants with different livestock experts. The experience takes kids from caring for their animals to preparing them for show day in front of a judge. Organizer Jenny Prodell hopes the camp will help kids guide their animals and themselves back to agriculture.

With the proper protocols in place, the Blue Ribbon Livestock Camp takes place on May 15th and is for participants interested in exhibiting goats, sheep, pigs, and beef steers.  You can click on this link for more information.

Ephraim cancels Fyr Bal

Ephraim residents and visitors will have to wait another year to light the fire to get rid of the Winter Witch.

 

The Ephraim Business Council announced on Wednesday it would not be hosting the Fyr Bal Festival for the second year in a row due to pandemic concerns. The annual event welcomes spring with the Norwegian tradition of a large bonfire in addition to music, fireworks, dancers, and the crowning of the Chieftain. Ephraim Tourism Administrator Lane Methner says the cancellation is being done out of concern for the community and its visitors.

Methner is hopeful it will be able to hold other events later in the year and that the Fyr Bal Festival again on June 18th, 2022. It is the second major festival to already be canceled this year due to the pandemic, joining Jacksonport’s Maifest.

 

Photo courtesy of the Ephraim Business Council from a past year's event

Sevastopol's new addition transforming

With the Sevastopol School District’s new addition enclosed, the vision for the space is beginning to take place. The $25 million project will replace sections of the building close to 100 years old in some cases with something a little bit closer to the 21st century. Students in the agriculture, science, and industrial arts programs will be located in new spaces as well as kids in 4K to fifth grades. Sevastopol School District Administrator Kyle Luedtke says while it was a challenge to connect the new addition to some of the existing structures, it was all done with current educational and operational needs in mind.

The school year will have just ended when work to demolish the 1925 and 1946 sections of the building begins on May 22nd. Luedtke says in addition to the time capsule they recently enclosed, aspects from their history will be saved for the future.

The school building is not the only item on the list Sevastopol School District is looking to improve.  The Sevastopol School Board will host a special meeting on Thursday evening to discuss renovating the sports fields before the district’s Property, Buildings and Security Committee takes up the topic on March 30th.

Kewaunee City Hall reopens to public

You will be able to conduct business at Kewaunee City Hall in-person for the first time in four months.

 

Kewaunee Mayor Jason Jelinek directed City Hall and its other facilities reopen to public immediately in a Wednesday afternoon release. The Kewaunee Common Council and the city’s sub-committees will also be allowed to attend in-person meetings at city hall while still having the option to attend virtually. Jelinek still encourages residents to limit their exposure by making utility payments and other transactions through alternative means. 

 

City Hall and other facilities have been available to the public by appointment only since November 12th.

 

 

Door County COVID-19 numbers spikes with state

Door County saw its COVID-19 numbers spike on Wednesday as the state reported its most new cases in almost a month.

 

Thirteen new positive tests were reported in Door County while its active cases climbed up 14 to 87. The state reported 776 new positive tests, which is the highest it has been since February 25th. Door and Kewaunee Counties continue to make good progress with its COVID-19 vaccination distribution. Door County residents have received 675 doses this week while those living in Kewaunee County have received 270.

 

Door County also announced on Wednesday it would be receiving both the Pfizer and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine next week, just in time for it to launch its online scheduling system.

 

DOOR COUNTY

Tests Performed: 16,794 (+75)
Positive: 2,484 (+13)

Probable: 211 (+5)
Negative: 14,099 (+57)

Active: 87 (+14)

Deaths: 21 

Total Ever Hospitalized: 85 

Victims in Brussels crash in stable condition

A victim that was airlifted to Green Bay for emergency medical care on Tuesday is now in stable condition, as well as the two other victims. The accident occured in Brussels on Tuesday afternoon in the intersection of County C and County K. The accident occured when a vehicle was headed south on County C and  the driver attempted to turn east on County K, but was struck by an oncoming vehicle that was traveling on County K. Sheriff’s Deputy Pat McCary noted that the injuries are non life-threatening. 

 

 

Names and ages of passengers involved have not been released.

 

Running for Alzheimer's research reaches Door County

Lee Thornquist's journey of 1,100 miles began nine days ago at Theater Park in Chicago and is now working its way through Door County.  His 36-day run around Lake Michigan in 36 days is an effort to raise money for Alzheimer's Disease research.  That's to honor his late grandmother, Harriet, who lived with the disease for 13 years before she died.  Thornquist, however, is also playing the role of tourist as he runs up toward Sister Bay and down the Green Bay side of the peninsula enroute to Michigan.

 




Thornquist reached his fundraising goal of $25-thousand even before starting his journey.  He's now accepting free will donations.  While he's far from finishing the run around Lake Michigan,  Thornquist says he's been surprised by the differences he's experienced from the Chicago area.

 




Donations for Lee Thornquist's run for Alzheimer's can be accepted through his website www.runninglakemichigan.com.

 

 

Door County passes resolution on diversity

The Door County Board met on Tuesday and passed a resolution outlining Door County’s commitment to fostering diversity and inclusion. The resolution is part of an initiative started by the National Association of Counties titled, “County resources on diversity, equity, and inclusion.” The initiative takes aim at issues pertaining to employment opportunity, health care access, food, and housing. It was started after the controversy across the country calling for attention to discriminatory practices occurred last Summer. Door County Administrator Ken Pabich notes that shortly after the initiative was created it was brought to the board’s attention.

 

 

The Door County League of Women Voters encouraged the passing of the resolution at Tuesday’s meeting. The organization’s chair, Pat Scieszinski thanked the board for joining the growing number of state and local units of government that are taking steps toward furthering goals of diversity and inclusion. 

 


The resolution can be found below. Pabich also urged those who want to see what all the initiative entails to go to the NACO website.

 

Door County cases rise slightly

On Tuesday’s COVID19 report from Door County, three people tested positive for the virus, and one more hospitalization occurred. The number of active cases also increased by two. As of Tuesday, 34.4% of Door County residents have received a vaccine and 21.1% of residents have completed the vaccine series. 

 

In Kewaunee County, 24.1% of residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine. 13.1% of Kewaunee County residents have completed the series. In Wisconsin, 36,861 residents have received the vaccine this week.

 

 

Serious two-vehicle accident in Brussels

One person was airlifted to a Green Bay hospital and two others received medical attention after a two-vehicle crash in Brussels late Tuesday afternoon.  The accident occurred at the intersection of County  C and County K shortly after 5 pm.  Numerous emergency agencies were on scene as the Eagle 3 helicopter was called in after the accident.   DoorCountyDailyNews.com will have more details on this accident Wednesday morning.   

 

(photo by Brady Tooley)

 

(videos by Terry Kovarik)

 

 

Crossroads offering unique full moon experience

On Sunday, Crossroads at Big Creek will hold a special event to take in the full moon. The event is inspired by a book written by Frances Hamerstrom. Between 7-9:30 PM patrons will be able to head over to Crossroads at Big Creek and follow a candle-lit trail to watch the moon come up. Crossroads at Big Creek Director Coggin Heeringa even added that if the moon is visible members of the Door Peninsula Astronomical Society will do demonstrations about the moon. This would include projecting what is seen through the telescope on a computer and onto an outdoor screen. One bonus Heeringa mentions is that the socially distanced event takes place at the beginning of Spring Break for some, so people will be able to enjoy the night longer. Crossroads didn’t have to go far for the candles that will light up their walking path. They had extra from a candlelight ski for the Fire and Ice Festival, which was cancelled due to weather. 

 

Heeringa does have a contingency plan in place in case the weather doesn’t cooperate. The backup date is Monday, March 29, when the moon is projected to be 98% illuminated, or a gibbous moon. The event would start at 8:30 in the evening to accommodate for the moon coming up an hour later 

 

 

According to Heeringa, candelight walks are always fun. Other than the opportunity to show off Crossroads in a different light, which Heeringa assures has different sounds and sights than in the daytime, they hope to open up people’s curiosity about astronomy. 

 

 

To keep up with cancellations, people can check out the Crossroads website. 

 

Bayview Bridge reopens after accident

The Bayview Bridge (Highway 42-57) in Sturgeon Bay was closed to traffic for about one hour late Tuesday afternoon due to an apparent three-vehicle accident on the bridge shortly before 5 pm.   Southbound and Northbound traffic was being detoured through downtown Sturgeon Bay until about 5:45 pm.  Numerous emergency vehicles are on the scene.  We will have more on this accident as more information is made available on Wednesday morning.

 

 

Door County names new Poet Laureate

The written arts will have a new face as Mike Orlock was appointed to the position of Door County Poet Laureate at Tuesday’s Door County Board of Supervisors meeting. Orlock’s first term will run from April of 2021 until March of 2023. At the meeting, Orlock showed gratitude for his new position. 

 

 

Orlock also recognized the great poets who have lived and worked in Door County, specifically pointing out Nancy Rafal, who preceded him in the position. Orlock defined his intentions as continuing the fine work they’ve done promoting the arts and an organization like Write On, Door County. He was also pleased with Door County’s commitment to supporting local art. 

 

 

The new Poet Laureate commenced his appointment with a poem reading, as is tradition. Orlock selected a poem from a collection of poems about Door County called, “You Can Get Here From There.” The poem was titled, “About Door County.” 

 

(Photo Courtesy of Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets)

 

Weather aids ferry traffic

The shortest “ice-in” and “ice-out” on record for the Washington Island Ferry Line made things a lot smoother this winter for traveling. Ferry President Hoyt Purinton says the ice was on the move for much of the season with the thickest ice they encountered only 16-18 inches deep.  The calm winter allowed the ferry line to periodically add trips, gave crews the opportunity to address some of the needs on the other boats, and allowed water levels to drop. Purinton estimates there are more people living on the island right now than any other time during his lifetime, so the calm winter allowed them to move more freely.

Purinton is expecting more of the same this spring and summer with people wanting to explore the outdoors. He believes it could be even busier this summer if a dock inspection at Rock Island State Park goes well after high water levels closed the attraction in 2020. The Washington Island Ferry increased its schedule last week to now include six round trips daily. Friday night trips will begin on April 2nd.

Municipal governments to receive windfall from feds

Over $5 million in Kewaunee County and $8 million in Door County is on the way to municipalities from the federal government as a part of the American Rescue Plan.  As a part of the $1.9 trillion legislation, municipalities can use the money to make up for lost revenue for government services. County governments receive the bulk of the money, though dollars are also available for cities, towns, and villages. Guidelines have not been sent to municipalities yet according to Kewaunee County Administrator Scott Feldt, who says the federal government has at least 60 days to provide them along with its first payment. At that time, Feldt hopes its local municipalities can sit down together to figure out the best ways to fit their needs collectively.

Feldt expects most of the money will need to be applied to COVID-19 related expenses, but suggests it could be used for some infrastructure improvements like broadband. Some municipalities in the state, like Sevastopol, were able to transfer funds to the local school district to cover some of their added expenses due to the pandemic.

Horseshoe Bay Farms prepares to welcome visitors

People could be attending events at Horseshoe Bay Farms as soon as this summer. The historic farm site located along Horseshoe Bay Road in Egg Harbor will be dotted with gardens and refurbished buildings based on its master plan recently unveiled to the public. As it raises funds to make some of the plans a reality, Horseshoe Bay Farms Executive Director Drew Richmond has been collecting stories and recruiting volunteers to shed some light on the property that had been closed to the public prior to its sale in 2018. Richmond hopes tours, farmer’s markets, and activities will raise awareness for the site that was once the home of a state-of-the-art dairy farm and an orchard that made it one of the largest seasonal employers in the county.

Richmond says tours could start as soon as Memorial Day weekend with hopes of generating additional interest in the site. Horseshoe Bay Farms approved their master plan in 2020, two years after a non-profit organization was formed to preserve the site and offer educational opportunities.

 

Picture courtesy of Horseshoe Bay Farms

Sturgeon Bay holds off on Duluth Avenue proposal for ATVs

The Sturgeon Bay Parking and Traffic Committee put off a decision Monday on allowing ATVs on North Duluth Avenue between Elm Street and Bullhead Point.  The proposed ATV/UTV trail route, which would ultimately connect the Town of Nasewaupee with the City of Sturgeon Bay, was returned to committee by Mayor David Ward earlier this month.  Committee Chair Kirsten Reeths says the matter was discussed last October and was revisited after Door County approved an ordinance amendment earlier this year.

 

 

 

Ten people spoke against the idea, while three supported the proposed route during public comments at Monday’s meeting.  Committee vice-chair Gary Nault’s motion to continue looking into ATV trails in the city, including Duluth Avenue, failed to receive a second from any committee member.  Reeths then made a motion to postpone any decision until the next committee meeting on April 26, which was seconded by Nault and passed unanimously.  The Door County Board of Supervisors will reconsider and possibly rescind the amended ordinance designating County C from County PD to North Duluth Avenue, Town of Nasewaupee, as an ATV/UTV route.

Death number rises, case count remains low

On the day where people over 16 can register for the COVID-19 vaccine, Door County saw another coronavirus-related death added to the figures, which brings the total to 21 since the pandemic began about one year ago. Door County Public Health reported 62 tests were completed that yielded 52 negative results with six positive and four probable. Kewaunee County had a milder day with only two positive cases reported on Monday bringing their active total to seven. The State continues to move in the right direction with a lower positive case total of 338. The state is not reporting any new deaths even though Door County Public Health has increased their total for the county.

 

 

Sports officials in high demand 

With opening day less than seven weeks away for the Door County Baseball League, organizers are looking for more qualified umpires for the season.  Umpire-in-Chief Roger Van Lanen says much like the WIAA sports, the DCBL faces difficulty filling officials for sporting events.  He says the average age of game officials is very high, and recruiting younger ones is challenging.

 

 

Van Lanen notes that the younger officials he has hired in the past left for many reasons, but compensation was not the critical factor.

 

 

Van Lanen adds that most umpires in the Door County Baseball League are currently over 60 years old.  The ability to deal with personal conflict and confrontations is essential, along with understanding and explaining the rules, in making a good sports official.  

 

Posted by Baileys Harbor Athletics Club & Rec Park on Saturday, March 20, 2021

 

 

Grocery store relives pandemic's opening week

Day by day, Main Street Market owner Kaaren Northrop is recapturing the memories made during the first week of the shutdown forced by the beginning of COVID-19 pandemic. Grocery stores large and small had to deal with many of the same issues as supply chains were interrupted and panic set in for several necessities like toilet paper.  Northrop saw one daughter extend her weekend visit from the Chicagoland area into a two-week stay to help handle the influx of changes, while her son and his family were told to quarantine as they waited for the birth of another child. After shutting down the store to protect customers and employees, the aisles became a walking track for a family dog and the intercom became a source of entertainment. Northrop says it was instituting its “Shopping For You” program that was one of the hardest parts as they navigated people’s shopping lists and product shortages.

She adds it has been interesting to look back and recreate some of the experiences they felt during the opening days of the pandemic through her Facebook posts.

Main Street Market was closed to the public for nearly two months while filling hundreds of orders along the way. Northrop applauds her staff and her customers for rolling with the changes that were happening on a nearly daily basis and supporting Main Street Market. You can relive parts of those opening days by reading the posts below or by liking their Facebook page.

 

Picture Courtesy of Main Street Market

 

 

Absentee voting outpacing past spring elections

Municipal clerks in Door and Kewaunee counties are once again sending out a higher than usual number of absentee ballots for the upcoming spring election on April 6th. According to the Wisconsin Elections Commission, more than 363,000 people requested ballots for the spring election this year, which is more than double what was requested pre-pandemic in 2019. Kewaunee City Clerk Terri Decur says they have sent out 180 absentee ballots, which is triple what they have distributed in the past. That comes ahead of a number of contested races for Kewaunee Common Council seats. In Sister Bay, Village Clerk Heidi Teich says they have also sent out a higher than usual number of absentee ballots this year compared to the past. With a contested school board race and village board elections coming up, she admits she expected a few more.

Teich added that Chad Kodanko has entered the Sister Bay Village Trustee race as a registered write-in. You can request an absentee ballot through April 1st or in some cases April 2nd. Many municipalities begin allowing early in-person voting beginning on Tuesday through April 4th.

Two grass fires reported as danger grows

Emergency personnel in northern Door County responded to a pair of grass fires on Saturday as the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources issued elevated danger warnings.

 

Mild conditions, low relative humidity values, and gusty southerly winds caused much of the state including Door and Kewaunee counties to be in the very high fire danger category. Vilas County in northern Wisconsin is the only county to not be in the high or very high fire danger category due to the conditions. At approximately 1 p.m., Gibraltar Police, Gibraltar Fire and Rescue, and the Door County Sheriff’s Department responded to a small pasture fire off of Spring Road near Fish Creek.

 

Gibraltar Fire Chief Andy Bertges says the fire grew bigger than what the homeowners expected, prompting them to call the authorities. He says people should not burn right now if they can help it, but if they need to, they should take the proper precautions.

Approximately a half-hour later, emergency personnel responded to a fire on Washington Island near Jackson Harbor Road. According to a post by Washington Island Police Officer Gary Schultz, they were joined by Door County EMS and the Ephraim Fire Department tend to the fire that is suspected to have started by a cigarette thrown from a car. Bertges reminds people looking to start a fire that a burn permit is required by most municipalities.

 

 

Sturgeon Bay gets lead out of water lines

Sturgeon Bay is already well ahead of other Wisconsin communities in removing and replacing lead water lines.  Department of Natural Resources grants are now allowing communities to start the process, which can take several years to complete.  Sturgeon Bay Utilities targeted lead water lines nearly 30-years ago.  General Manager Cliff White says it was a gradual process but Sturgeon Bay is now lead-free.



 






White says SBU also encourages property owners to replace old galvanized metal and brass pipes when interior plumbing work is needed.

Door County beekeepers ready for season

The activities for beekeepers in the area will be starting up this spring, and the Door County Beekeepers Association is ready to help out.  During the winter, honey bee workers keep the queen and brood warm by creating a cluster around them.  The bees inside then feed on the honey while the worker bees insulate their sisters inside. Co-president and member Max Martin says local beekeepers are hopeful that the honeybees survived the long winter months.

 

 

Martin adds that a new package of bees can cost about $140.  Proper overwintering of the bees can make it possible to split a single hive into two.  According to Martin, a solid and honey-producing hive can house up to 70,000 bees at the end of July.  You can find more information on the Door County Beekeepers Association here.

 

Gallagher introduces bipartisan bill

On Thursday, U.S.Representative Mike Gallagher (R-WI) as well as Jackie Speier (D-CA) introduced bipartisan legislation titled the Billion Dollar Boondoggie Act. The bill would increase transparency and accountability with large-scale government projects. The bill also requires an annual report to taxpayers listing every government-funded project that is $1 billion or more over budget or projects which are five or more years behind schedule. The bill that was introduced in the Senate by Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Gary Peters (D-MI) also passed unanimously out of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee on Wednesday. 

 

Gallagher said of the bill, “requiring the federal government to report on projects that are over budget or behind schedule is the least we can do to increase transparency and accountability.” For each reported project, the report would include a brief description of the purpose, location, year it began and an explanation of any change to the original project.

 

Dreamers bill approval supported by Hispanic residents

Hispanic residents in Door and Kewaunee Counties are excited over the U.S. House of Representatives' approval of a bill setting a citizenship path for Dreamers. Those include the young children of illegal immigrants, those born after their parents arrived, and people who entered the country for humanitarian reasons. That bill was approved Thursday 228-197.  Imelda Delchambre, with the Hispanic Resource Center of Door and Kewaunee Counties, calls it a hopeful sign that one chamber of Congress is helping the bill move ahead.



 





The bill faces a tough battle for approval in the U.S. Senate.  It would need 10 Republican senators to join Democrats in approving the bill and sending it on to President Biden's desk.

Mackinaw's first female commander conducts local ice-breaking effort

Late winter ice-breaking operations on Green Bay are a regular occurrence.  However, this year's joint operation between the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw and the Sturgeon Bay-based cutter Mobile Bay marks a first.  The Mackinaw is helmed by its first female commander.  Kristen Serumgaard took over command of the Mackinaw last July.  While she's the first woman at the helm of the vessel, she's served in the executive ranks of other Coast Guard vessels, joining other women in similar commands.

 




Commander Serumgaard says ice conditions and maintaining navigation buoys have not been the biggest challenges she's faced in eight months on the job.  The biggest has been working through the COVID-19 pandemic.

 




Opening shipping lanes on Green Bay and the Sturgeon Bay ship channel will be Commander Serumgaard's second visit to Door County in as many weeks.  The Mackinaw conducted testing that will be used to help develop future heavy icebreaking vessels.

Homebuilders balancing demand with supply chain challenges

Although housing starts in the country fell dramatically last month, local builders are optimistic that the home building market will be strong this year.  According to a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development report this week, privately-owned housing starts in February fell over ten percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.421 million from the revised January estimate of 1.584 million.  Door County Home Builders Association President Jeff Dorner, the project manager at Van’s Lumber & Custom Builders in Dyckesville, says demand remains strong locally. He is handling daily inquiries for new homes, despite shortages of supplies contributing to higher pricing.

 

 

Dorner adds that orders for windows and doors take from four to 12 weeks to be delivered. With that scenario, Dorner relies on advanced planning to get current projects properly coordinated and completed.

Southern Door FFA alumni creatively holding raffle

Those who win prizes won’t be met with the typical crowd chatter and expression, but the Southern Door FFA is still finding a way to hold their thirteenth wine and cheese gala On April 8. Typically the gala would bring many people together to socialize, but this year all the banter and applause will have to be done behind a screen.  This year the event will be branded as a wine and cheese basket raffle, as the baskets will be comprised of prizes. 

 

One thing that will remain usual is that the raffle will still utilize prizes from area donors and businesses. The FFA alumni don’t stray far from their roots, sticking with a showmanship themed grand and reserve prize. The grand prize is a $500 master griller package and reserve prize is a $300 jewelry piece. FFA alum Rich Olson says a bonus will be included with the over 30 total prizes that will be given away.  

 

 

The gala will start at 7:00 P.M. More information can be found here

 

Sturgeon Bay author talks about Madison's Civil War POWs

College football fans in Door and Kewaunee Counties know Camp Randall as the home of the UW football Badgers. During the Civil War, however, it was home to Confederate prisoners of war.  Sturgeon Bay author Larry Desotell will share some of the stories of life for both prisoners and Union soldiers during a virtual lecture for the Door County Library.  The stories are collected in Desotell's book “The Captured, The Sick, and The Dead: Confederate Soldiers at Camp Randall”.  What started as a research favor for a friend became a mission for Desotell.  He decided to bring to life the stories of the 140 Confederate soldiers now resting at Forest Hills Cemetary.  One story recounts the tragic spring and summer of 1862 for one southern family following a confrontation between prisoners Henry and James Spears and Union guard Clarence Wicks.



 






Ironically, Clarence Wicks would re-enlist in the Union Army, was dispatched to Virginia, wounded in battle and captured, and died in a Confederate prison camp in Richmond.  Larry Desotell is a retired history teacher.  He says there are still some Civil War lessons the US needs to learn in order to heal itself.



 






Desotell's book talk starts at 10:00 AM, Monday, March 22nd on the library's Facebook page or logging into Zoom at https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81744930553?pwd=RGdUMjBjOFBmNnBKTC9icHhLNU1EZz09.

Need still great at Door County Food Pantries

One year into the pandemic and local food pantries are seeing a community outpouring of support that meets the demand of underprivileged families in Door County.  Heidi Penchoff of the Door Life Food Pantry and the Door County Food Pantry Coalition says the past year has been one of the constant changes in response and needs.

 

 

Penchoff notes that donated items like protein drinks, baby foods, cereals, and pasta are always appreciated.  The Door Life Food Pantry is located in Sister Bay, is open 24 hours a day, and is a "help yourself" food pantry which allows for drop-off and pick-up at any time.  You can find more information on Door Life Food Pantry here.

 

 

Sturgeon Bay part of 1,100 mile run for Alzheimer's Research

Lee Thornquist is coming through Door County to make something good out of unemployment and the loss of his grandmother.  The Chicago area native is making a 1,100-mile run around Lake Michigan to raise money for Alzheimer's Disease research.  Thornquist started his trek last Sunday at Chicago's Theater on the Lake and is scheduled to arrive in Sturgeon Bay on Tuesday, March 23rd.  Between being laid-off from his travel industry job and the death of his grandmother, Harriet, last September, Thornquist, and his family decided the timing was perfect for a new challenge to honor Harriet.



 






Thornquist set a goal of raising $25,000 through free-will offerings along his route. However, friends, family, and other donors helped him reach that goal before he took a single step on his trek.  So with an RV for overnight camping trailing him, and the website “runninglakemichigan.com” tracking his progress, Lee Thornquist is looking to continue his fundraising efforts. He's also finding much support from people who know the struggle he and his family have faced.



 






While Lee Thornquist is dedicating his run around Lake Michigan to his grandmother's life, he believes divine intervention with prodding from Harriet is helping move his journey forward.



 






Thornquist hopes to complete his Lake Michigan run by returning home to Chicago by April 18th.  He asks anyone who'd like to donate to click on to his website www.runninglakemichigan.com or if you happen to see him and his RV when you're out you can scan the QR code decal and make your donation through your smartphone.

Crossroads going acoustic

Collecting data on wildlife that are at Crossroads at Big Creek in Sturgeon Bay just became more efficient says Independent Wildlife Biologist Gary Casper. On Friday, Crossroads received a lecture from Casper. Stationed out of Slinger, WI, Casper gave a presentation detailing acoustic monitoring data and using that for planting habitat restoration. Casper installed a handful of monitors at Crossroads, and then touched on them in his presentation. 

 

Casper explained that acoustic monitoring, which is putting digital recorders in the habitat that will pick up animal sounds, will greatly expand their accessibility to gaining data. 

 

 

Casper also noted that it’s more than just animal sounds that people will be able to research because the recorders will help pick up tendencies as well. 

 

 

This is supposed to be a lot easier than how data collecting was done in the past, when researchers would often have to go out with binoculars at limited parts of the day and write down what they see.

 

Lutheran pastors participate in Lenten round-robin

Members at some Lutheran churches in Door and Kewaunee counties have been able to hear a different spin on God’s message from the area’s pastors during weekday services. Immanuel Lutheran Church Pastor Matthew Sprunger began his Door County swing on Wednesday by leading a service at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Sturgeon Bay.  Likewise, Pastor Carl Schoeder led St. Paul Lutheran Church’s weekday Lenten service in Algoma. Each pastor has a specific topic they preach on when visiting the different churches. Sprunger says it is a great opportunity for all of the pastors to get meet and interact with other faith communities across the region.SPRUNGER1

The Lenten sermon series continues through the beginning of April. Sprunger will next visit congregations in Egg Harbor and Baileys Harbor to preach on his topic of Peter’s love and zeal. You can contact your local Lutheran Church to see which pastor will preach where next.

Slight increase in COVID19 cases

In Friday’s COVID19 report for Door County, seven tests were conducted and four returned positive. One recovery was made as the number of active cases dropped to 64. There were no Door County hospitalizations or deaths on Friday due to the virus. 

 

In Kewaunee County, their Friday report shows that only one resident tested positive for the virus. The number of active cases in Kewaunee County is now six. There were no hospitalizations or deaths from the virus on Friday. 

 

Door County does have signs of optimism with the COVID19 vaccine, as 32.9% of residents have received at least one dose. The series has been completed by 20.6% of residents. In Kewaunee County, 21.9% of residents have had a vaccine shot and 12.8% have completed the series.This week, Wisconsin vaccinated 190,401 residents.

 

(Below: Kewaunee County) 

YMCA names Youth Director

A new era for patrons is being ushered in at the Door County YMCA. The new Youth and Sports Director, Paul Briney is spending March settling into the role. A native of Macomb, IL, Briney is familiar with Door County after vacationing in the area growing up. Briney stayed in his hometown to complete his Bachelors’ and Masters’ degree in Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Administration from Western Illinois University last December.

 

The transition should be smooth, as Briney mentions he has a large background in sports, programming, and youth leadership. All three of those will fit well into his new job description at the Door County YMCA. The director is excited for what’s ahead, adding that he will be in charge of youth camps. Briney is looking forward to getting the ball rolling with camp season, outlining camps that will be held at Otumba Park. 

 

 

 

Briney officially started his role on March 1st. More information on Summer camps and youth programs can be found on the Door County YMCA website. 

 

Sturgeon Bay names new principal

Sturgeon Bay School District has found its replacement for retiring high school Principal Bob Nickel. The school board approved the hiring of Keith Nerby at its meeting earlier this week. Nerby boasts a long list of administrative roles in the past, including holding the principal title at Hamilton High School in Sussex, Karcher Middle School in Burlington, and most recently at Sun Prairie High School. Superintendent Dan Tjernagel says Nerby is battle-tested after juggling principal duties at Sun Prairie while the high school switched buildings, its secondary level was redistricted, and the whole district struggled with reopening during the pandemic.

Tjernagel added that Nerby is excited to join the administrative team at Sturgeon Bay School District for the upcoming school year and be a part of the community. Nerby will begin his new role on July 1st.

 

Picture courtesy of Sun Prairie School District

Door County to offer online scheduling for vaccine

Door County Public Health announced Friday that at some point next week an online scheduling system will be implemented for those eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.  The broadening of the eligible groups has necessitated the shifting of strategy for vaccine scheduling by the health department.  Health and Human Services Director Joe Krebsbach says the increase of the vaccine allocations has challenged appointment-by-phone scheduling.  The existing waiting list has been capped with those individuals being scheduled in the next two weeks.

 

 

When the online scheduling begins at some point next week, a limited number of appointments will be booked at the Sturgeon Bay site.  Door County Health was able to vaccinate 678 people this past week.  Future clinics are being planned in Northern Door with a clinic being provided next week on Washington Island.  Vaccinations are also being done through Door County Medical Center and local pharmacies.  State data now shows that 73.5 percent of Door County residents 65 and older have received at least their first dose of the vaccine  You can read the complete new release by Door County Public Health here. 

Cocktails-to-go a possibility

You may be able to bring home an Old Fashioned with your curbside pick-up in Wisconsin. The state Assembly approved a measure earlier this week that would allow bars and restaurants to sell cocktails and glasses of wine to go. Bar and restaurant owners across the state have been asking for such a measure to be passed because patrons have spent less time inside their establishments and the drinks carry a higher profit margin. The drinks would have to be served in a tamper-evident seal and sold for pick-up only. Brick Lot Pub and Crate owner Wendy Carter says they have begun looking into what would need to be done to make it a reality for her businesses.

Similarly, Carter says the City of Sturgeon Bay’s decision to allow for open containers in the downtown business district has created a fun and casual atmosphere for patrons while also being beneficial for businesses. The bill heads to the state Senate as Wisconsin looks to become one of more than 30 states to allow the practice.

 

Picture courtesy of Brick Lot Pub

Door County state parks projects denied

Three projects proposed for three state parks in Door County will have to wait after the State Building Commission rejected Governor Tony Evers’ $2.4 billion capital budget. In addition to $1 billion for new buildings at UW System institutions including Green Bay’s, projects aimed at restoring the boat house at Rock Island State Park, a welcome center at Potawatomi State Park, and a new shower house at Peninsula State Park were also temporarily shelved. One of the members of that commission is First District state Senator Andre Jacque, who represents a large portion of northeast Wisconsin including Door County. He has reservations about approving projects with a 10 percent increase in state spending and tax increases on the docket in Governor Evers’ budget proposal. He adds that he would like to discuss the three Door County projects and the progress addressing the Potawatomi State Park Tower with Department of Natural Resources Secretary Preston Cole.

He says a meeting with Cole has not been granted since he first made the request months ago. Jacque added many of the proposed Building Commission projects have strong merit and will likely still get the approval of the Legislature in a final draft of the budget.

DHS focusing on cleaning data

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services announced that they would ramp up data cleaning efforts as the state sees cases of COVID-19 decrease. The capacity to focus on data quality has increased. In cleaning up data reporting, DHS is correcting positive case status from “confirmed” to “probable” if there was a positive antigen result instead of a confirmed PCR result to determine the presence of the virus that causes COVID19. 

 

Data will change over time due to the cleanup efforts. Dashboards and data tables tracking overall cases or deaths and those showing newly reported “net” numbers each day may appear lower than normal in some counties or even negative. An example of this is that 3,000 confirmed cases were corrected to probable in the past several weeks, and approximately 800 confirmed cases were corrected to confirmed in the same time period. This led to a net decrease of 2,200 confirmed cases. To help public health follow up, recommendations for confirmed and probable cases are the same.

 

Charts that show confirmed cases and deaths by group housing settings are also undergoing quality assurance efforts, including matching addresses to long-term care and other living facilities to reduce the number of “unknowns” in the group housing charts. As a result, the percent of deaths where group housing setting was unknown decreased from forty-six percent to twenty-six percent.

 

Spring elections coming soon

Spring elections will be held on April 6 at the state, municipality, and school board levels, which can lead to confusion for voters who have recently changed addresses. For residents who have lived at the same Wisconsin address as their ID shows, they will need just a photo ID such as a driver’s license, ID card issued by Wisconsin, passport, student ID, uniform services card, or a Veterans’ Affairs ID. Door County Clerk Jill Lau says this is what they mostly see at the polls. 

 

Those who may be new to the area but still want to cast their vote may need to register to vote in Wisconsin or update their voter identification address. For these, one would need proof of residency. The proof often includes utility bills or a lease agreement. The residency requirement is 28 consecutive days at a current address. Lau states that residents can obtain a free ID card for voting purposes through the DMV. 

 

 

 

Anyone with questions regarding voter registration or obtaining an ID can contact their city or county clerk. Citizens can file applications for an ID at a local DMV Customer Service Center or wisconsindmv.gov/centers. 

  

 

COVID-19 cases bump up again

Door County Public Health reported another uptick of COVID-19 cases on Thursday, a day after showing the highest number of positive tests in over a month with nine.  With seven of the 26 test results performed being confirmed cases, the positivity rate reflected 26.9 percent which was higher than the state’s 15.4 percent on Thursday.  The number of active cases in Door County increased to 65 while no deaths or new hospitalizations were reported.  The Wisconsin Department of Health Services announced 490 more confirmed positive tests for the coronavirus and two deaths with 52 more people hospitalized.  So far this week, 1042 doses of the vaccine have been administered in Door County and 324 in Kewaunee County. 

 

Sol comes back to life

Like most events in 2020, the inaugural Sol Grass Music Festival on Washington Island had to be canceled, but the two-day bluegrass event is trying to make a comeback. The first annual Sol Grass Music Festival will now occur at the Washington Island Campground on June 25th and 26th. Backroads Events in Colorado is putting on the festival. Marketing Director Erin Larwick emphasizes the need to be flexible, as they have been conscientious of the current climate. Larwick is wary of finalizing details and creating expectations. 

 

 

While modifying an event to comply with CDC guidelines can be a challenge for anybody, Larwick believes Washington Island has some inherent advantages for social distancing. 

 

 

Music will begin in the afternoons, offering event-goers the chance to explore the island during the day. Larwick’s business partner at Backroads, Pat Schmidt, was inspired to place the event at Washington Island after spending summers in the town where much of her family resides. One guarantee about the event is that it will be rich in Wisconsin flavor. Local brewers will provide drinks, and the music line-up is mostly Wisconsin classic and progressive bluegrass bands. 


 

Bands performing include: 

 

  • The Cherry Pickers
  • Chicken Wire Empire
  • Armchair Boogie
  • Sortin’ the Mall
  • Pine Travelers
  • The Cody Sisters Band 
  • Chain Station
  • Miles over Mountains 
  • Humbird

Luxemburg banks on internet for growth

Village President Jack Seidl hopes developers and new businesses come to Luxemburg as quickly as the new internet speeds they will be getting in the near future. Cellcom announced this month the village’s acceptance of their proposal to provide fiber-to-the-premises internet, TV, and voice services to every address. With the new technology, users could see speeds up to one gigabit a second. Internet speeds have been a source of frustration in the community, and the county’s plan to install seven towers for broadband service would have very minimally impacted the village. Seidl hopes with more people working from home and businesses looking to expand that improving the area’s internet will help Luxemburg on their mind.

Seidl says Cellcom expects to begin work on the network later this spring with hopes of completing the project in 2022. Some homes and businesses could experience faster speeds through the service before the end of the year. Products and prices are expected to be similar to what is offered in other areas.

 

Picture courtesy of Pixabay

Quantum PC celebrates nine years

From the kitchen table to a storefront along Sturgeon Bay’s 8th Avenue, Quantum PC Services has come a long way in its nine years. The computer repair and IT services company celebrated its anniversary earlier this month. Founder and President Nathan Drager started the company simply fixing computers before expanding his operations to include network designs and installation for phone systems, Wi-Fi set-ups, security systems, and more. Recent accolades like the 2019 Door County Economic Development Corporation Entrepreneur of the Year Award and the U.S. Small Business Administration Rural Business of the Year Award in 2020 have allowed Drager to take a breath and realize he is not at the finish line yet.

Quantum PC Executive Vice President Erin Helgeson says the pandemic opened their eyes to some of the tech challenges in the community.

The company is keeping itself busy as it starts its ninth year of operations as an equipment installer for the Starlink satellite Internet service, which is expected to bring faster speeds to homes and businesses across the peninsula.

Bringing ice breaking missions into the future

A bipartisan effort to keep icebreakers like the locally docked United States Coast Guard Cutter Mobile Bay busier is underway in Washington D.C. Republican Rep. Mike Gallagher and Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin have recently reintroduced the Great Lakes Winter Commerce Act in their respective chambers. Under the bill, the United States Coast Guard would be required to provide an annual report on its icebreaking missions, coordinate with local industries on its efforts, and authorizes $350 million for the construction of a new vessel to pave the way for Great Lakes commerce. Gallagher said earlier this month that insufficient icebreaking can cost the country a lot of money.

The bill would codify into law the United States Coast Guard’s ice-breaking mission, which is still working off of an executive order signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. In both chambers, the bill is waiting for committee approval.

High schools get creative with spring productions

The show is still going on at least two local high schools despite the ongoing pandemic. Both Kewaunee High School and Southern Door High School filmed their productions ahead of their online debuts so audiences could enjoy them at home. Social distancing protocols were in place, which means there is a limited number of actors on stage at once and masks worn when necessary. Kewaunee High School filmed three productions this spring: The Importance of Being Earnest, Gossip: Virtual Edition, and Purple Ink. Southern Door High produced Hello My Baby! before holding a red carpet event over the weekend. Senior Brady Tooley plays the lead in the musical and says just because it was filmed does not mean the pressure was off.

Kewaunee High School’s three productions were released last week and are available on the school district’s YouTube page. You can purchase a streaming pass for Southern Door’s Hello My Baby! production online to view the musical at your convenience.

ATV riders revving up

The beginning of spring could bring more ATV riders to roadways in Kewaunee County. It has been almost a year since Kewaunee County passed its ATV/UTV ordinance. It has been adopted by 10 townships and the Village of Casco since then with only the Village of Luxemburg, the cities of Algoma and Kewaunee, and the Town of Franklin not allowing ATVs and UTVs on their roadways. Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski says they have had zero issues with riders violating the ordinance. That could be attributed to the type of riders taking advantage of the ordinance.

In the municipalities that have approved the ordinance, ATV riders using the roads have to be at least 16 years old with a valid driver’s license and stay away from areas with a  posted speed limit above 35 miles per hour. You can learn more about the subject from Sheriff Joski below:

 

 

With the warmer weather upon us and the start of the recreational season soon to begin, I thought it may be a good idea to provide an update regarding local ATV/UTV ordinances. I have written on this topic numerous times, but due to the fact that this is a local authority issue which rests with the various Towns, Cities and Villages, I wanted to make sure everyone is updated on where you can and cannot operate these units here in Kewaunee County.

            

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

            

Thus far, the communities that have authorized use of ATV/UTV units on their local roads are as follows: The Towns of Ahnapee, Casco, Carlton, Lincoln, Montpelier, Pierce, Red River, Luxemburg, and West Kewaunee. In addition, the Village of Casco has also authorized the use of ATV/UTV units on their Village streets. Please note that as of this time, the Cities of Kewaunee and Algoma, along with the Village of Luxemburg and the Town of Franklin have not authorized the use of these unit on their respective streets and/or roads. Please respect these decisions and refrain from using their roads with these units, until such time that they authorize their use.

             

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

           

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

            

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

           

I want to thank those communities who have embarked on this endeavor of allowing these units on their roads. While I will be the first to acknowledge that such co-mingling of recreational vehicles with standard motor vehicles is not my ideal public safety traffic environment, we can be proud that we created consistent and common sense criteria surrounding such use throughout Kewaunee County. If you would like to view our county ordinance, please go to our website at: www.kewauneeco.org

 

 

Door County COVID-19 cases jump

Door County saw its highest number of reported positive COVID-19 tests in over a month on Wednesday. The latest numbers showed nine new positive COVID-19 tests, the highest it has been since the county reported 10 on February 1st. Active cases in Door County increased by seven to a total of 56. The state Department of Health Services reported 318 new confirmed positive tests along with 15 deaths. The state continues to vaccinate against COVID-19 at a record pace, averaging over 27,000 per day. This week, 227 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Door County and 157 in Kewaunee County.

 

DOOR COUNTY

Tests Performed: 16,629 (+27)
Positive: 2,451 (+9)

Probable: 206 (+2)
Negative: 13,972 (+16)

Active: 56 (+7)

Deaths: 20 

Total Ever Hospitalized: 84 

Southern Door awarded grant

Southern Door County School District received a Technology for Educational Achievement (TEACH) Informational Technology Infrastructure grant. The school district was awarded $28,506, which will help ensure wide-range, robust internet access to students and staff. The grant will also aid upgraded network infrastructure. District Instructional Technology and Library Services Coordinator Nate Smithson said this grant would help replace switches, servers, and aging technology. This grant can also ensure proper and long-lasting care of new equipment. Smithson considers this grant to be a collaborative effort between administration, district leadership, and Technology Systems Manager Josh Klopf.

 

Southern Door just missed the cut last year for the grant. Smithson points out the likelihood of receiving grant funds depends on how many schools apply and a variety of other factors. 

 

 

 

 

 

This is part of a series of grants from the Department of Administration that will be going to school districts. The department’s Secretary, Joel Brennan, announced that in Wisconsin, 141 school districts and libraries would receive a collective $3 in TEACH grants this year.

 

Sturgeon Bay to bid on research facility

Sturgeon Bay will be working on a bid to locate a UW-Green Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) in the municipality. Other cities under consideration are Green Bay and Marinette. Mayor David Ward outlined the idea stating that the reserve would be more than just an office. He noted that typically the reserve would have displays and museum-like qualities, with research teams stationed there periodically, and a vessel. Ward considered the potential project to be a continuation of last year’s comprehensive plan the city adopted to use the nearby waters for research purposes more often. 


 

 


 

Sturgeon Bay has been endorsed as a site by the Door County Economic Development Corporation and is seeking more organizations to endorse the city as a site. The topic got glowing reviews at Tuesday's Common Council meeting from members as it was mentioned that Sturgeon Bay could be a prime location for this opportunity. It was also expressed at the meeting that this could strengthen the relationship between UWGB and the city of Sturgeon Bay. 

 

The project is currently in the process of gaining public input until October of this year. There is a slight overlap in the project steps. In June, the “site nomination and boundary lineation” process is set to take place. In August of 2022, the site nomination will head to the Governor’s office for approval.

 

(Photo courtesy of UW-Green Bay) 

 

Egg Harbor denies Dollar General project

The Town of Egg Harbor Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to reject a proposal by Dollar General to build a store on Highway 42 and Hillside Road.  Supervisor Steve Schopf says the decision earlier this week by the board was made over traffic safety concerns at the intersection.  He says his experience as the Egg Harbor Fire Chief has seen many accidents at the location and the development would increase the traffic load greatly.

 

 

The developer for Dollar General appealed to the board that the proposed building plan met the merits of the commercial application.  Schopf notes that the developer has a right to reapply again for the development if traffic improvements can be made to make the intersection less dangerous.  The Town of Egg Harbor is the second Door County municipality to reject a proposed Dollar General Store.  The Village of Sister Bay denied a similar project that did not meet impervious surface issues in December of 2019. 

Boaters launch in Kewaunee

For the first time in nearly two years, boats were able to launch from the City of Kewaunee’s marina last weekend. High water made it difficult for boats to launch and repairs to be made the last two years before city crews were able to place the docks and make other adjustments to the site. The launch ramps opened just in time for unseasonably warm temperatures and open waters. Kewaunee Mayor Jason Jelinek says it was good news for the community.

Nearby Salmon Harbor Marina served as a lifeline for the sportfishing community, allowing public launches the last two summers before announcing last week it would go back to allowing only its seasonal customers. Jelinek says the city is still looking into purchasing the property after grant funding from the U.S. Department of Economic Development fell through. He added that a public-private partnership would increase their chances of securing the grant in the future.

Jelinek hopes to involve the community more in the process as they approach the topic again in the future. He hopes to restart those conversations at a Committee of the Whole meeting within the next month.

Door County and Kewaunee County show no new positive cases

After Tuesday’s COVID19 report from both Door and Kewaunee County, the number of positive tests remains the same for each county. Door County had zero positive tests out of the thirteen tests administered. Neither county had any new hospitalizations or deaths reported on Tuesday. 

 

In Wisconsin, 28,198 residents have received a vaccination dose this week. In Door County, 29.3% of residents have received at least one dose and 18.5% have completed the vaccine series. Those numbers are a little lower in Kewaunee County, where 19.8% of residents have received the vaccine and 11.2% have completed the series.

 

 

Kewaunee County 

DCMC receives honor

Door County Medical Center has been recognized as one of the top 100 critical access hospitals in the country. The Chartis Center for Rural Health program honors outstanding performance among the nation's rural hospitals based on objective assessment. Door County Medical Center Chief Executive Officer Brian Stephens credits the entire DCMC team to personify the organization's values.

 

 

Stephens shares the criteria used to evaluate over 1300 rural hospitals' performances designated as critical access by Medicare.

 

 

This is the 11th Annual recognition program honoring outstanding performance using the Hospital Strength INDEX. Stephens adds that being in the top 100 puts DCMC among the highest eight percent of hospitals nationally.

New group moved up for vaccine eligibility

On Tuesday Governor Tony Evers and the Department of Health Services announced that individuals age 16 and older with certain medical conditions will be eligible for the COVID19 vaccine starting March 22. This date is earlier than previously expected. This eligibility group includes individuals with medical conditions associated with an increased risk of severe illness with COVID19. Governor Evers stated in the press release that vaccinators across the state are doing great work to get folks vaccinated and because of their good work, Wisconsin continues to be a national leader in getting shots in arms.

 

Granary transformation earns architecture award

The Teweles and Brandeis grain elevator in Sturgeon Bay is getting international attention before work even begins on the structure this spring.  The transformation plans for the granary by Boston/Milwaukee-based LA DALLMAN recently won the Progressive Architecture Award. It was one of six projects to earn recognition from an international pool of 125 submissions. The design, which is also featured on the cover of the Journal of the American Institute of Architects, shows the century-old building turned into a civic event space, trail hub, and educational facility. Visitors will be able to go through the cellular storage bins inside the granary and peer out of its head house. Sturgeon Bay Historical Society Executive Director Beth Renstrom believes the award will just add to the allure of the building once it is able to open to the public.

The award announcement comes as one of the public’s first glimpses of the proposed project. Renstrom hopes it inspires others to support it.

Renstrom says construction on the granary will begin this spring, but admits there is no crystal ball for when the project will be completed.

 

Photo Courtesy of LA DALLMAN

 

 

Retiring TV host to continue church singing

A local TV news anchor uses his vocal talents on Sundays at area churches, including St. Joseph Catholic Church in Sturgeon Bay. Kevin Rompa of WBAY TV-2 in Green Bay, who is retiring this week after 32 years as the Morning Show host, sang at St. Joseph’s this past Sunday while being accompanied by his wife Maureen on the organ. For the past ten years, the couple has helped out at numerous churches in the Green Bay Diocese on weekends, including St. Francis in Brussels and St. Louis in Dyckesville. Rompa says he enjoys performing song arrangements with his wife that are both beautiful and spiritual.

The Rompas will be bringing their musical abilities to the choir loft at St. Joseph’s again this coming Sunday, two days after Kevin’s last broadcast anchoring the morning news on Friday. A Winona, Minnesota native whose broadcast career started in 1983, Rompa plans on enjoying more singing and traveling in retirement while not having to get up at 2:30 a.m. every weekday.  

Door County approves gap funding for Merdian Park addition

Meridian Park in the Town of Baileys Harbor will be growing a bit by mid-summer.  The Door County Finance Committee approved $24,000 from the Unassigned Fund Balance to buy four-acres of property adjacent to the park.  That money will allow the land to be purchased from the Estate of Betsy Light by the previously set deadline of April 1st.  That money will be repaid as donations and grants come in.  Door County Administrator Ken Pabich says adding that property to the 180-acre park will offer new benefits to the public.
 



Pabich says once the purchase is closed on July 1st the property and the waterfront will be immediately available for public use. The full County Board of Supervisors will vote on final approval when it meets next week.

COVID-19 cases remain low, zero deaths in state

The news on the coronavirus remained optimistic both on the local and statewide levels Monday.   

Door County Public Health reported just four confirmed COVID-19 cases out of the 30 tests performed since last Friday.  The number of active cases did increase by one to 49, but three recoveries were noted. 

 

Kewaunee County disclosed only one confirmed case of the coronavirus out of the 73 test results reported since Friday.  The number of active cases went down to just six with two recoveries.

There were no deaths over the weekend, but one additional hospitalization was reported in Kewaunee County.  

 

DHS numbers show that Door County had vaccinated 1,776 adults last week while Kewaunee County administered 767 vaccine doses.  Nearly 30 percent of all Door County residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine while close to 20 percent in Kewaunee County.

 

The Department of Health Services reported no COVID-19 deaths on Monday and 30 additional hospitalizations with 294 more positive tests. 

 

 

Second-hand stores thriving in pandemic world

People spending more time at home have offered good news for second-hand shops like the Door County Habitat for Humanity ReStore due to the pandemic. ReStore Manager Megan Dietz says the beginning of the pandemic allowed people to take a deep look at their belongings and decide on whether or not they were still needed. Once they reopened in May, the ReStore had to limit its donations to only Tuesdays and Thursday just to give volunteers a chance to safely and quickly clean items so they are ready for bargain hunters. She adds other people picked up new hobbies during the pandemic, which offers new life to some of their older pieces.

All proceeds from the sales at the ReStore go towards affordable housing projects performed by Door County Habitat for Humanity. Dietz hopes they will be able to announce one or possibly two partner families later this month.

Sheriff's Department hopes for speedy K9 recovery

The Door County Sheriff’s Department is working as if they will have their K9 back on the streets later this month. K9 Odinn went into surgery last week after his handler Deputy Matthew Tassoul noticed one of his testicles was extremely large.  After multiple ultrasounds at the veterinarian’s office, K9 Odinn was neutered to prevent further problems and had a cyst removed near his prostate. Tests were done to see if K9 Odinn has any other underlying issues post-surgery. Chief Deputy Pat McCarty says if everything checks out, their dog will be back on the job in Door County.

Until then, McCarty says they will contact the City of Kewaunee Police Department or the Brown County Sheriff’s Department if they are in dire need of a K9. He added there have been no conversations to replace K9 Odinn just in case larger issues with his health arise.

 

Picture courtesy of Door County K9 Odinn Facebook page

Southern Door announces district administrator finalists

Southern Door School District has narrowed its list of candidates for its district administrator position.

 

In a release from the district, Southern Door School Board President Penny Price announced that Southern Door High School Principal Steve Bousley, Assistant State Superintendent of Department of Public Instruction Sheila Briggs, and Howards Grove School District Superintendent Chris Peterson were finalists for the role being vacated by the retiring Patti Vickman.

 

A total of 22 people applied for the position, six of which were interviewed during a special board meeting on Saturday. The second interview for the candidates will take place on March 23rd with the board and a group of local stakeholders.

 

The Southern Door Board of Education expects to announce the new district administrator on April 1st to take over for Vickman when she retires on June 30th.

Thirteen anglers saved in ice rescue

For the second time in a month, first responders had to rescue several ice anglers off the waters of the Bay of Green Bay on Monday morning. 

 

At approximately 8:30 a.m., crews from the United States Coast Guard, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Southern Door Fire Department, Brussels-Union-Gardner Fire Department, Sturgeon Bay Fire Department were called into action near the coastline of the Town of Nasewaupee between Rileys Bay and Idlewild. Rescue boats were launched near Cliff View Road to rescue the ice charter of approximately 13 people. While a handful of anglers were able to walk back to shore, four were brought in by the Sturgeon Bay Fire Department’s rescue boat and six were rescued by the United States Coast Guard. Southern Door Fire Department Captain Rich Olson says ice fishing at this point is too risky.

Olson says everyone was able to get to shore safely and the scene was cleared by 10:30 a.m. March 15th was the last day the DNR was allowing ice anglers to keep ice shanties out on the ice of state waters. The locally docked United States Coast Guard Cutters Mackinaw and Mobile Bay started their ice-breaking missions of the Bay of Green Bay on Monday.  

 

It was just over a month ago when 66 ice anglers had to be rescued by the Coast Guard and other responding agencies.

 

Picture courtesy of the B.U.G. Fire Department Facebook page

Kewaunee County forms jail strategy committee

Building a consensus for how to move forward with the Kewaunee County Jail is the goal of a new committee being formed. Kewaunee County Board Chairperson Dan Olson will nominate himself,  John Mastalir, Gary Paape, and Doak Baker to the Jail Strategy Committee a month after the supervisors failed to approve plans to move forward to Phase 3 of the project. The third phase called for the county to contract with Venture Architects to begin designing the estimated $21 million facility which would include a new jail, 911 dispatch center, and shared lobby to the tune of $179,000 from the general fund. The committee will consist of an even number of supervisors who voted for and against moving forward to Phase 3. Olson knows something needs to be done with the jail, but a consensus has to be found.

The board will vote on the new committee members during Tuesday’s Kewaunee County Board meeting at 6 p.m. It will also hear the first reading of an ordinance regarding the extension of the county’s 0.5 percent sales tax.

 

Picture taken of Kewaunee County 911 Dispatch Center taken prior to COVID-19 pandemic

 

Algoma South Pier repairs and long-term solution coming

Algoma's South Pier will be closed to public access for a short time this spring. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will repair erosion damage from high water levels on Lake Michigan.  Algoma City officials have been seeking federal funding for repairs since the pier became unsafe for public use last year.  Public Works Director Matt Murphy says the Corps could do several days of repair work as early as April.  Murphy says that will include rock work on the south wall and 85-feet of the pier resurfacing that was lost to erosion.  Murphy also says funding for a long-term solution is now in place.

 

 




Murphy says the Corps of Engineers will also be doing work in Kewaunee before coming to Algoma for the South Pier repairs.

Open Door Pride Festival going virtual

The 5th annual Open Door Pride Festival in Sturgeon Bay will take on a different look this summer than in past years. The event that typically draws hundreds of attendees every year will be done virtually on June 26. Founding member and chair Cathy Grier says that although a big gathering won't be happening at Martin Park, rainbow flags and the Sandy Brown Award presentation will commemorate the day.

 

 

Grier is excited to bring in videos from musicians, poets, and storytellers as part of the live-streaming event. People can submit a video relating to the "What's my pride" project as part of a competition. Open Door Pride promotes diversity through inclusion for all and schedules events in June during National LGBTQ Pride Month every June. Nominations for an individual or organization that best exemplifies Open Door Pride's mission are still being accepted for the Sandy Brown Awards. 

 

 

Change coming to phone calls

Wisconsin residents will have to dial 10 digits to make local calls starting this fall. Right now, people in Wisconsin can place a call to a number in the same area code without dialing the area code. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that beginning Oct. 23, people will need to include the area code in all calls. The change will be for both landlines and cellphones and will affect cell phones in all six of Wisconsin’s area codes. Wisconsin joins 24 other states in switching to ten-digit dialing.

 

(Photo from Associated Press)

Lake Michigan flood risks lower than 2020

Emergency Management officials in Door and Kewaunee Counties will be able to focus more on COVID-19 responses and less on flooding.  While temperatures are rising and the snowpack is melting, flooding could be less of a threat for those living along Lake Michigan and the bay of Green Bay.  Door County Emergency Management Director Dan Kane says that's due to lower water levels from this same time in 2020.

 




Kane says the lower lake levels are likely not a fluke.  He points to 100-year data from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers which shows conditions on Lake Michigan may now be moving in the opposite direction.

 



Kane says the biggest contributors to flooding on Green Bay and Lake Michigan are high winds.

Dog drives into building

A Sturgeon Bay art gallery suffered minor damage Saturday after a dog drove a sports utility vehicle into the side of the Fairfield Building. Megan Lundahl of Pearl of Door County heard the crash of a later model Jeep Grand Cherokee into the exterior of her store. The accident occurred about 10:45 am Saturday morning when an apparently parked vehicle crossed through Michigan Street with only a dog inside. Lundahl, who was alone in the store at the time, saw an unfazed border collie-like dog sitting in the vehicle that plowed into the building. Fortunately, she says no one was hurt, and the jolt to the building caused dented-in windows and a crack in the interior wall.

 

 

Lundahl adds that the vehicle owner was visiting the business across the street when the incident happened. She playfully says that with her store planning a move to a new location on South Third Avenue, "it was God's way of telling her to get moving." No injuries were reported, and more details will be made available on Monday from the police report. 

 

(above photo courtesy of Stove Dog Bakery)

 

 

 

 

DNR to resume in-person Hunter Safety

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has announced that on April 1st, instructors will be allowed to hold traditional, in-person Hunter Safety Courses. This also includes archery education. The DNR's Recreational Safety and Outdoor Section will  collaborate with volunteer instructors and partners to reopen. Instructors may start to enroll traditional classes on Monday. 

 

Safety protocols will be in place such as a maximum of fifty participants in each class and outdoor instruction when possible. Door County DNR Conservation Warden Chris Kratcha says this year will be visually different.

 

 

 

 

Kracha mentions that hunters should be able to find out where and when courses are being offered on the Wisconsin DNR website once they start being scheduled. While he doesn’t know any details yet, Kracha does believe there will be courses held in Door County. There also is a fully online option that was available to more than just adults.   

 

 

 

 

 

The warden also talked about the rising popularity of the internet field-days. This is passing the test online and then finding a field-day course to spend approximately four hours working on firearm safety techniques. With limited field courses in the state last year, Kracha said he was amazed how far people would travel from to take the course in Door County. He said some would even make a vacation out of it.

 

Adopt A Soldier Door County leads fundraising effort

The planning stages are underway for the Door County Sheriff’s Reserves to receive three Automatic External Defibrillator units. The organization Adopt A Soldier Door County is spearheading this process since they were asked by the Reserves Dept. to assist. Adopt A Soldier will be working with local VFW’s, American Legions, and Marine Corps leagues to raise the necessary $7000 in what is labeled a veteran-sponsored project. Along with the AED units, the proceeds will purchase extra charging units, batteries, and cases. 

 

The purpose of these new portable units is that the Reserves will have three readily available at events where Reserves personnel is present. The plan is for the AED’s to be part of a portable kiosk that would also feature a first-aid kit and a fire extinguisher. The portable kiosk would be identified by a light and a flag, which would make it simpler for emergency personnel to locate. Adopt A Soldier’s President Nancy Hutchinson was excited about the convenience of having these devices at local events. 

 

 

 

 

 

It has been a fast start to the donation process. As Lars Johnson of Al Johnson’s has donated an entire defibrillator, Door County Medical Center has donated $1,000, and two other private donors have stepped up. As of now, the project has raised enough to purchase two defibrillators. 

 

Door County providing fitness break and tourism during pandemic

Door County will likely continue to draw bikers and kayakers this summer looking to maintain their physical and mental health as the pandemic continues.  Last year's delayed summer tourism season drew visitors who'd been cooped up all winter and were looking for safe, healthy fun.  David Rack, the co-owner of Door County Kayak Tours, saw more people kayaking for the first time because it naturally provided social distancing.  Rack also says he saw more electric and fat-tire bike rentals.  Business was so good that the company saw interest in winter biking.



 






The winter rental momentum is expected to carry over into spring and summer.  Rack expects more repeat customers who've discovered fitness destinations close to home.



 






Rack says going to winter biking for the first time was a bit of a no-brainer.  He wanted to keep himself and his employees working a bit longer.

Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal to open

The U.S. Coast Guard reports that Coast Guard Cutters Mackinaw and Mobile Bay will be kicking off the break out of the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal on Monday. In the afternoon, Motor Vessel Kaye E. Barker departs Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding and will proceed west and then north into the bay of Green Bay. On Tuesday, Captain of the Port Lake Michigan will open the southern half of Green bay to commercial navigation. This area was previously closed but will reopen and the cutters will create a rack through the ice from Sturgeon Bay to the Fox River entrance. The Port of Green Bay resumes commercial shipping activity on March 18th. 

 

The frequency of ice-breaking efforts is expected to increase next week as ice conditions deteriorate. This winter was unlike previous ones, as regional ice cover did not reach traditional thickness. All snowmobile, ATV operators, ice fishers, and other recreational ice users should recognize the ice's instability and be cautious near ice. 

 

 

Photos courtesy of the US Coast Guard 

Casco Comets member takes in Agri-science Summit

It has been a week and Casco Comets 4-H member Savannah Bailey is still beaming about her experience at the National 4-H Youth Summit on Agri-science. Instead of taking place in Washington D.C., Bailey and other 4-H members from across the country tuned in from home on their devices. Participants got to meet with other delegates from across the country and listen to speakers from agriculture-related fields. It was an opportunity for Bailey to connect with other 4-H members and professionals pursuing a career in animal science. She says she was able to take a lot away from the three-day summit.

Despite taking place virtually, Bailey says she was able to interact with kids and made a few friends along the way. She hopes she will have the opportunity to participate again when National 4-H Youth Summits return to in-person events.

 

 Picture courtesy of Kewaunee County 4-H from when Savannah and her brother Wyatt exhibited sheep at the North American International Livestock Show.

Operation Fresh Start continuing in Door County

Jail Lieutenant Kyle Veeser recalls it was about three years ago when the Door County Sheriff’s Department Office put Operation Fresh Start in place to help strengthen families, the community, and reduce recidivism rates. The initiative which has been going steady for approximately two years, is a joint effort with jail ownership and community stakeholders. While there is no numerical data to reveal the operation’s impact, Veeser does believe it has been impactful. He has heard stories that some people who’ve come through the program have received jobs in the area. He also knows of some others who’ve been through the program and haven’t returned to jail and have turned their lives around. 

 

 

 

 

Veeser believes future evidence will show that the program has made a lasting change in people’s lives and their communities. Veeser also credits modules that are part of the program surrounding education, mental health services, employment, communication skills, relationships, financial education, and community resources that help build relationships for inmates once they are released. All these modules are in place to help make inmates stronger members of society once they are released. 

 

Crossroads improving local environment

Crossroads At Big Creek's Program Director, Coggin Herringa, is looking forward to the positive influences the Ecological Restoration Plan for 2021 will bring to the area. Using this plan, Herringa is hoping to restore the wetlands and restore the water in Big Creek. This plan includes planting at least 4,000 trees this year. Along with the trees, they are also planning on removing invasive species and replacing them with plants beneficial to the ecosystem. This plan will be carried out by contractors and staff of Crossroads and people Herringa describes as Habitat Healers.

 

 

Herringa hopes that with this Restoration Plan, other people will learn from Crossroads as an example of how to help the environment and Door County's waters.

 

 

 

Algoma School District introduces Venture Academy

A new learning experience at Algoma School District is accepting enrollment for the upcoming school year. The Algoma Venture Academy is a public charter school within the district for kids entering 7 through 12. Instead of the traditional classroom setting, Algoma Venture Academy students will be engaged in project-based learning and will be assessed based on competency exams and a portfolio. The academy was born out of the Live Algoma initiative that has seen the concept of community-based learning take the spotlight. Algoma School District Director of Improvement and Community Engagement Teal Van Lanen says many of its students wanted to get engaged in the real world while still earning credit.  She adds that many of them want to build on what they already know and put it to good use in the community.

Enrollment began earlier this week and will be limited to 40 students in its first year. Van Lanen says Algoma Venture Academy students will still be able to ride the bus, eat lunch, and participate in extracurricular activities with their peers in the traditional setting.

 

More information on the Algoma Venture Academy can be found here

Washington Island Government Center project open to bidding

An idea that has been in motion for approximately four years at Washington Island has now taken a step forward. Operations and storage will be getting more spacious city government and emergency personnel. On Wednesday, Door County’s Facilities and Parks reviewed the drawing of the Washington Island Government Center project. The county bought the old Island Dairy building previously owned by Island Lavender Farm. This building will be converted into a Government building and will house ambulances and be used for other government functions. Now that the drawing is complete, the project has been opened to bidders.

 

 

 

 

Once a bid is accepted by the Facilities and Parks Committee, the next step would be for the Door County Board to authorize the project.

 

 

The old Island Dairy building

Door County Dive Team completes training

On Thursday, the Door County Dive Team completed their monthly training and final ice diving training for 2021. The Door County team is also now an alert team, which means they are one of six teams in Wisconsin that could get called anywhere in the state where they may need emergency dive. 

 

Sgt. Jason Albertson, with the Sturgeon Bay Police Department and Dive Team Commander, mentions that working around people’s various schedules, unpredictable weather, and ice conditions are the biggest impediments to finding the time to train. Albertson noted that January’s weather did not cooperate with the team and that February’s training session was miserably cold. 

 

 

 

 

The commander also warned people of the current ice conditions and believes they should use extreme caution if they plan to use the ice, but he wouldn’t recommend being on the ice at this time. 

 

 


 

The team is multi-jurisdictional and comprises members of the State Patrol, DNR, EMS, Sturgeon Bay Fire Department, Sturgeon Bay Police Department, and the Door County Sheriff’s Department.

 

(Photo courtesy of the Sturgeon Bay Police Department) 

 

Open Door Bird Sanctuary introducing owl

When Saturday’s “Off-Season Day” at Open Door Bird Sanctuary rolls around, they will also be introducing a new friend. ODS will be introducing Forest, their new Long-eared owl who comes from a sanctuary in Illinois. The owl is the first of its kind that has lived at the sanctuary. Open Door’s Executive Director Rob Hults says Long-eared owls are not common in this part of Wisconsin and are medium in size, among other unique facts about them. 

 

 

 

 

 

Hults considers the sanctuary, which gives homes to birds of prey who have suffered injuries that make them unfit to survive in the wild to be fortunate. They were able to offer their on-site services because they are an outdoor facility. Though their outdoor auditorium has to abide by COVID19 mitigation protocols, other operations have remained typical. Off-site bookings are also picking up, which Hults considers great not only for business but also for education. 

 

While it is not yet in-season for the sanctuary, their days they’ve opened in the off-season have been well-received. So much that they scheduled a second one this year for Saturday, the birds will be on exhibit and other opportunities for patrons to have outdoor fun. 

 

 

 

 

Hults describes the organization's mission to be two-fold, providing homes for injured birds and providing natural and environmental education. 

 

COVID-19 cases bump up

Door County Public Health disclosed four confirmed cases of COVID-19 from the 30 test results reported on Friday.  The number of active cases remained at 46, with no new hospitalizations or deaths reported.


Kewaunee County noted four new cases of the coronavirus since Tuesday from their 44 test results. The number of active cases decreased to seven as seven more recoveries were noted.  There were no current deaths or people hospitalized at this time.


On the vaccination front, DHS numbers show that Door County has vaccinated 1,261 adults this week, while Kewaunee County has administered 596 doses of the vaccine. 

 

 

Bronze Award project aims at Kewaunee park

A group of Girl Scouts in Kewaunee are banking on Thin Mints and Tagalongs to help them improve a local park. Kewaunee Girl Scout Troop 4160 is raising funds through their cookie sales to help make improvements at Selner Park this spring and summer. The improvements include repainting the playground equipment, staining nearby benches, and fixing the park’s west staircase. Eleven-year-old Bella Bertrand says not only does the project allow her to hang out with her fellow Girl Scouts, but it also makes the community a better place.

With a little help from the weather and some extra cookie sales opportunities this month, Bertrand hopes they are able to finish the project by the end of April. The Bronze Award is the top honor a Girl Scout Junior can receive and the third highest in the organization. Girl Scout Juniors have to complete a journey program, build their team, and execute a service project to earn the Bronze Award.

 

You can watch a video detailing their efforts by clicking this link

Liberty Grove looks at short-term rental zoning

Like others in Door County, the Town of Liberty Grove is taking a look at its zoning concerns when it comes to short-term lodging rentals. The Town of Liberty Grove Board and its plan commission hosted Bruce McCaskill from Granicus on Wednesday. The digital government solutions company would help the town monitor the homes being used for short-term rentals, some of which are not located in commercial areas. It is also causing concern for nearby residents who are worried about noise and possible groundwater implications. Town chairperson John Lowry says it is becoming a growing issue across the area and around the country.

The town’s plan commission is working on an ordinance addressing the issue and it could be ready by the end of the month. The Village of Sister Bay and the Town of Sevastopol have also taken up the issue of short-term rental regulations over the last few months.

Wood burner source of Brussels fire

The structure housing an outdoor wood burner in Brussels was damaged after it caught fire late Thursday night.

 

Crews from the Brussels-Union-Gardner Fire Department were dispatched at approximately 11:40 p.m. to the home on Misere Road in the town of Brussels. Upon arrival, they found that the home’s owner had put out most of the blaze with a garden hose before it started to spread to a nearby woodpile. An exact cause has not been determined, but BUG Fire Chief Curt Vandertie says it was likely a loose ember that started the structure on fire. He added that if it was not for a passerby that alerted the homeowner and the proper authorities, it could have been worse.

A tarp covering the woodpile was also damaged in the fire. Crews from the BUG Fire Department were able to leave just shortly after 12:30 a.m.

 

Picture courtesy of BUG Fire Department

Vandalism reported at Sturgeon Bay park

Local law enforcement responded to a pair of vandalism incidents in the City of Sturgeon Bay this week.

 

On Tuesday, the Sturgeon Bay Police Department responded to the report of vandalism at Sunset Park just after 7 p.m. The officer found a lewd picture of a male body part spray-painted near the park’s second entrance.

 

Two days later, the Door County Sheriff’s Department notified deputies of another lewd picture of a naked woman and a male body part spray-painted at a Sturgeon Bay park. The report from the Sturgeon Bay Police Department suggests that it did not appear to be drawn by the same person.

 

The Sturgeon Bay Parks Department has been notified about the vandalism.

Exhibitors prepare for fairs virtually

Exhibitors are getting to show their projects in-person at the Door County Fair and the Kewaunee County Fair this summer, albeit in different ways than they have in the past. Depending on the project, exhibitors have to attend a number of different meetings in order to be prepared for their respective fairs.

 

In Kewaunee County, youth have been able to take advantage of the opportunity to meet with nutritionists and other experts in the agriculture field to learn more about their projects. In some cases, they have also been able to meet in-person in small groups.

 

Door County has been similar, with those involved in animal projects learning through video calls and others having access to the UW-Extension’s services and take-home kits. Door County 4-H educator Dawn VandeVoort says the avenues for learning they have been able to provide have been well received even if the screen time is starting to add up for some families.

VandeVoort is hopeful 4-H will look more normal in the coming months, which would exhibition halls full of projects and more in-person learning activities. The Kewaunee County Fair is July 8th-11th and the Door County Fair is July 28th-August 1st.

Tax benefits from direct IRA charitable contributions

For retirees, using your Independent Retirement Account (IRA) to make donations to your favorite charity has tax benefits.  Attorney Bob Ross of Ross Estate Planning in Sturgeon Bay says anyone over 72 years of age must have required distributions to take money out of their IRAs.  He explains why charitable contributions that come directly out of the IRA make sense for those individuals.

 

 

 Ross says Door County has over 300 non-profit organizations in need of support.  IRA Direct contributions are just quick and tax-friendly ways of making a difference and protecting your legacy, says Ross.

Door County records one new positive test

Thursday’s COVID19 report in Door County showed seventeen tests were conducted with only one positive result. There were no new recoveries noted so the number of active cases increased to 48. The number of deaths and hospitalizations remains unchanged. 

 

Out of all Door County residents, 28.1% have received at least one dose of COVID19 vaccine and 16.4% have completed the vaccine series. In Kewaunee County, 18.4% of residents have received a dose of the vaccine and 10.5% have completed the vaccination series. In Wisconsin, 117,285 residents have been vaccinated this week and over 1.8 million total have received at least a dose of the vaccine.

 

 

 

 

DHS Announces new group to be eligible for vaccine

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services announced Thursday that individuals 16 and older with particular medical conditions will be eligible for the COVID19 vaccine on March 29th. DHS anticipates that the general public will be eligible for the vaccine in May. Governor Tony Evers stated in the press release that he knows this past year has been rough for everyone and urged those eligible and at the highest risk to get vaccinated.

The next eligibility group includes individuals age 16 and over with the following medical conditions:

 

  • Asthma (moderate-to-severe)
  • Cancer
  • Cerebrovascular disease (affects blood vessels and blood supply to the brain)
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Down syndrome
  • Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
  • Hypertension or high blood pressure
  • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant, blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids, or use of other immune weakening medicines
  • Liver disease
  • Neurologic conditions, such as dementia
  • Obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30-39 kg/m2)
  • Overweight (BMI of 25-29 kg/m2)
  • Pregnancy
  • Pulmonary fibrosis (having damaged or scarred lung tissues)
  • Severe Obesity (BMI 40 kg/m2 or more)
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Type 1 or 2 diabetes mellitus
  • Thalassemia (a type of blood disorder)

Due to the limited supply of vaccine and with this next eligible group likely adding more than 2 million individuals in Wisconsin eligible for the vaccine, providers may need to prioritize individuals within this population who are at higher risk. 

 

Door County Public Health news release

 

Washington Island to get vaccines, food boxes

Washington Island residents will not have to hop on a ferry to get much-needed assistance in its fight against the pandemic. For the first time, the Door County Food Pantry Coalition is bringing the USDA’s Farmers to Families food box program to the island on March 12th. Residents will be able to pick up boxes at the Washington Island Fire Department between 4 and 4:30 p.m. In addition, the Door County Public Health Department announced earlier this month it would be bringing a vaccine clinic to the island on March 25th at the Washington Island Airport as well. The waiting list is open to anyone over the age of 16, but priority will still be based on the criteria from the State Department of Health and Human Services.  Washington Island Community Health Program Executive Director Christine Andersen says bringing these services directly to them is important.

Andersen says the pandemic has taxed their resources at WICHP, especially during a four-week period around Christmas when Washington Island experienced a spike in COVID-19 cases and its first deaths of the pandemic.

Faulty wiring causes Nasewaupee fire response

A Nasewaupee home could have suffered a lot worse than a melted electrical receptacle Wednesday afternoon.

 

The Southern Door Fire Department responded to the home on County S in the Town of Nasewaupee just before 2:45 p.m. when the homeowner noticed heat damage around an electrical outlet being used by a charger. Upon further review, firefighters found that some of the screws were not wound tight to the wire.

 

Southern Door Assistant Fire Chief Chuck Cihlar believes the bad connection generated enough heat to start the plastic on the electrical receptacle to catch on fire. He notes the fire never was enough to trip the electrical breaker, but it did provide a lesson for homeowners with old outlets.

Other than a little soot around the outlet and a damaged charger, there was no other damage and there were no injuries. Cihlar says crews were in and out in 15 minutes.

Kewaunee awarded $1.75-million for Fisherman's Point

A key part of the City of Kewaunee's waterfront redevelopment plan is getting a major boost through the Community Development Block Grant program.  The city is getting $1.75-million to acquire, renovate and improve Fisherman's Point.  That process would include removing some existing, blighted buildings.  Kewaunee Mayor Jason Jelinek says a major focus will be to make the property more accessible by reducing flood risks from rising lake levels.

Mayor Jelinek hopes the Fisherman's Point project will eventually lead to additional grant funding toward the $1.8-million purchase of Salmon Harbor Marina.  He believes the project will convince the Economic Development Administration that Salmon Harbor will be an economic boost for Kewaunee.

Mayor Jelinek believes clearing and preparation work on Fisherman's Point will be completed before next winter.

Door County nets one additional active COVID-19 case

Door County inched up one additional COVID-19 case on Wednesday, but continues to be among the state leaders in vaccinating against the virus.

 

Two additional positive tests came back in Door County according to its Wednesday situation report, but noted only one new active case. There are 47 active cases of COVID-19 in Door County. The state reported 516 new cases of COVID-19 and 14 deaths.

 

The area remains among the most vaccinated in the state with 26.9 percent of Door County residents receiving at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccines. Just under 16 percent have completed the series. In Kewaunee County, 17.3 percent of its residents have received at least one dose and just over 10 percent have completed the COVID-19 vaccine series.

 

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.

 

Door County

Tests Performed: 16,512 (+30)
Positive: 2,433 (+2)

Probable: 202
Negative: 13,877 (+28)

Active: 47 (+1)

Deaths: 20 

Total Ever Hospitalized: 83 

 

Wisconsin

Tests Performed: 3,222,808 (+4,701)
Positive: 567,850 (+516)
Negative: 2,654,958 (+4,185)
Deaths: 6,524 (+14)

Total Ever Hospitalized: 26, 630 (+76)

 

Congress passes COVID-19 relief plan

President Joe Biden is expected to sign the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan after the United States House of Representatives passed the legislation along party lines on Wednesday. The COVID-19 relief bill will provide $1,400 direct payments to individuals making less than $75,000 annually, $14 billion in vaccine distribution, and $7 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program among other provisions.

 

In a statement following Wednesday’s vote, Wisconsin’s Eighth District Rep. Mike Gallagher reiterated many of the same themes he discussed with DoorCountyDailyNews.com last week after he voted for the original plan from the House before it was amended by the Senate over the weekend.

Gallagher also blasted how some of the school aid would be used, $350 billion to “bailout blue states,” and a number of other non-COVID-19 related priorities.  You can read his statement below.

 

“Over the course of the past year, Congress has passed more than $4 trillion in Coronavirus relief – nearly $1 trillion of which remains unspent. But instead of waiting to allocate this massive sum of money, my colleagues opted to rush through an additional $1.9 trillion dollar package that the Biden Administration itself admitted is ‘the most progressive piece of legislation in history.’

 

“This bill was fundamentally flawed two weeks ago, and even after being amended in the Senate, is still fundamentally flawed today. We all want to ensure hospitals receive the funding they need to distribute vaccines, schools can reopen, and that individuals hardest hit by the virus can get by. But instead of working across the aisle, President Biden pushed for the wrong plan, at the wrong time, for the wrong reasons. So much for unity.”

Luxemburg discontinuing ATV use on streets

With concerns of an abundance of ATV traffic through Luxemburg, its Luxemburg Village Board voted to discontinue any ATV route planning discussions on a future ordinance will be tabled for at least six months. The decision was a split vote. Board President Jack Seidl understands that this is a decision that will likely upset people in Luxemburg. The board President felt that with board elections in the near future, this would be a better topic for the future board to handle. 

 

 

 

 

Seidl also noted the village lacks a connecting route from its streets to trails outside of the community, like some towns to their north have. This would then leave too many streets able to be driven on. Some members of the board had a feeling ATVs on village streets could breed complaints from residents. 

 

 

 

 

The board will also be keeping a close eye on the procedures that Kewaunee and Algoma use for ATVs and the results they produce. 

 

Ephraim rejects hotel room tax increase proposal

After nearly an hour-and-a-half of discussion, the Ephraim Village Board voted against a resolution that would raise the Door County hotel room tax from 5.5% to 8% beginning in 2022.  The board heard a presentation on how money from the increase could be used to improve visitors' experiences, and how it would be distributed to and used by Door County communities.  Destination Door County would receive 70-percent of the revenues.  Board Member Matt Meacham raised questions about where that money might go.

Meacham added he couldn't support the room tax increase proposal at this time.  Destination Door County CEO Jack Moneypenny explained that there are limitations on how the revenues could be spent.

The village board voted 4-1 against the proposed hotel room tax plan.  However, the board indicated it could discuss the proposal in the future.   

Virtual Concert being held March 14

Midsummer’s Music will be featuring the Griffon String Quartet, as they will be putting on a Spring concert virtually this Sunday at 3:00 P.M. The concert will be streamed on the Griffon’s Midsummer’s Music Youtube channel. The quartet has stayed busy with virtual performances, while conducting instructional courses for students in Door County and Green Bay, including weekly educational videos for the Boys and Girls Club of Door County. 

 

 

Virtual concerts have become normal for Midsummer’s Music, but Executive Director Allyson Fleck is finding ways to do outdoor concerts. She talks about getting to do a test run with an event last Summer with proper precautions. 

 

 

 

  

The quartet strives to be a groundbreaking project to enrich the lives of children and adults throughout Northeast Wisconsin through concerts, workshops, and music education outreach. 

 

 

Luxemburg-Casco Diesel Tech project out for bids

The reality of a Diesel Tech program at the alternative high school building site located in Casco next school year is taking another step closer this week.   The old Middle School building is being repurposed and includes a cooperative effort with Denmark and Kewaunee school districts.  Luxemburg-Casco School Superintendent Glenn Schlender says the project is out for bids. 

 


Schlender says the construction agreements will then go before the school board on March 25 for final approval.  He says construction would begin immediately with plans to initiate the new Diesel Tech program for the 2021-2022 school year.  The instruction would be for the first year of a two-year Diesel Tech program and be the first of its kind in the state.

Mini make-over promotion coming to Sturgeon Bay

Wisconsin Main Street is spearheading a small revitalization project where one local business will win the chance to freshen up its look from the inside-out. If the business wins the grant, they will have to put up $1,000 and Wisconsin Main Street will match. Destination Sturgeon Bay Executive Director Pam Seiler defines this as a project to help a business get a professional set of eyes into their building to help with a “quick turnaround” remodel. Destination Sturgeon Bay’s Executive Director, Pam Seiler believes this will help businesses connect with potential customers.

 

 

 

 

 

The deadline to enter for businesses located within the Main Street boundaries is 8:00 A.M. on March 15th. Interested business owners can find the flyer and application on the member resources tab of sturgeonbay.net. It is required the business space is 1500 sq ft. or less. 

 

(Photo courtesy of Wisconsin Main Street) 

COVID-19 numbers continue to slow

Door County Public Health disclosed only three confirmed cases of COVID-19 from the 25 test results reported on Tuesday.  The number of active cases decreased by one and now stands at 46.  

 

Kewaunee County noted no new cases of the coronavirus on Tuesday from their seven test results.  The number of active cases stayed at 10 and only one person remained hospitalized with COVID-19 at this time.

 

On the vaccination front, Door County Public Health reported that DHS numbers show that Door County has provided about 25.7 percent of the population the first dose of the vaccine, representing over 60 percent of people over the age of 65.

 

A day after reporting no deaths, the state announced 29 COVID-19-related deaths on Tuesday.  Coronavirus cases in the state went up 463 with 70 more people being hospitalized.

 

 

Sister Bay continues reworking transient housing ordinances

The Village of Sister Bay is further clarifying the definitions and ordinances that cover temporary housing in the community's boundaries.  The Plan Commission took the latest steps Monday by redefining and simplifying what is considered residential and transient housing, as well as mixed housing and commercial use.  Village Administrator Beau Bernhoft says the on-going ordinance revisions are an effort to preserve Sister Bay's character while responding to changes in the temporary housing sector. 
 



By further refining, those housing definitions Bernhoft says the village can move forward with revising the permit process.
 



The Village of Sister Bay is working under a self-imposed six-month deadline to revise its housing ordinances, though Bernhoft says the village hopes to have the change made before that deadline.

Graham Park on pace

The city of Sturgeon Bay has a series of projects that are sure to freshen up the community starting with Graham Park. Since breaking ground nearly nine months ago, the project has had an arch placed at the entrance. Sturgeon Bay’s Mayor, David Ward thinks this will be a popular point for residents to take photos under. There also will be a fountain that will feature a sail figure. Ward suggests it is the first the city has had that he can recall. 

 

 

 

 

Much of this project’s funding comes from an anonymous donor. Fundraising was also done through sales of park fixtures such as benches and also the sale of paving bricks. The hope with the project originally was that it would be completed by early May, and Ward believes it is still on pace to be completed then. The Mayor was especially excited to couple the Graham Park project with the promenade being constructed at the west waterfront. The promenade is anticipated to be constructed around the Fourth of July. 

 

Between the projects at Graham Park, the promenade, the Otumba Beach expansion as well as Neenah Avenue getting repaved, Ward predicts 2021 will be a great year for Sturgeon Bay. 

 

 

 

 

The Graham Park project broke ground in June of 2020. 

 

Area balking at earlier school start date

Even if Governor Tony Evers allows it, do not expect area schools to start before September 1st. For over 20 years, it has been state law for school districts to start after September 1st partly because of Wisconsin’s tourism industry. Governor Evers suggested last week that schools could start their academic years sooner and bolster their summer school offerings to make up for almost a year of virtual learning. Destination Door County CEO Jack Moneypenny says virtual or not, schools have been in session nearly the entire time. He added that local businesses would not just be losing workers if school started earlier, but potentially revenue too.

Sturgeon Bay Schools Superintendent Dan Tjernagel does not foresee many local districts adjusting their start dates. In addition to noting the importance of the local tourism economy, Tjernagel also told DoorCountyDailyNews.com most districts were able to hold at least some in-person offerings every day of the school year while others just recently started coming back to the classroom this month. The Wisconsin Legislature would have to approve the change before schools in the state would be allowed to move their date ahead of September 1st. Sevastopol was a recent exception to the rule due to their ongoing construction project.

Lighthouses shine on suicide awareness

They will not guide ships home, but the Door County Mental Health Focus Group hopes lighthouses set up across the area will shine a light on the help available to those contemplating suicide.  In 2020, the Door County Crisis Hotline received 667 calls, 128 of which resulted in workers following up with a more in-depth suicide risk assessment. The public awareness campaign centered around the lighthouses was born after a number of high-profile suicides occurred in the community.  Members of Project 180 at area schools and the Door County Youth Connection Center helped decorate the lighthouses with messages of hope and the number for the crisis hotline. Door County Department of Health and Human Services Deputy Director Cori McFarlane says the number of calls to the crisis hotline has gone up since the pandemic began.

When the work is done, approximately a dozen large lighthouses and several smaller ones will be found in the community. Close to 890 people died of suicide in Wisconsin in 2020, including seven in Door County.

Doctor questions one-dose strategy

Door County Medical Center Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jim Heise believes the jury is still out on a vaccination strategy floated by Wisconsin U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman last week. Grothman cited an Israeli study that showed that one dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine can be up to 85 percent effective in protecting against infection up to a month after inoculation. He also pointed out that in the United Kingdom, where the strategy is also being employed, that death and case rates are lower than in the United States. He is calling on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institute of Health to further consider the single-dose strategy in efforts to get more people vaccines. Heise understands the thought process, but he believes a second-dose is still needed.

Heise stresses people use patience as vaccine phases begin to open up further and production ramps up. The state is expected to receive 48,000 doses of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine this week, though those are primarily earmarked for teachers and childcare workers. The state announced Monday it would declare plans later this week to make the vaccine available to approximately 2 million more people, including those with underlying health conditions.

 

Press Release from Rep. Grothman

Mind over matter can help with dealing with pain – Mental Health Minute

Sharing one’s life lessons can teach you the impact that “mind over matter” can have in overcoming pain and feelings of isolation. Sturgeon Bay psychologist Dr. Dennis White shares a story when he was 11-years-old and successfully unstuck a painted-shut window after many attempts with many family members present.

 

 

Dr. White adds that a person’s thoughts can help control their feeling both emotionally and physically.  A Harvard Health Letter notes approaches like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) can reduce pain and depression while improving physical functioning compared to usual care.   You can listen to Dr. White’s Mental Health Minute on “mind over matter”  below.

 

 

COVID-19 cases staying low, zero state deaths

The Department of Health Services announced no COVID-19-related deaths on Monday.  Coronavirus cases in the state went up 178, the lowest single-day number since last June.  The state also reported just 27 new hospitalizations since Sunday. 

 

The encouraging news on the COVID-19 front also continued locally on Monday. 

 

Door County Public Health reported 17 tests performed since Friday with the actual number of positive tests being reduced by two because of a state adjustment.  Only one probable positive test was noted and active cases went down three to 47. 

 

Kewaunee County noted just one confirmed case of the coronavirus out of the 43 test results reported since Friday.  The number of active cases went do to just 10 with two recoveries.

 

There were no deaths or new hospitalizations reported in either Door or Kewaunee County.

 

 

 

 

Southern Door 5th Grade delivers again at CP Telethon

For over 40 years the Southern Door 5th Grade class has successfully incorporated the school's musical with raising funds for the Cerebral Palsy Telethon in Green Bay.  Sunday morning on WBAY TV-2, the four fifth-grade classes showcased a virtual silent performance of Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" utilizing sign language.  Southern Door Elementary School Principal Corey Vandertie says this year's event looked different but was extra special because of a classmate's direct involvement.

 

 

The 82 Southern Door fifth-graders raised $39,904.58 to this point, with the final numbers still being tabulated.  Vandertie credits the incredible generosity of the community for supporting the annual fundraising efforts again this year.  He says instead of the usual letter campaigns and face-to-face fundraisers, each student established an individual account through the CP Center online to raise funds.  

 

(photo courtesy of Southern Door School District)

Community Foundation forms philanthropic services team

Connecting donors with their passions is the goal of the newly formed philanthropic services team at the Door County Community Foundation. The organization announced John Sabo as its Vice President of Philanthropic Services and Kacie Mueller as its Philanthropic Services Officer. Sabo comes to Door County via St. Norbert College where he serves in a number of different roles as a part of the school’s fundraising efforts. Sabo says he is excited to take on the role to help donors find the charities they love.

Sabo says he appreciates having Mueller on his team because of her connection to the community. Mueller has been with the Door County Community Foundation for the last seven years.

 

Photo courtesy of the Door County Community Foundation

Door/Kewaunee Legislative Days search for youth delegates

They may not be going to Madison this year, but the Door/Kewaunee Legislative Days delegation is looking for a few good youths to join them. In 2019, ten youth joined the delegation to meet with members of the Wisconsin Legislature and state agency officials to talk about topics such as water quality and rural broadband. Kewaunee County UW-Extension Positive Youth Development Educator Jill Jorgensen says this is a great way for area youth to get involved with some of the decision-making that goes on in the Wisconsin Legislature.

There is not much time left to join the youth delegation before the group begins their preparation meetings on March 11th.  Door/Kewaunee Legislative Days will take place virtually in early April. You can find more information about joining the delegation by clicking this link.

Springtime brings brush fires

Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Chief Chris Hecht is using a Sunday afternoon brushfire as a teaching moment as landowners take advantage of the nice weather to do some spring cleanup. The Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Department reported to a home on Appleport Ln. in Sister Bay at approximately 12:45 p.m. to the report of a brushfire. Strong winds pushed the embers from a smaller brush fire into larger piles that later ignited. The department was able to put out the blaze without further damage, but Hecht says people need to remember even though the snow is melting that grass, branches, and other yard materials may be dry.

He also reminds people to keep track of the winds and to make sure they have a valid burn permit from their local municipality.

Pantry face commodities glut due to FoodShare funding

FoodShare recipients are finding more money in their accounts.  And, that's creating a bit of a dilemma for the Kewaunee County Food Pantry and others.  People who had been coming to the pantry for food are now buying more groceries at local markets.  Pantry President Ken Marquardt says his organization now has more frozen meat than people to give it to.

 



FoodShare benefits have been temporarily increased from January through June of this year as part of the coronavirus relief package adopted in December 2020.

Sevastopol School leaving behind time capsule

Everyone has their own way of commemorating their school memories, and Sevastopol School District’s is through time capsules. Less than a year after construction workers found a time capsule from the class of 1982 while breaking ground on the new school site, another time capsule project is planned for someone in the future to stumble upon. The capsule will be an aluminum box containing artifacts, documents, and photos representing today’s students and staff. The box will be placed within the walls of the new school. School Board President Lisa Bieri doesn’t have any specific date in mind about when that would be. 

 

 

Bieri is also hopeful that when the cornerstone of the 1924 structure is removed and archived in the new building, they will find a time capsule left from almost a century ago. 

 

 

Ephraim seek help protecting outdoor resources

The Village of Ephraim is looking to adopt the seven Leave No Trace Behind principles to help become part of the global growing green destination movement. Door County is partnering with the Colorado-based Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics. Those principles include informing visitors ahead of time what they need to know to protect the natural beauty and wildlife native to Door County. The village's Green Tier Ad Hoc Committee heard more about the program from Cambria Mueller, the Community Advocacy Manager with Destination Door County.  Mueller says Leave No Trace Behind organizers is tailoring each community's specific green policies while also sending a unified message about resource protection.

 




The Green Tier Ad Hoc Committee also decided to proceed with further development of plans to provide tree seedlings for property owners and businesses as part of the Big Plant campaign.

Kewaunee High School finds new schedule success

The Kewaunee High School Schedule changes since the beginning of the second semester have been a success. Principal Micheal Bennett reflects on the positives of this schedule as it has been in effect.

 

 

Not only have there been successes, but there have been things Bennett has learned and hopes to keep in the future. One of those being streaming the sports games, something that Kewaunee HS did not implement until this year. Although Kewaunee High School is not entirely in person yet, Bennett hopes that they will soon.

Dunes Lake restoration project nearing successful completion

The Dunes Lake restoration project is nearing the completion of the removal of tons of phosphorus-laden sediment.  The effort began with a 2016 pilot project.  A partnership between the Door County Soil and Water Conservation Department, local property owners and farmers, Ducks Unlimited. and the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program has dredged over 8,000 cubic yards of sediment from the 48-acre lake in the Town of Sevastopol.  Greg Colthurst, with the Soil and Conservation Department, says when the final work is completed, Dunes Lake should offer visitors one more recreational opportunity.



 






Colthurst says the project has cost just over $1.5-million.  Grant funding was made possible by the involvement of the various partners.  Chris Sebastian, with Ducks Unlimited, says the larger impact of the clean-up is why his organization has joined in.



 





So far, about ten-acres of Dunes Lake has been dredged with about another four-acres needed to complete the project.

 

(Photo Courtesy of Ducks Unlimited) 

Treatment Court panel set for discussion

An alternative to incarceration for certain criminal defendants will be explained in length during a panel discussion by Door County officials on March 13.  The virtual event will include a perspective from law enforcement about the role and value of the Door County Treatment Court.  The panel discussion will include Door County Circuit Court Judge David Weber, District Attorney Colleen Nordin, Sheriff Tammy Sternard, and Court Services and Treatment Court Coordinator Kelsey Christensen.  Door County has recently begun accepting defendants into its newly-established treatment court.  Pat Scieszinski of the League of Women Voters of Door County, who is co-sponsoring the event with the Door County Library, says the treatment court was three years in the making and will be held virtually now with hopes for another panel in the fall that will be in person. 

 

 

The virtual Door County Treatment Court panel discussion will be at 10 am on Saturday, March 10.  A link for the online discussion is available on the Calendar section of the Door County Library website.    

Area teachers and student receive awards

Two area teachers were named for a Teacher Fellowship and won $6,000 through the Herb Kohl Foundation. The teachers had to write essays that touched on their skills and accomplishments in their careers. Lisa Mueller, a 34-year-teaching veteran is one of the award’s recipients. Mueller teaches first grade in Sturgeon Bay at St. John Bosco Elementary School. Mueller is a native of the area, was nominated for the fellowship by a school parent, and expressed gratitude for the community that’s supported her over the years. 

 

 

 

 

Southern Door Elementary’s Jessica Meacham was the other award winner and she has been a primary teacher for 18 years. She’s also the founder of the PreK-12 STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) program. Meacham is no stranger to such accolades, as she was Wisconsin’s Rural Teacher of the Year in 2013 and won the award on the national level in 2014. The teachers had to write essays that touched on their skills and accomplishments in their careers. 

Washington Island High School senior, Julia Valentincic was awarded a Student Initiative Scholarship amounting to $10,000 through the same foundation. She will be granted the scholarship upon graduating this Spring. Valentincic carries a 3.96 GPA, and is heavily involved in extracurricular activities including being an officer with the school’s student council, being a part of the school’s cross-country, basketball, trap shooting, and softball programs. Valentincic even plays in the school’s band playing a variety of instruments that include the trumpet, cello, and piano. She will attend St. Norbert this Fall and chase a degree in business, emphasizing mathematics.

This is the 31st year of the Kohl Foundation and Fellowship Program, which was founded by Herb Kohl in 1990, who was a known Wisconsin businessman.

 

(Photo courtesy of the Herb Kohl Education Foundation)

State park campgrounds see boom in summer reservations

Those planning to camp at state parks in Door County this summer will likely find campsites harder to come by.  Reservations for spring and summer have filled up quickly.    That comes as winter weekend camping has been very strong, with the exception of the recent cold snap that sent daytime temperatures into the single digits to below zero and the extreme windchills.  Eric Hyde, the Superintendent of Peninsula State Park in Fish Creek, expects record bookings from Memorial Day through Labor Day.



 






Wisconsin State Parks saw 2020 campground reservations increased six-percent from 2019.  Overall, the park system hosted nearly 21,000,000 visitors last year. 

New retail store opening in Sturgeon Bay

Waterfront Creations in Algoma is growing with another location planned in Sturgeon Bay.  The specialty store will be opening on April 1st and be operating inside the Park Place Plaza on Third Avenue.  Co-owner Kyle Gau says the store will be an artisan marketplace featuring area crafters along with handcrafted goat milk soap and lotions.  He shares what is being done to get ready for the opening next month.

 

 

Waterfront Creations will be the front location at Park Place Plaza in about 400 square feet of floor space. Gau started a pop-up shop three years ago as a junior at Algoma High School and co-owns Waterfront Creations with his mother, Stephanie.  The two owners plan on covering both stores as the hours of operations in Sturgeon Bay are yet to be determined.

 

 

Adopt-A-Soldier Door County aiding veterans

Door County’s Adopt-A-Soldier Program has been working on a new initiative the past couple of months to financially assist local disabled veterans. Adopt-A-Soldier Door County’s mission is to send care packages to local troops in Door and Kewaunee Counties year round as well as provide financial assistance to local veterans in need. The non-profit also aims to help with procedures that aren’t military service-related such as paying in full for several vets to get dentures. The program’s founder and President Nancy Hutchinson, clued doorcountydailynews.com in on a few of the ways they’ve helped out. 

 

 

 

 

Hutchinson also says veterans and interested donors can gather more information and be part of Adopt-A-Soldier’s mission by visiting the Adopt A Soldier-Door County Facebook page or adoptasoldierdoorcounty.org. Hutchinson also encourages those who know a Door or Kewaunee County high school student or other county resident who has recently enlisted in the military to have that service member give Hutchinson a call at (414) 333-6648

 

Kewaunee readies for ACT testing

 

As the Kewaunee High School prepares for their Junior ACT testing day, counselor Steve Meyer describes the new conditions the students will be testing in. During that day, all students besides juniors will be virtual to reduce the number of students in the building. Meyer describes how the day will go.

 

 

Kewaunee will partake in the state-wide testing day on Tuesday, March 9th.

 

Senator forces 11 hour reading of bill

Republican U.S. Senator Ron Johnson received both praise and backlash this week for forcing an 11-hour reading on the Senate floor for the proposed $1.9 trillion COVID19 relief package titled the American Rescue Plan. Johnson cited concerns of spending that would take place in 2022, 2023, and as far as 2028.

 

 

Johnson also voiced concerns of border security. Democratic U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin called for the plan to be passed, stating that this is the “investment our state needs to beat the pandemic, save our economy, and start getting our lives back to normal.” Saturday morning, the Senate passed the bill. 

 

Area cases remain low, second variant strain found in state

Door County Public Health reported three confirmed COVID-19 positive tests on Friday as active cases continue to decline in the area.  With six recoveries, the number of active cases went down to 50. 

 

Only two of the 37 test results reported by Kewaunee County Public Health since Wednesday were confirmed positive for COVID-19.  There were two recoveries noted which kept the active cases at 11. 

 

No new hospitalizations or deaths were reported in either Door or Kewaunee counties this week. 

 

On the vaccination front, Door County has administered 1,879 doses while 739 Kewaunee County residents have received the COVID-19 vaccine.  Wisconsin hit a milestone in the fight against the coronavirus as one million residents have received at least one shot of the vaccine.

 

 The DHS identified a second variant strain of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in the state on Friday.  You can find the complete news release here. 

 

 

 

Employer Expo going virtual

The Ahnapee Apprenticeship program in Door and Kewaunee counties will host a virtual event next week to connect companies with students and possibly future employees.  The first-ever virtual Employer Expo will be Tuesday, March 9, at 10 am.  Over three dozen employers have signed up, and Youth Apprenticeship Coordinator for Door County Erin O'Toole says getting students involved in the local workforce early is essential.

 

 

Consortium Director Jen Johnson says the Employer Expo's virtual format will be interactive and still give businesses a chance to showcase their industries and operations.

 

 

The Youth Apprenticeship program integrates school-based learning to instruct students in employability and occupational skills defined by Wisconsin industries.

 

You can register your business for the Employee Expo here.

 

 

DNR begins prescribed burns to aid plants and wildlife

Drivers shouldn't panic if they see what appear to be wildfires in the Brusky Wildlife Area in Kewaunee County or the Red Banks Alvar State Natural Area near Green Bay.  They may be part of a Department of Natural Resources effort to aid native plants and wildlife.  The DNR will be conducting prescribed burns on those public lands and others starting this month.  Fire crews will be making their presence seen during the controlled fires.  Prescribed Fire Specialist  Michele Witecha says public health and safety will be the top priorities.

 

 

Witecha says the prescribed burns are an effective way to remove thick, dead vegetation.  That aids the growth of native plants that serve as food and habitat for wildlife.

 

 

Residents can get advance notice of the dates of local prescribed burns by logging onto https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/ForestFire/restrictions.asp and use the “Show” pull-down menu to find scheduled burns.

 

(photo courtesy of Wisconsin DNR)

Farmers to Families food boxes coming back

Residents in Door and Kewaunee counties will have more opportunities for food assistance courtesy of Feeding America and the United States Department of Agriculture. The Kewaunee County Food Pantry in Algoma announced it will be hosting another Farmers to Family food distribution event on March 25th after hosting one on February 25th. The Door County Food Pantry Coalition and the United Way of Door County will host similar events in Sturgeon Bay and Sister Bay on March 12th and 26th. Over 1,500 Farmers to Families food boxes were distributed last week between the two counties. United Way of Door County Executive Director Amy Kohnle says it shows the need is still there.

Kohnle says more Farmers to Families food boxes were requested for April, but there has been no word on if that wish will be granted. This is part of the fifth round of Farmers to Families food box program being distributed according to the USDA, which has invoiced 9.7 million food boxes as of March 4th. More details about the upcoming events can be found below.

 

Tooth Fairy nets over $3,000 for dental clinic

Dozens of patients in Door and Kewaunee counties can thank the Tooth Fairy for the additional help keeping their teeth clean. Door County Medical Center recently wrapped up its annual Tooth Fairy campaign for its dental clinic. Instead of collecting teeth, the Tooth Fairy collected over $3,000 from mainly hospital employees to help support the dental clinic’s costs for providing oral health assistance for Medicaid participants and low-income individuals without insurance. Tanya Fischer from the Door County Medical Center Dental Clinic says the dental clinic was closed for a few months last year and invested in several measures to help keep patients and their team safe.

Fischer says the demand for their services has not slowed down since they fully reopened in June. They have also hired two new dentists, Drs. Michelle Shipp and Rachel Sizemore.

 

Pictures courtesy of Door County Medical Center

 

 

Sheriff's Department used in phone scam

There is no Deputy Johnson at the Door County Sheriff’s Department and that is just where a recent phone scam targeting residents begins. The department announced Thursday evening it had received two complaints about a person calling from 920-695-3028 operating under the pseudonym saying there are outstanding warrants for their arrest if they do not post bail. Field Lieutenant Brad Shorteed reminds people the Sheriff’s Department does not conduct business that way.

Shorteed urges people to remain vigilant, not give out personal information, and to contact the dispatch center if other calls from the scammer are received. He added that since they made the initial announcement that there have been no other complaints, but the scammer has also not been tracked down.

 

 

Door County updates COVID19 statistics

Updated COVID19 statistics show little changes from yesterday’s numbers in Door County. The number of tests reported today was 19, and four of the tests turned up positive results. There is no change to the quantity of COVID-related deaths in Door County as that number remains at 20. There also were no new hospitalizations in today’s report. This week Door County has administered 1426 COVID19 vaccination doses and Kewaunee County has administered 456. In the state of Wisconsin 133,459 total doses have been given.

 

The state of Wisconsin performed over 4800 tests today and 677 turned out to be positive. The number of COVID deaths in the state increased by 12 and the number of hospitalizations increased by 51.

 

No dog park in Ephraim

Public opposition and the withdrawal of a private cash donation will mean no dog park in the Village of Ephraim.  That decision came Thursday during a meeting of the Physical Facilities and Utilities Committee.  Jerry and Pam Okarma offered to donate money to build the dog park on village property on German Road.  The lack of a future maintenance plan for the park and residents' letters raising concerns about safety and traffic issues led Jerry Okarma to reconsider his offer.

 




Committee members, however, did not rule out the possibility of a future dog park in Ephraim.

Sturgeon Bay approves $10,000 request

The initial push has been made to fund a plan to improve the fields and facilities associated with Sturgeon Bay school athletics. Sturgeon Bay’s city council approved a $10,000 contribution to the preliminary planning study. While the process is in the very early stages, a group of Sturgeon Bay residents were inspired several years ago to get this idea in people’s minds. One of the residents, Dan Lenius spoke at the city council meeting on Tuesday about how the plan came to be and some of the renovations he and others would like to see. One of the reasons for these upgrades is so Sturgeon Bay could host more events that would bring a lot of spectators to track meets, athletic tournaments, and camps. Improvements include rubberizing the track, a turf infield, improved parking, a building with dry locker rooms, training facilities, concessions, storage room, and a press box. The project was described to be in the “design/development phase.” This phase would need to be completed before capital campaigning. Other logistics that would need to be solved are preliminary and conceptual drawings, getting a general contractor to provide a preliminary budget, survey, electrical plans, engineering plans, plumbing plans, as well as HVAC plans. Lenius did not just have athletics in mind when talking about what attracting more events and spectators can do. 

 

 

 

 

Several other council members thought this would be great for the community and could help area businesses. Councilwoman Helen Bacon cited when she and the rest of the Parks and Recreation Committee were led on a facility tour of Memorial Stadium which offered her perspective on the project. 

 

 

 

 

The Committee commended Lenius on his efforts as the council unanimously voted to approve the $10,000 request. 

 

Farmers show optimism ahead of spring

Farmers in Door and Kewaunee counties can head out to their fields with a smile on their face. The winter weather was ideal for farmers according to Rio Creek Feed Mill agronomist Adam Barta, who says there was enough snow cover on the ground during the cold snap in February, but not too much that ice is forming to protect area fields for the spring planting season. Farmers right now are putting the final touches on their planting and nutrient management plans before they head out to their fields. The good weather, a strong 2020, and higher markets has Barta and area farmers optimistic for 2021.

Barta believes farmers may invest more in planting corn and soybeans compared to past years because of the higher commodity prices. He does warn that storms in Iowa last year have affected some varieties of corn that can be planted.

 

Picture courtesy of Rio Creek Feed Mill

NWTC looks to rebound post-pandemic

Northeast Wisconsin Technical College’s April Konitzer is optimistic about the future as the impact of the pandemic wears down. Enrollment was down approximately 8.5 percent systemwide over the previous year. As the regional manager for the Sturgeon Bay and Luxemburg campuses, Konitzer says gains made from students looking to stay close to home for post-secondary education were offset by others who decided not to go back to save money. With NWTC announcing it would return to in-person classes this fall last month, Konitzer says the staff is very excited by the opportunity.

Some programs will even get a soft launch this fall. The pandemic has not been all bad according to Konitzer, who believes communication between staff members and students has improved because of more flexible schedules and the additional ways to touch base with each other.

 

Picture courtesy of LinkedIn

Recent bills leave Gallagher frustrated

Two bills passed by the Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives are much too partisan for the liking of Republican Rep. Mike Gallagher. Last week he called the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan “the Pelosi payout,” citing that less than 10 percent of the plan goes towards fighting the coronavirus. Gallagher says including the unused $1 trillion from past relief packages and trimming out some of the other projects would have made it easier to support.

On Wednesday, he said the approval of House Resolution 1, which looks to end gerrymandering and place national rules on elections would “only continue to fuel and distrust in our election system.” Gallagher believes more conversations need to take place to address the election system before a bill is passed overhauling it.

Both bills are heading to the Senate based on party-line votes, but they may not have the votes to be passed in the Senate without rule changes. Democratic U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin has called for the American Rescue Plan to be passed, saying it is the “investment our state needs to beat the pandemic, save our economy, and start getting our lives back to normal.”  Republican U.S. Senator Ron Johnson disagrees, calling for the entire 700-plus page document to be read aloud so they can “take the time to seriously consider what we are doing to our children.”

Active cases increase in Kewaunee County

The number of active COVID-19 cases in Kewaunee County went up slightly on Wednesday as the area continues to make headway on vaccinations. The Kewaunee County Public Health Department reported seven new positive COVID-19 tests since Monday compared to just four recoveries. Door County had four new positive tests, but noted six recoveries. Door County has distributed 575 vaccinations this week while Kewaunee County has performed 283. Kewaunee County Public Health announced earlier this week it would start vaccinating staff at schools and childcare facilities as well as anyone else that is eligible from prior phases. Door County Public Health said it would continue to focus on its 65-and-over population for the time being. Door County Health and Human Services Director Joe Krebsbach says the time will come for teachers and other groups in Door County.

The state reported 539 new COVID-19 positive tests and 18 additional deaths on Wednesday. It also announced it crossed the 1.5 million dose mark for COVID-19 vaccinations.

 

KEWAUNEE COUNTY

COVID-19 Vaccine Update:

 

The Kewaunee County Public Health Department will begin administering doses of COVID-19 vaccine during the week of Feb. 28, 2021 to staff at schools and childcare facilities. The health department will continue to contact any eligible individuals on the Phase 1A (Emergency Medical Services (EMS), fire, police, community-based residential facilities (CBRFs), as well as staff at funeral homes, dental offices, and eye clinics) & 65+ waiting lists to receive their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine as well as administer second doses of vaccine to those in these groups when additional vaccines are available.

Due to limited vaccination supply being received by the Kewaunee County Public Health Department, those who are eligible to get the vaccine and are not scheduled for an appointment are encouraged to contact their healthcare provider.


If you would like to be placed on the waiting list to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, call the Kewaunee County Public Health Department at (920) 388-7160 or submit a request via the “Contact Us” link.
 

NOTE: If you have submitted or are planning to submit a request to be placed on the waiting list to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, when eligible, it may take up to 10 business days for the Kewaunee County Public Health Department to contact you. Due to high interest, once your request is made, please do not reach out to the Kewaunee County Public Health Department as a staff member will call when you are eligible and a vaccine is available. It is important that you answer when called as vaccines are time sensitive and will be administered on a first come, first served basis. If you miss the call from the Kewaunee County Public Health Department, please do not call them back. You will remain on the waiting list, and our staff will call you back when another dose is available. If you have reached out elsewhere for a vaccine and are scheduled to receive it, please notify the Kewaunee County Public Health Department as soon as possible to be removed from their wait list. Finally, please know that the Kewaunee County Public Health Department is doing their best to accommodate all requests and asks for patience during this time. Thank You.

 

DOOR COUNTY

 

Library keeping Dr. Seuss titles being pulled from publishing

The Algoma Public Library will continue lending out six Dr. Seuss book titles that will no longer be published due to the unfavorable representation of some characters' ethnicities.  Dr. Seuss Enterprises announced it's ceasing publication of those books after a team of educators found some portrayals to be “hurtful and wrong.”  Library Director Cathy Kolbeck says library officials have discussed the titles in question, which will remain, although there are procedures for dealing with the concerns of library patrons.

The Kewaunee Public Library says it will also address any library patrons' concern about materials that are in circulation on a case-by-case basis. The Door County Library declined to offer comment for this story. Among the six Dr. Seuss titles that will no longer be published are “And to Think I Saw It on Mulberry Street” and “If I Ran the Zoo”.

Sturgeon Bay moves forward with Otumba Beach project

Sturgeon Bay’s City Council unanimously approved moving forward with plans for an expansion of Otumba Beach at their meeting on Tuesday, March 2nd. Some of the changes include doubling the depth of the beach while the width will stay the same. The beach’s depth would be approximately 50 feet deep. Council members estimated that the width is a little over 120 feet. These changes would then push back the sidewalk which would also pave the way for lighting to be placed on that sidewalk. 

 

The renovation does include thought for those who are handicapped or less mobile, as 3 cement slabs are expected to be poured for the ADA accessible picnic tables that are currently at Graham Park. City Councilman Spencer Gustafson mentioned that sharing this plan to his Facebook page fostered a lot of interaction, citing more than 8,000 post views. He even shared what the ADA-accessible beach mat would mean to area residents and visitors. 

 

 

 

 

A kayak/canoe launch will also be placed at the end of West Juniper. It is anticipated, however, that this renovation will make the driving area of Otumba Park inaccessible to truck traffic due to narrowing. One idea that was brought up amongst council members was putting barricades in the Winter so large vehicles do not try to use the roadway to get access onto the ice for fishing. 

 

(Picture courtesy of City of Sturgeon Bay) 

 

Egg Harbor Plan Commission turns down Shipwrecked proposal

The Village of Egg Harbor Plan Commission voted down the approving a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) for a proposed expansion by Shipwrecked Brew Pub on Tuesday.  Interim Administrator Tom Strong says the plan calling for a shared-use agreement for a shared driveway with adjacent property owned by Signature Pieces is highly unlikely to happen.  Shipwrecked owners are proposing the addition of nearly 1,900-square-feet to add more seating and a beer garden.  Strong explains the next step.

 

 

Strong adds that the Plan Commission decided there was no need to continue deliberations on the rest of the project until updated plans are presented.  He adds that significant design changes to the plan will be made before coming back to the Plan Commission. 

 

(rendering courtesy of Village of Egg Harbor)

Extra turkey hunting permits available March 16

Turkey hunters can bag more birds this spring by claiming extra turkey hunting permits later this month.  Door County DNR Conservation Warden Chris Kratcha says that people who applied for this spring’s turkey harvest can claim an additional hunting permit for zone 2, including Door County, on Tuesday, March 16.  Kratcha says there are many leftover authorizations for the final two time periods this spring.

 

 

Kracha says turkeys are numerous and very visible in open area fields this time of year.  The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources sponsors a youth turkey hunt that opens on April 17 and 18.  The one-week spring hunts start with Period A on April 21 and end with Period F from May 26 through June 1.

 

Turkey Hunt dates

Sturgeon Bay pursuing eminent domain process for right-of-way

With little chance of negotiating a price for a parcel of private land on Grant Avenue, the City of Sturgeon Bay unanimously approved a recommendation by the Finance/Purchasing & Building Committee to begin eminent domain proceedings for a right-of-way on Tuesday. The City has offered up to $280,000 for Timothy Ruenger’s entire 36-acre parcel of land, where a proposed road would connect Grant Avenue to Sawyer Drive on the far west side. Ruenger, through his own commissioned appraisal, valued the land at $720,000. City Administrator Josh Van Lieshout says negotiations are stalled at this point.

 

 

The City of Sturgeon Bay is now only seeking to purchase the 66-foot wide right-of-way strip on Grant Avenue with the eminent domain proceedings. This year, a new mini-golf course project was proposed at a Plan Commission meeting that would front on Grant Avenue. Several residents in the area voiced concerns at a public hearing about traffic and parking issues near Highway 42-57 last month. The City recently reached out to the Wisconsin DOT again on connecting the two streets that have been considered for several years. The DOT reported that the street connection needs to be done and would push for it regardless if the new mini-golf project happens. The City of Sturgeon Bay will now seek professional advice suggested by their attorney James Kalny to move the eminent domain process forward.        

 

(photo courtesy of City of Sturgeon Bay) 

Sturgeon Bay supports room tax increase

After a postponement at their last meeting, the Sturgeon Bay Common Council approved support going forward with the 2.5 percent room tax increase at Tuesday night’s meeting.  The motion carried 6-1 with Alderperson Dennis Statz voting against the action.

 

 

The countywide initiative through the Door County Tourism Zoning Commission would increase the room tax from 5.5 to 8 percent with the tax revenues being 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.  The Sturgeon Bay Common Council had delayed a decision at their last meeting to gather more information from an impact study done by UW-Whitewater.

 

  In other business, the council approved permanently keeping the start time for council meetings at 6 pm in the future.  The council also unanimously passed a resolution to increase fees for large item pick up for disposal by the city.  

COVID-19 cases continue to fall

The area saw more encouraging signs on the COVID-19 front with low positivity rates and recoveries outnumbering new cases. 

 

Door County Public Health disclosed only one positive test for the coronavirus on Tuesday.  The positivity rate from the 15 tests performed was only 6.6 percent.  The total active cases went down five and now stand at 14. 

 

Kewaunee County noted seven confirmed cases of the coronavirus with eight recoveries.  The 82 test results since Friday showed a positivity rate of just 8.5 percent.  The number of active cases went down one to seven.

 

The Department of Health Services announced 28 COVID-19 deaths on Tuesday.  Coronavirus cases in the state went up 324 with 64 new hospitalizations reported.

 

 

Ice cutter arctic trials begin in Door County waters

Lake Michigan waters around Door County will help the U.S. Coast Guard plan the next generation of heavy ice cutters.  The USCG cutter Mackinaw will spend three days around Chambers Island, Green Island, and Washington Island.  The Mackinaw will conduct equipment tests and performance evaluations in the area known as “The Triangle”.  U.S. Coast Guard spokesman Mark Gill says the ice conditions off of northern Door County provide ideal simulations of oceanic ice.

 



Cutter Mackinaw will not be coming into any ports nor come near any shore fast ice.  Gill says public interest in watching the ship is understandable.  He also says people need to keep their distance for their own safety.
 



Gill says this is the third time over the past several years that the Cutter Mackinaw has conducted tests in the waters around Chambers, Green, and Washington Islands.

 

USCG Cutter Mackinaw (U.S. Coast Guard Photo)

Kress Pavilion referendum listening sessions scheduled for Thursday

Egg Harbor residents will have the opportunity to hear more about an upcoming referendum on its Kress Pavilion. Up to $120,000 per year for seven years could be committed to the Kress Pavilion to operate the facility. The hope was the Kress Pavilion would be able to fund its operating costs through its rentals and other event fees. The pandemic put a halt to those plans as the facility took several months to reopen and now operates under smaller capacity limits. Kress Pavillion Manager Jess Reinke says it is important to note that the $120,000 per year is not written in stone.

The listening sessions will take place on Thursday over Zoom at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. You can find additional information about the listening sessions and the referendum by clicking this link.

 

 

Kewaunee County Jail running out of time

Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski says the state may soon not be able to turn a blind eye to the issues at its jail facility. A leaky roof, antiquated security components, and concerns with its plumbing and HVAC system have led to other issues within the building that is the smallest county jail facility in the state. Joski says Department of Corrections Jail Inspector Nancy Thelen has been lenient, and has worked with the county to address some of the building’s deficiencies knowing a future plan was in the works. The planning for the new jail stalled last month when the Kewaunee County Board did not approve the project to head to phase three, which is when many of the design and operations components would have been discussed further. Joski adds that the state would likely not close the jail, but other corrective actions may have to take place.

The board and Joski currently differ on whether phase three should start before or after a referendum is approved by the county’s residents. He believes without a firm plan, a referendum would fail. You can read the complete jail planning update from Joski below:

 

FROM SHERIFF JOSKI

Having been Sheriff now for 15 years, I look back on the many opportunities I have had to interact with our community and realize how lucky I am to be able to serve in this capacity. Probably my favorite activity is when I get have the opportunity to speak with our young people. I will be reaching out and speaking at one of our area schools next week, on good decision making. This is a subject which is near and dear to my heart as I have seen so many lives changed in a moment by either a good decision, or a bad decision. Even when we look at our amazing country, the ability to succeed is not limited by wealth or education but rather is many times a result of good decisions. We can all find examples of those born into great wealth and opportunity only to squander it through a series of bad decisions. In contrast there are also stories of persons born in absolute poverty or with no resources who, through a series of good decisions propel themselves to amazing heights. Even in our relationships, our ability to react to situations appropriately can either foster a relationship or destroy it, and because this process of making good decisions is not exclusive to young adults, I thought I would share a bit of my presentation for next week.

        

Each of us can look back on events which have changed the course of our lives. In some cases we have experienced joyous events which have propelled us forward in our personal or professional lives, while other events have been tragic which created struggle and stymied our growth as individuals. Although we have little to no control over the many and varied events which we will undoubtedly face throughout our lives, we can control our response to them by managing the thoughts they generate.

   

Why is this important? Because by controlling our thoughts we ultimately determine what emotions we will allow to surface, and subsequently what type of reaction we will exhibit. The ability to manage our thoughts and thus our reactions to events both good and bad can make the difference between success and failure in our personal and professional lives. We have all witnessed situations where we have seen individuals effectively manage a critical event while in other cases struggle or seemingly over react to a not so significant event. In many cases this is due to the ability or inability to control their initial thoughts as the event was unfolding.

    

I have witnessed this behavior unfold in so many ways throughout my years in law enforcement. I have seen people become unhinged at the prospect of receiving a minimal citation for speeding, while others have responded to unbelievable tragedy with an amazing level of calm and composure. I would submit that the difference has been the ability or inability to manage their thoughts and thus self regulate their responses. This skill is not inherent; it must be developed and maintained through practice. Each of us has the choice at any given moment in our lives to take the events which lie before us and do one of two things; use these events to make us stronger and grow our relationships, or use these events as a crutch and blame them for any and all shortcomings we perceive in our lives. I choose the former over the latter.

    

So the next time an event occurs in your life, whether that be in your personal or professional life, please take a moment to think of the thoughts you are generating and whether those thoughts will ultimately lead to a positive reaction or a negative reaction. We can use this approach every day when we wake up and either say to ourselves “What a bummer, I have to go to work” or you can say “Awesome, I get to go to work!” Either way, you are going to work, the difference is how you manage your emotions.

     

In the world we live in, there are very few things we actually have control over, but what we can control is our emotion which ultimately leads to our response. Having the ability to manage our thoughts and use those thoughts to improve the quality of our lives and that of our community is another example of the power of resiliency.

 

 

Friends group makes big dock donation

The Friends of Rock Island State Park has committed $25,000 to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources towards the restoration of the boat dock.  The gift will cut the costs associated with the inspection of the aging structure, which dates back to the 1930s. The inspection will help the DNR discover what issues need to be addressed. It is expected to cost approximately $45,000. The island’s current dock has suffered significant damage in the last year due to severe winter storms and high water levels. Friends of Rock Island State Park President Colleen Andrews says it is important to make investments into the future operations at the site.

Rock Island State Park was closed last year due to high water levels making the site inaccessible by the Karfi water ferry.

Community Focused Plaza proposed for west side waterfront

A newly proposed development for the Westside Waterfront will be up for discussion at Tuesday’s Sturgeon Bay Common Council meeting. Peter and Jen Gentry of WWP Development would like a 90-day exclusivity agreement with the city to look into developing a 5,000 square-foot building to serve as a community-focused plaza. City of Sturgeon Bay Administrator Josh Van Lieshout says the concept could nicely fit into the west waterfront plans.

 

 

The two-story building proposal would include concessions and bar-type services on the first floor for food carts with a second-floor patio. Services would consist of beverages, ice cream, snacks, beer, and wine.  The request estimates that the development could add $750,000 to $1 million to the tax rolls and be open by May of 2022. The developers are also asking for an additional 30 days to the exclusivity agreement if more time is needed and substantial progress is made towards submitting a Request for Proposal (RFD) document.

 

 

Local landscaper merges with Valley business

A new landscaping business has been formed in Door County.  Lakeshore Landscape and Design of Carlsville has joined with Lowney’s Landscaping Center out of Appleton to create Lowney’s Lakeshores Landscaping & Design.  Both companies have been in existence for over 20 years. Joe Lowney worked with owners John and Theresa Meredith on a merger that was completed last October.  Lowney says the timing of the two businesses consolidating came at a good time.

 

 

Lowney adds that plans are for Meredith to stay with the company until he retires.  Lowney’s Lakeshores Landscaping & Design will add more services to the Carlsville operation, including a carpentry division for the construction of decking, gazebos, and pergolas.  Lowney adds that the combined companies now employ over 80 employees.  

 

(photo:  Aaron Vosters and Joe Lowney of Lowney's, John and Theresa Meredith of Lakeshores Landscaping)

 

The full news release is here. 

New group eligible for vaccine

The new group of eligible people for the COVID-19 vaccine started Monday as teachers and childcare workers are now being given top priority in the state. Door County Medical Center issued a joint-issued statement last Friday with several other healthcare providers and Northeastern Wisconsin agencies. Local health systems and departments are urging patience as eligibility may not mean the vaccines are readily available. Chief Medical Officer Dr. James Heise shares the focus on getting the vaccine in arms this week.

 

 

This week's eligible group for the vaccine also includes people on Medicaid long-term care programs and some public-facing essential workers like public transit and grocery store workers.  Non-frontline healthcare personnel, along with congregate living setting staff and residents, are eligible as well. For more information on scheduling your COVID-19 vaccine, visit https://www.dcmedical.org/coronavirus.

 

 

In an effort to more effectively administer the COVID-19 vaccine, Kewaunee County Public Health officials are asking for help from people who may still be on the waiting list, but have already received the vaccine elsewhere.  You can read the news release here.

Healthy Water Door County efforts flow on

Two years after celebrating the area’s precious resource with a year-long series of events, Healthy Water Door County continues to make an impact in the region. After Celebrate Water Door County in 2019, Healthy Water Door County has awarded grants to different causes to address the resource’s quality in the area. Past grants have helped pay for improvements at Sturgeon Bay’s Little Lake and well-testing efforts throughout the county. Door County Community Foundation President and CEO Bret Bicoy says the Niagara Escarpment and its fractured bedrock means they are always looking for ideas to protect the water that flows beneath it.

The Healthy Water Door County grant program was established in 2016 on the heels of a county-wide well monitoring partnership with UW-Oshkosh in June 2015. The next deadline is March 2nd, but Healthy Water Door County grant applications are accepted until the first Tuesday of every month.

Parents take on Kewaunee prom

The parents of Kewaunee High School are making sure a hallmark of a student’s life returns in 2021. Kewaunee High School students were staring down the barrel of a second lost prom due to the coronavirus until parents recently stepped in to change that. The group has already secured the Agricultural Heritage Center as its venue for April 24th and they are discussing ways to make sure the prom is a safe experience for all who will want to attend. Erin Carter knows not everybody is going to support their efforts to host a prom, but she says they want to give Kewaunee High School students some sense of normalcy in an abnormal year.

Not sponsored by the Kewaunee School District, Carter says they will have safety measures in place for prom attendees such as masking and social distancing.

Green Bay facility a homecoming for Southern Door alums

After training 25,000 athletes in three different states, a group of Southern Door High School alums is bringing their business close to home. Last week, ETS Performance Founder Ryan Englebert, Director of Operations Alex Tassoul, and HQ Business and Performance Executive Michael Blizel opened the doors to its newest facility in Green Bay.  ETS Performance focuses on developing an athlete's speed, power, and agility. With 14 facilities in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan, the Green Bay facility is the closest to their hometown. Tassoul says the timing finally worked out to bring their business close to their roots.

Tassoul hopes the new venture levels the playing field for northeast Wisconsin athletes.

Englebert, Tassoul, and Blizel are not the only familiar name tied to the ETS Performance Facility in Green Bay. One of its partners is former Green Bay Packers fullback John Kuhn.

 

Picture courtesy of ETS Performance

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