News Archives for 2021-04

Bridge maintenance starts Tuesday

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s Northeast Region office gave notice that annual spring maintenance on the Bayview Bridge, Michigan Street Bridge, and Maple/Oregon Bridge in Sturgeon Bay will be taking place at different times over the next few weeks. On Tuesday, April 20th, the Maple/Oregon Bridge will be under a full closure from 7 AM to 4 PM. 

 

On Monday, May 3rd there will be a full closure at the Michigan Street Bridge from 7 AM to 4 PM. The following day, May 4th, there will also be a full closure from 7 AM to 4 PM at the Bayview Bridge. Traffic will use a signed detour for all bridge closures, and the bridges will be open to marine traffic.

 

Door County ends week leading way

Through the last week, Door County has the highest rate of first-dose vaccinated individuals in Wisconsin. The place at the top of the state persists even after the cancellation of Johnson & Johnson vaccine clinics in the week. As of Saturday, Door County has 56.7% of residents who’ve had the first vaccine dose and 38.9% who have finished the series. 89.6% of residents age 65 and older have received at least one dose in Door County. Without the Johnson & Johnson clinic, over 1700 less residents were vaccinated this week than the previous week. 

 

In Kewaunee County, 34.5% of residents have received at least one dose and 25.4% of residents have completed the series. In Kewaunee County’s 65 and older population, 69.8% of residents have received at least one vaccine dose. Just 413 residents were vaccinated this week in Kewaunee County after the Johnson & Johnson clinic cancellation, which is a drop from 1176 the previous week.

 

New alert system in Door County

Door County Emergency Management is offering a new and free severe weather alert system that can be accessed through mobile devices.  The CodeRED system will offer alerts through phone and/or text messages to anyone in Door County.  Door County Emergency Management Director Dan Kane explains that the new CodeRED system will provide more than just weather alerts.

 

 

In order to receive the alerts, you must sign up on the Door County Emergency Management website or text “DoorCounty” to “99411” to enroll.  Options include having the CodeRED alerts sent to you by email, phone calls, and texts.  Kewaunee County has also installed a similar system for emergency alerts

 

News release


Rock Island State Park to open by Memorial Day

People could be able to visit Rock Island State Park for the first time in over a year beginning in May according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. The department announced a number of spring operations updates earlier this week, including the reopening of Rock Island State Park. One of the state’s most isolated attractions, Rock Island State Park was closed last year due to high water levels making it difficult for the Karfi ferry to make the trip from Washington Island and safely transport passengers. The park will remain closed until at least May 27th to allow for dock repairs and for the dredging of the area around it. Friends of Rock Island State Park President Tina Jacoby is happy to see that the park will be open for visitors.

The organization donated $25,000 to the DNR for an assessment of the dock in March. Jacoby added that plans are underway for its annual Independence Day weekend picnic. The DNR also announced earlier this week that it would be relaxing some group size restrictions and observation towers like Eagle Tower can open to visitors on April 30th.

School boards look to get past pandemic

Area school boards like Gibraltar Area Schools’ hope the worst is behind them when it comes to the pandemic. For over a year, COVID-19 has dominated the agendas of area school board meetings as they determined safe reopening protocols after the shutdown in March 2020. Gibraltar’s reopening took longer than other area school districts, not reopening its doors to elementary students until December and to its secondary kids in January. Newly re-elected Gibraltar School Board member Angela Sherman says it was hard to find the right solution for the issue as a parent and a community member with no common plan among all Door County schools.

Sherman adds that there are a lot of different issues she is looking forward to being able to accomplish after the pandemic put much of it on hold, including taking a deeper look into their enrollment and their financial health.

Door County’s school saw a fair amount of change in its school boards after last week’s election. Sherman will be joined by newcomers  Amie Carriere and Erick Schrier on the Gibraltar Area School Board while Angela Kruse, Roger Wood, and Damion Howard were elected as new members of the Sturgeon Bay School Board.

 

Photo from Angela Sherman Gibraltar School Board Member Facebook page

Two hospitalized this week in Kewaunee County

In this week’s Kewaunee County COVID report, two were hospitalized and twenty-seven tested positive bringing the total number to an even 2600 positive tests. Sixteen people made recoveries over the week and there were no deaths. As of Friday there are twenty-four active cases in the county. 

 

Kewaunee County is up to 33.6% of residents with at least one vaccine dose and 24.7% who’ve finished the series. In Door County, 55.9% of residents have had a vaccine dose and 37.2% have completed the series. In Wisconsin, 38.5% of residents have had at least a dose of the vaccine.

 

 


Viking Voice heard loud and clear

Gibraltar High School’s Viking Voice publication received a second place general excellence award in the Wisconsin Newspaper Association Foundation’s High School Better Newspaper Contest. This is an improvement from last year when they received third place. Each year the Voice enters two issues and several individual articles for the foundation.  The group also earned a $1,000 scholarship for their newspaper fund. There are several ideas being tossed around about where to spend it, several dealing with technology advancements. The paper will also have to decide if they will continue to publish a digital copy moving forward. 

 

The Voice’s Advisor, Patrick Knapp, credits the students for the outreach the paper has achieved. He knows it takes going above and beyond, as it’s an extracurricular activity for the paper staff as opposed to a class. The paper was presented with obstacles brought on by the pandemic, as they no longer grouped up in person to bounce ideas off of one another and assign others to different features. Editor-in-Chief Lily Sweeney was able to take charge in getting a virtual meeting plan going so the paper didn’t miss a beat. Knapp notes it didn’t take long for the process to properly flow.

 

 

Knapp is impressed at the paper’s continuous improvement, the student’s creativity, its engagement with local and national topics, and the students’ personality shining through in writing. 

 

 

The following individual’s won WNA Foundation awards:

 

Theo Goode: Second place, feature story - Pros and Cons of Virtual Learning

 

Betsy Lecy: Third place, Public Affairs Reporting - Dollar General Proposes to Locate on Egg Harbor Land

 

Lily Sweeney: Honorable mention, Public Affairs Reporting - Door County Public Health Officials Beg Residents to Stay Home

 

Makena Murre: Honorable Mention, Feature Story - Performing Without an Audience

 

Wisconsin furthers Johnson and Johnson delay

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services announced the pause on administration of the Johnson & Johnson COVID19 vaccine will continue until a federal recommendation to lift it is made. The extension comes two days after a federal review by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. The committee has recommended a pause while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention collects and analyzes more information about possible links between the vaccine and a rare and severe type of blood clotting. DHS Secretary-Designee Karen Timberlake said they appreciate the level of complexities being considered by this national panel of independent experts in their review of the vaccine. Vaccination clinics in Door and Kewaunee counties that had been scheduled for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine were canceled for this past Wednesday and Thursday.

Warning about COVID fatigue amid Michigan surge

Even with Door County leading the state in vaccination rate, Dr. Jim Heise is still advising people to not pull back too quickly in regards to the pandemic. The shrinking demand for the vaccines and the success of other providers in the area is causing Door County Medical Center to discontinue its mass vaccination clinics by the end of the month. It will still hold smaller vaccination clinics in the community, including times at NEW industries and Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay. Across the lake, Michigan is providing a cautionary tale for states as it experiences a third surge. Michigan has been leading the nation in coronavirus cases for the last two weeks as thousands are being admitted into local hospitals. Door County Medical Center’s Chief Medical Officer admits he is not privy to all the details regarding Michigan’s issues, but Heise believes it is partly due to people letting their guard down.

Heise added that the impact of COVID-19 variants is also complicating the response to the virus. Michigan, for example, has over 2,000 cases involving the UK strain. Door County reported one case of the South African variant earlier this spring, but Heise says no additional infections from that particular strain have been detected since in the area.  

 

You can listen to our full interview with Dr. Heise here


Districts contemplate continuation of remote learning option

Parents in Door and Kewaunee counties may still have the option of keeping their kids home for remote learning next school year. While most students in Door and Kewaunee counties have had the option to attend in-person classes over the last year, school districts have allowed families to keep their kids at home to learn remotely as a pandemic-related precaution. Sturgeon Bay School District will still give families that option next school year, though it will look different. At the high school, students will have five days to see if the remote learning option is still right for them before having to commit for at least a quarter. They will also have a specific online teacher they have to meet with at least every two weeks and failing a course could require them to go back to in-person learning.  At Sunrise Elementary School, the students will also be assigned a specific online teacher and will have to commit to at least six weeks of remote learning before a possible return to in-person learning. Sturgeon Bay District Superintendent Dan Tjernagel says much like the pandemic has changed over the course of the last year, their plans will likely evolve as well to fit the needs of their families.

Sturgeon Bay’s other schools are still finalizing their details for next school year. Kewaunee and Gibraltar’s school board have spoken about the future of their virtual learning options at meetings held earlier this year. Washington Island School District Superintendent of Business Services Sue Cornell says the topic will come up at its meeting while Sevastopol Administrator Kyle Luedtke says they will tackle that topic this summer. You can click on the links above for more information on the Sturgeon Bay schools’ remote learning options for the 2021-2022 school year.

Kovarik signs off in Door County

After three years of reporting on local news in the area, Door and Kewaunee counties will return to being just a playground for reporter Terry Kovarik and his family. Kovarik concluded his stint with DoorCountyDailyNews.com on Thursday before continuing his radio career in the Fox Cities. It is the latest stop on his journey in broadcasting, which included nearly 30 years at WFRV-TV in Green Bay. One of the topics that piqued Kovarik’s interest during his tenure included how rising water levels impacted shoreline communities in Door and Kewaunee counties. Like many of the stories he covered, he was left impressed with the resilience of the area’s residents. He hopes the sense of positivity continues.

Kovarik’s experience in broadcasting started at his alma mater of Central Michigan and moved onto WLUC-TV in Marquette, Michigan before starting in the Green Bay area in 1990. He begins his new role at WHBY-AM in the Fox Cities next week.

Final detail work before Eagle Tower opens

Visitors to Peninsula State Park in Fish Creek will soon be able to climb Eagle Tower for spectacular views of Lake Michigan and the surrounding areas.  The 1932 tower was dismantled in 2016 due to safety concerns.  The final detail work on the new 60-foot tower is now under way.  Park Superintendent Eric Hyde says the new Eagle Tower will be ready to go after the final inspections are completed.
 


Eagle Tower and other state park towers are scheduled to open to visitor traffic on April 30th.


Local advocates support legislation for faster sexual assault kit testing

A bill requiring law enforcement agencies to submit sexual assault kits to the state crime lab faster is getting support from the Sexual Assault Center operated by Family Services of Northeast Wisconsin.  The legislation requires health care professions to notify law enforcement officers within 24-hours of a reported assault.  Investigators would then have to forward sexual assault test kits to the crime lab within 72-hours.  Sexual Assault Center Program Manager Holli Fisher says having clear guidelines for faster testing is needed to avoid the massive backlog that delayed testing for years.
 



The bill also gives sexual assault survivors the needed time to recover and begin working with law enforcement officers.
 


The bill, which has bipartisan support, now goes to the State Assembly for further consideration.

Door County adds a handful of new cases

Door County reported five new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday.  The active cases bumped up to 102 while no new hospitalizations or deaths were disclosed.  With 33 test results performed, the positivity rate was 15.2 percent in Door County.  That figure compares similarly to the state’s rate on Thursday of 16 percent.   

 

Statewide, The Department of Health Services noted 943 confirmed cases of the coronavirus with 56 hospitalizations and three deaths.  DHS also released improvements to the COVID-19 hospital data on its website. The dashboard has been expanded to include more information about the status of Wisconsin hospitals.  You can find more information here

 

 

 

Street projects in Sturgeon Bay taking shape

Contractors in the Sturgeon Bay area are starting 2021 Mill and Pave Roadway work that will be a help to business and property owners beginning this week. During the curb work period City Engineer Chad Shefchik does note that for the safety of the workers he would prefer drivers to take an alternate route away from the work area. Shefchick says during the time periods of removing asphalt, grading, and paving the roads worked on will be closed, to all but those who live within the construction zone. 

 

 

The city is also in coordination with Wisconsin Public Service to get started with work on South Neenah Ave this year. Shefchik knows many residents are excited about work on that area, but also understands the importance of waiting until WPS gets the gas line replacements completed. He says they are doing well and making good progress. 

 

 

The roadways listed below will have the existing asphalt pulverized in place. After that is completed, the roadways will be graded and paved. The new asphalt pavement should be completed by Tuesday afternoon, weather permitting:

 

-Alabama Street from N 3rd Ave to N 5th Ave 

-N 4th Ave from Alabama Street to 525 south of Alabama Street

-Alabama Street from N 15th Place to N 18th Ave.

 

Starting Friday the following roadways will be marked out for concrete curbing and/or sidewalk replacements. They will be cut in the near future with concrete removals and replacements to follow shortly after. 

 

-Memorial Drive from S 3rd Ave to S 9th Ave

-S 9th Ave from Memorial Drive to Texas Street

-N 18th Ave from Michigan Street to Iowa Street

-Alabama Place from Bonnie View Drive east to its termination

-N 6th Ave from Delaware Street to Belmar Street

-Belmar Street from N 6th Ave. to N 5th Ave. 

 

 

Group to host year's first Conservation Conversation

Brussels crop farmer Michael Vandenhouten has a good problem to sort through when he hosts Peninsula Pride Farms’ first Conservation Conversation in just under two weeks. Vandenhouten planted oats and tillage radish in his field near the corner of County Highway C and Plainview Road as a way to protect the soil from the winter weather and loosen it up as well with its roots. The cover crops grew almost too well thanks to good weather in the fall and now there is a lot of dead material on the field ahead of soybean planting. With some options not possible, Vandenhouten says the Conservation Conversations provide a great sounding board among other farmers.

The Peninsula Pride Farms Conservation Conversation starts at 5 p.m. at the corner of County Highway C and Plainview Road on April 27th. The series is held on a monthly basis at different farms across Kewaunee and southern Door counties.

Washington Island School receives important funding

Important funding sources for Washington Island School District came to light last week thanks to local voters and the state and federal governments. By a 251-188 margin, voters will allow the district to exceed its state-specified revenue limit by $675,000 for the 2021-22 school year and $775,000 for ongoing operational expenses. The district has gone to referendum over 20 times since 1995, including almost every other year since 2000. Many of the referendum questions posed cover the district’s operational expenses due to the widening gap between what can be levied and funding they receive from the state.  Washington Island School District  Superintendent of Business Services Sue Cornell says they could not afford to give students a quality education without community support.

Thanks to federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief fund (ESSER) and the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief fund (GEER), the district has so far received $280,818 and it could receive even more in the future. Despite having an enrollment of fewer than 50 students, Cornell says they still have to do the same things other school districts have to do to keep them and the staff safe.

Cornell pointed out that a portion of its ESSER II funds could go towards plans like making their washrooms touchless for students, staff, and visitors. Washington Island School has been in-person the entire year outside of a three-week period around the Christmas holidays when the town was experiencing a spike in COVID-19 cases.

Indoor shooting range planned for Sturgeon Bay

Hunters and other gun owners won't have to drive outside of Door County to tests their firearms and skills in a controlled climate.  Steve Estes and Scott Virlee are planning to build an indoor shooting range at the site of the former Save a Buck store at 1019 Egg Harbor Road in Sturgeon Bay.  The building had previously been owned by Palmer Johnson.  The indoor firearms range would open under the name Virlee Gunworks. Estes says the range should appeal to gun owners like himself and will offer range memberships.  Estes also says people can rent shooting lanes by the hour and try a firearm before buying it.

Once the plans get city approval, Virlee Gunworks hopes to open for business by August 1st.

Door County Medical Center to end mass vaccination clinics

After administering over 10,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, Door County Medical Center is discontinuing its mass vaccination clinics at the end of the month. In a release from the hospital, the demand for continued vaccinations has dramatically decreased in the past few days as more providers have been able to provide appointments. The efforts of the hospital, Door County Public Health, local pharmacies, and others have helped Door County lead the state of Wisconsin with close to 55 percent of its residents receiving at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Door County Medical Center, which distributes the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, will still hold smaller clinics in the future as needed and will continue with second-dose appointments.  

 

FULL RELEASE

Sturgeon Bay, WI. We are proud to share that Door County Medical Center has now administered almost 10,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, and fully vaccinated about 3300 people!  As of April 14th, Door County is leading the state of Wisconsin with 54.7% of residents having received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine.  This is fantastic news and is a testament that our residents care about the health and safety of themselves and those around them!

 

Due to the fast start in vaccinating our community and the efforts of Door County Public Health, local pharmacies, and others, the demand for continued vaccinations has dramatically decreased in the past few days.  Therefore, the COVID-19 mass vaccination clinics held at Door County Medical Center will be ending at the end of April.  We will schedule smaller clinics going forward as needed and will continue with second dose appointments as scheduled.  

While 54.7% is a great vaccination rate, we want to help Door County do its part in reaching herd immunity by getting to at least 80%.  We want to urge you to make an appointment now if you have not received your vaccination. 

 

Door County Medical Center is providing the Moderna COVID-19 vaccination which is a two-dose series for anyone 18 years of age and older.  You can access the link to make an appointment here:  https://www.dcmedical.org/covid19

 

 

 

 

Homebuilders face competition for skilled trades workers

Building a home in Door County, Kewaunee County, and everywhere else this summer will likely take time and cost more.  That's because there are fewer skilled trades employees and more competition for those who are available.  Jeff Dorner, with Van's Lumber of Dyckesville and Egg Harbor, says there has been an acute shortage of carpenters since the Great Recession.

 


Dorner says those craft workers still on the job have travel limits.   Some will go the extra miles for the jobs which can add to the costs of some skills and materials.

 


Dorner says it's becoming a common practice for some skilled trades workers to start the day on one project and move to another worksite or more as needed.

Nearly ten Door County positive tests

Wednesday’s COVID19 report from Door County shows that thirty tests were conducted and eight of the tests were positive. No new hospitalizations or deaths were reported. In Door County 55.2% of residents have received at least one vaccine dose and 35.6% have completed the series. In Kewaunee County, 33.2% of residents have received one dose of the vaccine and 24.4% have completed the series. 

Luxemburg man passes away after accident

92-year-old Roland DeCremer of Luxemburg passed away on Wednesday from complications suffered after a three vehicle accident in the town of Luxemburg. The initial investigation determined that DeCremer was driving a 2018 red Ford Escape and turning east on State Highway 54 at County Line Road and failed to yield to an Eastbound 2015 International semi-truck. DeCremer’s vehicle hit the side of the semi, and after striking the semi, a Westbound 2007 silver Buick Rendezvous struck DeCremer’s vehicle. 

 

DeCremer and his passenger, Irene DeCremer, were trapped in their vehicle and freed by Luxemburg Rescue. They were transported to a medical facility in Green Bay. Alcohol is not believed to be a factor, and the Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the accident. 

 

Financial Literacy a priority during pandemic

April is a month to recognize financial literacy, and some important questions or concerns have become more urgent since the beginning of the pandemic. One way to stay ahead of potential issues that may arise in the future is to have a solid understanding of where you are financially and keeping a good budget says Money Management Counselors Executive Director Leslie Boden.

 

 

Boden says there aren't too many surprises financially since the COVID outbreak began, but people have had to address issues that were brewing pre-pandemic. Boden understands stimulus checks can help, but also acknowledges that they aren’t permanent. 

 

 

Boden also stresses tailoring each person’s plans to them specifically as everyone has different needs and circumstances. One of the biggest generational differences Boden sees in clients is younger generations moving to paperless banking and app usage, whereas older generations tend to prefer a paper trail that is more tangible. 

 

New flavor coming to Cherry Hut

The White Cottage Red Door, just two miles south of Fish Creek, is seeing a change in operations from personnel to services, and is going by the name Door County Cherry Hut. Now managing the Cherry Hut is Trent Synder, who also manages Bridge Up Brewing. Taking on this additional venture isn’t something that was always sought out, but when the opportunity came, he didn’t want to pass it up. 

 

 

Snyder finds it important to maintain the integrity of what Ray’s Cherry Hut and previous owners did to make it special, but also plans to add unique twists. The typical cherry products such as pies, jams, jelly, and other Door County staples will still be sold. There will be fresh food available as well like hot dogs, street tacos, and rib tips. The Cherry Hut will also be shedding light on small businesses by sourcing products from others and women-owned businesses around the country. 

 

Along with offering beers from Bridge Up Brewing, Cherry Hut will feature a wine-tasting room and distribute privately labeled wines, especially fruit-based wines that Door County patrons have come to love. One addition that Snyder and company look forward to most is the new outdoor patio.

 

 

There’s currently a lot of moving parts that make the official open date uncertain. Snyder would like to be open in some capacity in early May, and hopes to be fully operational by Memorial Day weekend. 

 

Supreme Court votes against capacity limits

Wisconsin’s Supreme Court ruled that Governor Tony Evers does not have the authority to issue limits on capacity for bars, restaurants, and other businesses without legislature approval. There hasn’t been a statewide capacity limit restriction in place since October. The order that was issued on October 6th limited the size of indoor public gatherings to twenty-five percent of a building or room’s occupancy, or ten people in places with no occupancy limit. The order was blocked by a state appeals court on October 23rd.

 

The Supreme Court ruled 4-3 on Wednesday that the order meets the definition of a rule, which must go through legislature. This comes two weeks after the Wisconsin Supreme Court ended the state’s mask mandate.

Fate of Kinnard Farms case in Supreme Court's hands

The Wisconsin State Supreme Court could weigh in on a pair of water-quality related cases this week, one involving a Kewaunee County Farm.  Back in January, the state’s highest court granted the legislature the ability to intervene in a pair of cases involving the Department of Natural Resources and Clean Wisconsin. One of those cases dates back to 2012 when Kinnard Farms sought to increase its herd to 6,000 cows.  According to Wisconsin Ag Connection, Administrative Law Judge Jeffrey Boldt ruled back in 2014 that the expansion could take place, but only if monitoring wells were installed. Brad Schimel, who was the Attorney General in 2015, said state agencies cannot impose permit conditions that are not state law, something a Dane County judge disagreed with when he made his ruling to allow the DNR to reinstate the regulations. The Wisconsin Supreme Court heard initial arguments in the case on Monday.

New school board members ready for new, familiar challenges

In the April 6 Spring elections, three new members of the Sturgeon Bay school board were announced, both new and returning. Angie Kruse and Damion Howard are two that will be taking on a new role, but for Roger Wood, he returns to the school board he previously served.

 

Angie Kruse estimates that it was six years ago she was first approached about considering a run for school board, but didn’t give it much thought. A few years later, she reconsidered and started attending open sessions of school board meetings. A big motivation for becoming a part of the board was being impressed by their ability to get kids in the classrooms this school year.

 

 

Kruse says prior experience on committees will be something to lean on. She has been active with St. John Bosco and YMCA communities. Another board elect, Damion Howard, graduated from Sturgeon Bay and also has children around the district. That coupled with his desire to be a voice for minority students like himself urged him to start his campaign.

 

 

Howard also hopes to bridge any gaps between the school and local organizations, like the Boys and Girls Club where he’s employed. Roger Wood was also elected to the school board. Previously he spent twelve years on the board, but it has been a few years since he had last been a part of it. He said he enjoyed his time on the board and looked to get back on. He’s hoping to positively use his earlier board experience to maintain the school’s positive direction. He also values the diverse skill set of the elected board members, and wants to be a board member people can approach. 

 

 

All three were honored to be selected to serve on the board. 

 

Another death in Door County  

Door County Public Health reported a single case of COVID-19 on Tuesday as the county disclosed its 22nd death since the pandemic began just over a year ago.  The death was the first one in several weeks as active cases went up to 125.  There were no additional hospitalizations reported in Door County.

 

The state confirmed 922 cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday with 70 hospitalizations and ten more deaths. 

 

On the day the scheduled Johnson & Johnson vaccinations were canceled this week, Door County vaccinated 109 residents with at least the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine while Kewaunee County gave “shots in arms” to 96 people.

 

Climate Change Coalition scores nationally recognized speaker

The Climate Change Coalition of Door County will be starting off a series of events centered around climate change awareness on April 21st. Headlining the event will be the accomplished Katharine Hayhoe, who is a globally known climate scientist who will speak at 11 AM. The Zoom talk she will bring is titled, “Using Data to Change People’s Minds on Climate Change.” What her presentation will aim to do is offer a positive message with practical solutions for climate matters. Hayhoe wants to use an approach that will hit home for a Door County audience. 

 


Hayhoe also desires for all people to have a place in the discussion rather than it being a partisan issue. Hayhoe will be releasing a book called Saving Us in September. Hayhoe hosts the PBS digital series Global Weirding which is currently in its fifth season. She has also been named to TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People.

Area counties and state pause Johnson and Johnson

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services instructs Wisconsin vaccine providers to discontinue administering the Johnson & Johnson COVID19 vaccine due to adverse side effects reported. The Center for Disease Control and U.S. Food and Drug Administration reported six cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot known as cerebral venous sinus thrombosis that have been reported in the U.S. In the U.S. 6.8 million people have received a dose of this vaccine. Johnson & Johnson vaccine was supposed to be available at Wednesday's Door County Public Health vaccination clinic and on Thursday in Kewaunee County. 

 

Door and Kewaunee Public Health cancelled all Johnson & Johnson vaccine appointments this week. Door County asks those scheduled for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to call them if they’d like to schedule the Pfizer vaccine. Door County Health and Human Services Director Joe Krebsbach says there is worry this will scare people from vaccination.

 

 

 Door County has limited appointments available this week and more Pfizer appointments available next week. DHS Secretary-Designee Karen Timberlake said they are pausing administration out of an abundance of caution and that vaccine providers should hold on to the vaccine until federal review has been completed.

 

Nicolet National Bank acquires Mackinac Financial

For the fifth time in six years, Nicolet National Bank is getting a little bigger after its parent company acquired Michigan-based Mackinac Financial on Monday. The acquisition is valued at $248 million and includes Mackinac Financial’s 28 mBank locations. Nicolet’s purchase of Mackinac Financial will allow customers in Michigan and northern Wisconsin access to wealth management services and larger business loans. Nicolet National Bank President and CEO Mike Daniels says the positive impact of the sale will also be felt by its current customers.

Daniels also pointed out that acquiring Mackinac Financial adds to the culture Nicolet National Bank has established as a community bank and the local decision-making that comes with it. The recent string of acquisitions for Nicolet National Bank started in 2015 when it purchased Sturgeon Bay-based Baylake Bank.

Starlink gets boost

Door County’s Starlink Internet users are getting more good news this week thanks to improvements being made.

 

The Starlink project, which is part of Elon Musk’s SpaceX, recently launched another 60 satellites into orbit in addition to other updates for its beta users. The improvements addressed some preventative maintenance and gateway availability concerns. PC Magazine recently ranked Door County in the top 30 best locations nationwide for Starlink and has given high marks for speeds in Kewaunee County. While the wait may be long for some applying to get the hardware necessary to get the service, Quantum PC owner Nathan Drager said during last month’s “Ask Mr. Quantum” podcast that the early returns have been great for his customers.

Quantum PC has been installing new Starlink equipment for area customers since the winter. Drager advises customers to apply for the equipment now and have their site surveyed to make sure there are no obstructions. You can learn more about Starlink Internet by listening to the Ask Mr. Quantum podcast here.

 

 

Egg Harbor moves forward with July fireworks plans

Celebrating the Fourth of July is back on the agenda for three Door County communities. The Village of Egg Harbor is proceeding with plans for its Independence Day fireworks show. That's still dependent on the COVID-19  pandemic.  The Board of Trustees voted unanimously Monday to spend $5,000 for the July 3rd event.  Interim Village Administrator Tom Strong recommended approval of a contract to help the pyrotechnic operator lock in the purchase price.

Village Trustee John Heller agreed and made a motion to move forward, which would also give the village a contingency plan.

July 4th celebrations are also back on the agendas in Baileys Harbor and Fish Creek.

Door County adds more cases with one hospitalization

Door County Public Health reported six confirmed cases out of 48 tests performed since Friday.  The active cases on Monday went up from 118 to 124.  The positivity rate was lower than most levels shown last week, reflecting 12.5 percent on Monday.  There was one additional hospitalization in Door County with no recent deaths noted.

 

The state disclosed 402 positive tests and three deaths on Monday, along with 34 more hospitalizations.

 

The Department of Health Services reported that Door County administered 2751 doses last week and has vaccinated 54.6 percent of its population with at least the first dose.  Kewaunee County has given the first dose to 32.8 percent of its residents and gave1,175 vaccinations last week.  

 

Kewaunee County Public Health offering immediate vaccine appointments

Connecting with people on the COVID-19 vaccine waiting list is the biggest challenge the Kewaunee County Public Health Department is facing in getting more shots in arms.  Public Health Officer Cindy Kinnard says the department is working to schedule the 50 or so remaining people on the waiting list.

 

 

Anyone over the age of 16 can schedule with the Kewaunee County Public Health Department for openings this Wednesday for the Pfizer Vaccine and Thursday for the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine.  Kewaunee County has been able to administer over 1,000 doses each of the past three weeks at the vaccination clinics.  Kinnard emphasizes that it is important for people to continue to mask up, socially distance, and practice good hand washing.  

Tornado and Severe Weather Awareness Week will be quieter

Door County Emergency Management Director Dan Kane says the annual statewide tornado drill will not include the traditional sirens sounding that occurred other years.  He says for the sake of less confusion, the sounding of tornado sirens will not happen on April 15.  Also, the interruptions of messages on radio and television stations for the emergency alert system will not be happening for Tornado and Severe Weather Awareness Week in the state this Thursday.

 

 

Door County Emergency Management encourages you to set aside 15 minutes to practice tornado and severe weather safety during the standard set times of 1:45 pm or 6:45 pm. Kane stresses that everyone should have an emergency kit and emergency plan in place at home and in their workplace. Kane adds that Door County is looking at implementing a CodeRed system within the next few weeks to allow mobile device users to opt-in for weather, missing persons, and other emergency alerts.

 

Click here for news release 

Voter roll fight turns to local clerks

The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled on Friday it will be up to the local clerks and not the Wisconsin Elections Commission to remove thousands of names off its voter rolls. According to the Associated Press, the high court’s 5-2 decision will keep approximately 69,000 names on the list and not have their registrations deactivated. Conservatives argued that the state’s election commission was breaking Wisconsin law by not removing voters who did not respond to a mailing done in 2019. Liberals believe the maneuver was being done to lower turnout for people who may have voted in favor of their candidates. The court says the duty of keeping the database up-to-date falls in the hands of not the WEC, but rather the state’s municipal clerks. Common Cause Wisconsin Executive Director Jay Heck encourages local clerks to reach out to people they know that have moved to make sure their information is up-to-date.

He adds there must be a legitimate reason for people to be removed from the voter rolls and not just because they did not vote in recent elections. The Wisconsin Legislature could approve measures to change the law, but Heck believes those actions would likely be vetoed by Governor Tony Evers.

Two lost hikers found safe

A pair of hikers in Baileys Harbor needed an assist from local emergency personnel to get back to their hotel on Saturday. The two hikers called the Door County Sheriff’s Department before 5:30 p.m. to alert them that they were lost in the woods. After providing dispatch with their coordinates, a search and rescue party involving the sheriff’s department, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Door County Emergency Medical Services, and the Baileys Harbor Fire Department was formed. Conservation Warden Mike Neal was able to locate the hikers and bring them to safety. Chief Deputy Pat McCarty says it was smart of the hikers to carry a cellphone with them and to stay put once they reported that they were lost.

McCarty added that the two hikers were given medical evaluations once they were brought out of the woods before they went back to their hotel for the evening.

Haunted Mansion permanently closes

There will be no final fright for the Southern Door Haunted Mansion after the event’s leadership announced on Sunday it would be permanently closing after a 14-year run.

 

In the release posted below, the leadership decided there was not enough interest generated to fill the vacant core leadership positions needed to run the month-long event. With the help of over 500 volunteers annually, the Southern Door Haunted Mansion raised over $415,000 for programs at Southern Door School District over the last 14 years. The organization thanked the community and sponsors for their support over the years. They also expressed appreciation for the owners of the former Quietwoods South Campground, which hosted the event every year. The owners of Door County KOA, which recently purchased the Quietwoods South property, had offered its facilities to continue hosting the event.

 

The Southern Door Haunted Manion was voted a Fan Favorite Northeast Region Haunted Attraction by HauntedWisconsin.com 10 years in a row.  

 

Picture from The Haunted Mansion at Door County KOA Facebook page dated October, 20, 2017

 

 

DNR seeking hunters input

One of Wisconsin’s favorite past times, deer hunting, affects the lives of hunters and non-hunters alike, and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources wants the public to weigh in on management. DNR Conservation Warden Chris Kratcha explains that people’s lives are impacted by deer in ways they may not even know. 

 

 

The County Deer Advisory Council is inviting everyone to give feedback on the preliminary recommendations provided by County Deer Advisory Councils for the 2021 deer hunting season structure. The online input tool for public comment will be available from April 12th to April 25th on the DNR CDAC webpage. All CDAC meetings are open to the public and will be held via Zoom. The DNR and the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board will present the final county-level recommendations for final approval in June.

 

Shedding light on child sexual abuse

A Door County organization is promoting the social and the emotional well-being of children and families in the area communities by speaking out against sexual assault.  Milly Gonzales, executive director of Help of Door County, says it is important to raise awareness about sexual violence and inform the public of the ways to prevent it.  She says over 60 percent of childhood sexual abuse occurs within the home.

 

 

Gonzales shares some of the warning signs that a child may have been sexually abused.

 

 

Any one sign does not mean that a child was sexually abused, but the presence of several suggests you ask questions and consider seeking help.  Gonzales adds that you should have ongoing conversations with your child about what is healthy and what is not.  April is National Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Awareness Month.  You can listen to the entire conversation with Milly Gonzales on the podcast page at DoorCountyDailyNews.com.   

Ash lays out upcoming projects

Travelers in Door County are going to notice roadwork happening on the peninsula starting this Spring. Door County Highway Commissioner Thad Ash mentioned the four marquee projects that will be taking place in Door County starting in April. 

 

Roadwork will be beginning on April 19 at County A and going all the way from County V in Jacksonport to County E, and will begin April 19th as they’ll be milling, putting two layers of asphalt down, shouldering, and doing paint markings. The expected finish date is June 7th. 

 

Work to Highway 42 from the north end of Sister Bay and going to Gills Rock is tentatively scheduled to start April 26th and expected to be done around June 1st. Crews will be milling out old pavement, re-shouldering, and marking. 

 

On May 4th on Highway 57 at the Mill Supper Club intersection in Sturgeon Bay and onto Summit Road in Bailey’s Harbor, crews will be milling off existing asphalt. They will also do guard rail repair, paving, shouldering, and installing rumble strips. The expected finish date is September 30th. 

 

Those three projects will be through the state, and the county personnel will have limited to no involvement. 

 

 

The last big project planned in Door County is work on County J by the Ahnapee River in the village of Forestville, and going east to County O. There is no schedule in place for this project yet but they will be doing bridge work over the river as well as storm sewer and curb and gutter work. There will also be removal of existing asphalt, regrading, and repaving at the location. This is expected to usually be passable but will shut down on occasion as well. For all projects, Ash asks for residents to be cautious when driving by. 

 

 

Work will be off over holiday weekends, which could mean low shoulders and construction signage to be aware of. 

Putting an end to distracted driving

The month of April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month and the Sturgeon Bay Police Department is urging drivers to avoid phone use while driving. Captain Dan Brinkman notes that distracted drivers are bsomething the department sees at times when patrolling. 

 

 

Brinkman pushes for drivers to get to a stopping point or to safely pull over if there is an urgent need to use a phone while in a vehicle. He also notes that many newer vehicles do have bluetooth capability where people can take calls and talk hands free and keep their eyes on the road. Some indicators of an accident happening as a result of phone use is a phone on a seat or floor, or a phone activated in a text or call mode. 

 

Bird conservation a specialty for Sturgeon Bay

Caring for birds has certainly taken flight in Sturgeon Bay, and Bird City Wisconsin has noticed. The recognition as one of Wisconsin’s bird cities is from practices in Sturgeon Bay which aids the survival of local and migratory birds. The city applied for the honor, having to display practices in forestation management and providing protection for birds. Director of Municipal Services for Sturgeon Bay, Mike Barker, thinks this lets everyone know that Sturgeon bay does take pride in their preservation practices. 

 

 

The practices in place to help get this award are a broad list of techniques conducive to bird preservation. Some city ordinances include requiring trees to be planted, having heavily wooded city parks, removal and replacement of dead and hazardous trees, and other efforts. 

 

 

Barker doesn’t see these efforts by the city slowing down any time soon.

 

Forestville Millpond drawdown concerns persist

A local group against the current drawdown of the Forestville Millpond is raising more concerns this spring over the sediment buildup being found downstream in the Ahnapee River. Friends of the Forestville Dam President Terry McNulty, who is also the village president, believes the drawdown should stop immediately. He says the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has not responded to his concerns over environmental issues.

 

 

The drawdown of the Forestville Millpond is in its final stages of an overall four-year project designed to restore health to the body of water. McNulty shares other concerns surrounding the drawdown.

 

 

Door County's Soil and Water Conservationist Erin Hanson did not want to comment on the drawdown's current status. According to Door County's website, the drawdown that began in late 2019 is a temporary lower water level by opening the dam's sluice valve on the Ahnapee River. The purpose is to address shallow water depth, lack of abundance and diversity of native plants, a fish community dominated by carp, and poor water quality within the Millpond. The drawdown's proposed timeframe calls for it ending this September with post refills to then continue through 2023. A lawsuit issued last year by the Friends of the Forestville Dam against Door County to stop the drawdown is still in the courts. 

City making room for recycling

The city of Sturgeon Bay announced they’ll be providing a “cardboard only” recycling dumpster at their municipal services shop located on 14th Ave. This will be a trial period for them to gauge how residents use the service. This notion is due to the accelerated use of online shopping since the beginning of the pandemic, which has left residents with an excess of recyclable materials. After several people have contacted the city to notify them of this development, the city wants to prevent people from throwing recyclables in the trash, stating that it negates the reason for the recycling program. 

 

Hunters on lookout for toms

Hunters in Wisconsin are preparing for the challenge of filling their turkey tags which starts on April 21st. There also is a youth season for hunters aged fifteen and younger that runs from April 17th to 18th. DNR Conservation Warden estimates that there is approximately a twenty percent success rate among those with a turkey tag. Roughly 200,000 tags are issued in the state and around 40-50,000 turkeys are harvested. Even with a limited success rate, Kratcha says the satisfaction rate is high. 

 

 

A couple of factors contribute to the satisfaction rate, such as getting to be outdoors during the lively Spring period and the thorough pursuit. Turkeys make it a challenge, as they are very weary due to being heavily preyed on their entire life. They also have exceptional eyesight. There are still permits available for time period F, which is the last week-long period for the turkey season. A high priority for the DNR is that hunters take steps to remain safe, specifically avoiding red, white, or blue colors. Kratcha also mentions to be mindful of other hunters. 

 

 

The Spring season is limited to “tom” or bearded turkeys.

 

Shoreline erosion control project underway in Ephraim

Long-term shoreline erosion control and restoration work is underway in the Village of Ephraim.  The five-week construction schedule involves putting large stone walls in place in a northern section, a central section, and a southern section.  Each section is separated by a gap.  Shoreline Protection Committee Chair Ken Nelson says the nearly $400,000 project will also include a new public dock.

 




Once the erosion control walls are completed, sod and sidewalk repair work will be done.  Nelson says such work is not for public access areas like beaches.  However, he says it is designed to weather future years of high water levels.

 




The Village of Ephraim's shoreline erosion control and restoration project is expected to be completed in early May, just in time for summer tourism.

Sheriff reflects on mental health officer program

The momentum of police departments adding mental health officers to their response teams is nothing new for the Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department. It has been eight years since the Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department and the Kewaunee County Human Services Department received a grant to develop a plan to have law enforcement and mental health services collaborate on calls. Officers were sent to “Crisis Intervention Team” training where they learned how to identify different mental health symptoms and how to interact effectively for more positive outcomes. Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski says small departments need to have cross-training in both areas just because resources can be scarce.

Joski believes all law enforcement personnel should embrace the CIT philosophy through training to help them through volatile situations that may not be what they seem.

 

FROM SHERIFF JOSKI

Recently, there has been a great deal of focus on those law enforcement agencies that are creating “Mental Health Response Officer” positions within their agencies. These are great initiatives in response to tragedies which have unfolded throughout our country over the past few years involving those struggling with mental health, and I have been asked on more than one occasion why we don’t do a similar initiative here in Kewaunee County. This is one of many areas that we here in Kewaunee County should be proud of the forward thinking and collaboration that is exhibited by our local public servants. It was back in 2013 that I wrote the following article, and I thought I would share it again to demonstrate our efforts over the past 8 years.

    

Our communities face many challenges and we in law enforcement work every day to meet those challenges. One of the major issues facing so many is mental health crisis. These events of mental health crisis have various sources varying from physiological to situational. They can be caused by traumatic events either recently or from the distant past. They can be the result of injury either physical or emotional. What they all have in common is the impact on the individual suffering from them as well as that person’s family and friends.

     

For many years the approach law enforcement took in approaching and dealing with Mental Health Crisis was similar to how we dealt with criminal behavior. We have trained to have a well defined response to those we interact with. When we see something other than normal behavior, we historically took that as a clue for deceptive and/or criminal behavior. It is unfortunate that most people in mental health crisis have been met with incarceration rather than consultation.

    

We are starting to see a change in these scenarios due to a heightened awareness of mental health illness, and the increased collaboration between law enforcement and mental health services. A few years ago Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department in cooperation with Kewaunee County Human services applied for and received a grant to address these issues and develop solutions. One of the components of the grant was sending all law enforcement officers in Kewaunee County to what is known as “Crisis Intervention Team” training. This is a weeklong training which introduces the officers to the variety of mental health illnesses, and keys to understanding both cause, and symptoms. By exposing the officers to this type of information, they can better identify these same symptoms in those they may come into contact with back in their communities, and interact effectively for a positive outcome. 

     

I was fortunate to have attended the most recent class held at Fox Valley Technical College. I can honestly say I came away from that training with an increased empathy for what a person goes through when suffering with such an illness, and a greater appreciation for what our officers face when approaching what may or may not be a very volatile situation.

     

We are only part of the solution however, and each one of us needs to better understand what our family, friends and neighbors may be going through in a mental health crisis, whether it be the result of post traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury, or a crisis brought on by the loss of a loved one, or even financial stress due to job loss.

      

Thank you for allowing me to share this past article. Too often we think that because we are a small community that we lack the resources or initiative to stay on the cutting edge of the changes experienced throughout our nation. The continued universal training of all law enforcement officers in the CIT philosophy throughout Kewaunee County is another great example of how bigger isn’t always better.

New restaurant to feature local ag connections

A new restaurant opening west of Algoma this summer has a familiar Kewaunee County farm family backing it. Ebert Enterprises announced earlier this week it would be opening Homestead Kitchen and Tap on the corner of State Highway 54 and County Highway D, just a little ways away from its farm. The food will feature cheese made from the Ebert’s milk processor Agropur and beef from its own herd. It will also feature products from Salmon’s Meats, which the Ebert family purchased last year. Scott Prokash brings a wealth of experience to the role of general manager for Homestead Kitchen and Tap. He hopes it is a place where locals can feel comfortable and grab a good meal.

Homestead Kitchen and Tap is looking to open later this summer. In preparation, Prokash says they are already in the process of hiring cooks, bartenders, and wait staff for the venture.

 

 

Kewaunee County widening vaccine availability

The Kewaunee County Public Health Department is now accepting COVID19 vaccine appointments for anyone above the age of 16. On Wednesday, the county will be distributing the Pfizer vaccine, and on Thursday, it will be the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. People needing an appointment can schedule one by calling the Public Health Department. The department asks those who are on the waiting list but have received the vaccine elsewhere to update the health department so Public Health can remove them from the list. 

Veeser excited to continue her role on Southern Door School Board

Dealing with a health pandemic and hiring a new school superintendent has Southern Door School Board member Janel Veeser looking at her first year of serving on the board as a “crazy” learning experience.


Veeser, who is the board treasurer, was re-elected this past Tuesday.  Reflecting on the board’s accomplishments, Veeser notes that it was incredible that in-person learning has been maintained throughout the school year.

 

 

Veeser adds that the recent hiring of the new school superintendent, Chris Peterson, was the most impactful long-term decision made by the school board in the past year.

 

As far as the motivation to serve on the school board, Veeser cites having two children attending Southern Door schools and her graduation from the Leadership Door County program.  Veeser will now have a full three-year term.  Last year, she filled the vacant seat when Tammy Sternard resigned following her election as Door County Sheriff.  

 

(photo courtesy of Southern Door School District)

Kewaunee County reports COVID-19 death, vaccinations up

Kewaunee County reported their 35th COVID-19 death in the past year as vaccination numbers in the area continue to surge.  Since last Friday, Kewaunee County confirmed seven cases of the coronavirus from 87 test results with active cases going down to 13 and no hospitalizations.   Door County added just one positive COVID-19 cases on Friday from six tests performed. The county now stands at 118 active cases. Meanwhile, Door County surpassed the 50 percent mark when it comes to residents getting vaccinated on Thursday.  The percentage of residents who have received at least one dose of the vaccine now stands at 53.3 percent as of Friday morning.  Kewaunee County reports having vaccinated 32 percent of its population. Door County had distributed 2,167 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine this week while Kewaunee County had administered 913.

 

 

 

Door County offers vaccine choice

Door County Public Health received confirmation that they will continue to receive both the Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines through the month of April. This can give people a choice of vaccine at the time of scheduling based on the availability of each vaccine. Until the month of April, the shipment of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be lesser than it’s been the previous two weeks. Public health does stress that both vaccines are safe and effective. Public Health Director Joe Krebsbach says in the two weeks there isn’t a consistent pattern of whether more people prefer the Pfizer or Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which is just one dose. While some may be weary of potential side effects, Krebsbach still finds it essential to get vaccinated. 

 

 

Though Krebsbach says it’s not common for side effects to occur, one way to prepare is to stay hydrated. Public Health also encourages individuals to check the scheduling site regularly, as appointments can open up even the day of the vaccine clinic. For those who aren’t able to make their scheduled appointment, it is important for individuals to officially cancel their appointment so that the openings become visible.

 

Police to wear cameras

The Sturgeon Bay Police Department has recently issued each of their officers an AXON Body Worn Camera to wear when on duty. Officers have worn the cameras since March 9th as part of a trial period to work out any bugs. The process of looking at body cameras began last summer just before the budgeting process for 2021 began. The department signed a five year contract worth $108,917.17 that includes twenty cameras, various licences, storage, and other related equipment. 

 

One of several reasons for implementing body-worn cameras is to increase transparency of operations and to reduce litigation. Other reasons include protection from false accusations, collecting evidence for trial, and improving community relations. Sturgeon Bay PD Captain Dan Brinkman believes these problems aren’t a worry in Sturgeon Bay so far and finds the officers to be great individuals, but sees this as a help to ensure that continues.

 

 

Brinkman also noted that there is no denying the friction seen across the country played a relatively big role in the decision, and while they can’t control that elsewhere, they can control how officers operate in Sturgeon Bay. While the cameras are looked at as a great tool, Brinkman adds they should never be seen as the sole truth. 

 

 

Officers cannot erase or edit the recorded data. The cameras can be triggered in three different ways. One being when an officer’s squad car emergency lights come on. Another when an officer releases the lock on the squad’s gun rack, or manually by an officer on foot, who may encounter an incident. The department thanked the Sturgeon Bay Common Council in a release as well as the community for being strong, supportive partners. 

 

Two new faces join Gibraltar School Board

The Gibraltar Area School District Board of Education will have a pair of new faces when they officially join later this month. Erick Schrier, Amie Carriere, and incumbent Angela Sherman were elected to the school board following Tuesday’s spring election. Carriere has worked full-time at Main Street Market in Egg Harbor for the last six years after moving to the area in 2011. Schrier moved to the area in 2019 to take on the role of Chief Information Officer at Door County Medical Center.  Schrier says he has a real passion for education and hopes the lessons of the past year can be applied to future growth in the future.

Schrier hopes to become an ear for the community and bring the ideas he hears to the table and prioritizes them.  The Gibraltar Area School District Board of Education will meet on Monday to discuss its current in-school enrollment and present the findings of its study of parent and staff concerns at the high school. The meeting is available via Zoom and begins at 7 p.m.

 

Picture courtesy of Erick Schrier's Facebook campaign page

Bill banning vaccine discrimination circulating

State Senator Andre Jacque has joined a bill’s effort to make sure businesses cannot discriminate against you based on COVID-19 vaccination status. Globally, several countries including those in the European Union and China are in the process of developing digital vaccine passports to allow for easier international travel. The Biden administration ruled out involvement in developing a national vaccine passport earlier this week, but states like New York and Hawaii are experimenting with their own. Originally introduced by Republican state Representative Gae Magnafici, Jacque says the bill is almost like an extension of current HIPAA laws. He adds that whether you choose to get vaccinated or not, it should not lead to discriminatory behavior.

Jacque says the bill is currently circulating throughout the Wisconsin State Legislature and it has already received some bipartisan support. He also hopes Governor Tony Evers signs a bill that would bar the state from requiring people to get vaccinated. He did applaud Door County on its vaccination rate, which crossed the 50 percent barrier on Thursday.

Sturgeon Bay math shines

While there was no team test or team scores this year, Sturgeon Bay still shined in mathematics at the state meet. This year, only individual scores were recorded, and junior Maggie Stephens was the highest scoring individual in the state for Class B. Sturgeon Bay had three others make first-team All State. First team members were senior Carter Henry, junior Andrew Kanop, and sophomore Christy Braun. Sturgeon Bay also had numerous second team all-state members, seniors Abram Abeyta and Abbie Lenius as well as junior Makayla Ash and sophomore Espen Walker. The math team is headed by math teacher Cliff Wind. 

Half of Door County vaccinated

In Thursday’s Door County COVID19 report, five positive tests appeared out of thirty-seven tests performed. There were no hospitalizations or deaths on Thursday. In Wisconsin, fourteen residents passed away and seventy-seven more were hospitalized. Over half of the Door County population has received the vaccine with 52.1% vaccinated. 32.6% have finished the series. In Kewaunee County, 30.8% of residents have received the vaccine while 22.1% have completed the series.

New Kewaunee council member excited for larger role

Kewaunee's newest city council member Robin Nelson has often been discussing what's going on in her community, but now she'll get to be part of the decision-making. Nelson says that several people have asked her to run for the city council or school board, but she declined. Last fall, with the help of a man who noticed her work on the lighthouse committee, Nelson shared that she sought a role to be more clearly heard.

 

 

Nelson also recalled giving presentations at council meetings, and then having to sit and listen to the conversation. Now she is relieved she will get to have a say. Nelson said she respects the government process and is honored and humbled that the people of her district want her to serve them. Nelson was also well aware of the challenges that come with beating an incumbent, as she defeated Joe Mills in Tuesday’s race. Nelson looks forward to being representative of the people and bringing their voice to the council meeting, and hopes to be able to lend creative ideas. Her website lists road repair and maintenance of infrastructure as priorities.

 

Art students decorated with honors

Two AP art Students at Sturgeon bay have recently been recognized for work that they’ve done this school year. Adolfo Arvizu is a senior at SBHS, and fellow artist Makayla Ash is a Junior, and both already have an elaborate portfolio. 

 

Arvizu was a late bloomer in the art department, but surely not a late bloomer in art. Arvizu joined the department late last school year. Arvizu is no rookie to drawing, but credits this last year and his art teacher, Nicole Herbst with helping him grow as an artist. 

 

 

Herbst says Arvizu is a late discovery, but a blessing to the program. Arvizu’s most recent accolades stem from a charcoal piece titled, “My Father,” which was a result of a school project that entailed doing something that embodies his culture. He took a picture of his father, who serves as his inspiration and as a figure of his culture, and strapped on gloves and created an observation piece.

 

 

Arvizu loves drawing, but has a particular affinity for charcoal art. Adolfo’s piece won the Wisconsin Art Education Association Governor’s Choice Award, and the Youth Art Month cash award for March. The piece also won the WAEA Northeastern Regional Show Charcoal Award.

 

Arvizu would like to carry his artistic ability with him, as he is thinking of going to an architecture program at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College. Afterward, he’d like to transfer to Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design and learn more about the interior design aspects. MIAD has offered Arvizu a sizable Merit Portfolio Scholarship. 

 

Makayla Ash is a Junior at SBHS who has also seen her passion and hard work pay off this year, accumulating several awards. While it may seem routine, she still gets surprised to receive such accolades, and shares in jubilation with her art teacher.

 


Ash’s acrylic painting, “Lady with Koi” was a WAEA choice for the cover of “Art Times” magazine and won the WAEA Chair Award at the Youth Art Month state art show. The piece also won a silver key at the Scholastic Art National Contest, as did her pastel piece, “Billie," which also won a cash prize. Her acrylic piece is currently her favorite, as she has put a focus on displaying the strengths and diversity of feminine beauty. 

 

Ash aims to empower others with her art and show that there is beauty in all women regardless of imperfections.

 

 

Ash has looked into a variety of art and design programs, specifically looking at architecture and design. She says she’s inspired by how her art has impacted those close to her. 

 

Ash's award-winning piece, "Billie"

Egg Harbor residents, businesses continue fight for parking

Residents and business owners in Egg Harbor hope to finally solve one of the great battles of the village: parking. The village’s Board of Trustees voted in December to direct staff to change an ordinance so that businesses cannot count on-street parking spaces towards their own counts. More recently, it hosted online forums to allow businesses, residents, and other stakeholders to weigh in on what could be done. Adding to the parking crunch has been the development of several popular businesses to the area’s downtown in recent years. That has pushed some motorists to park in private lots like at Main Street Market and Main Street Shops. Main Street Market owner Kaaren Northrop says they have tried everything to discourage people from parking in their private lot. In the short term, she hopes other area businesses point their customers to available on-street or public lot parking and develop other options for when the village hosts festivals and other events. In the long term, Northrop says upcoming street projects will also help with the village’s parking.  

She adds that Egg Harbor is lucky to be able to grow in its width, which makes it possible for the village to add smaller feeder roads in the future which could also add more on-street parking. Observing current ordinances, having businesses without private lots contribute to public lots, and having those options get more signage and lighting or some of the other ideas out there to improve its parking situation.

Nicolet National Bank earns high marks

Even in the middle of a pandemic, Nicolet National Bank was able to prove how well it can serve its customers. S&P Global Market Intelligence recently ranked Nicolet National Bank as the number nine community bank in the country for operations with $3 billion to $10 billion in assets. The ranking considers a number of financial performance metrics such as revenue growth and asset quality. Nicolet National Bank Senior Vice President of Commercial Banking Jamie Alberts points to the success they had securing mortgages for their clients as a big reason for the high ranking. 

Alberts says it was also active with distributing Payroll Protection Program loans in the area. The bank provided approximately 4,700 PPP loans to area businesses totaling close to $500 million. Alberts points out that two of the top commercial lenders making sure businesses had access to the money work out of Nicolet’s Sturgeon Bay office.

Evers says education and tourism benefit from capital budget plan

State parks in Door County, higher education, and the entire state economy will benefit from Governor Evers' proposed $2.38-billion capital improvement budget. Evers says all that's needed is for GOP lawmakers on the State Building Commission to reconsider their rejection of the plan.  That means park improvements for the Department of Natural Resources and building projects for the UW system face an uncertain future.  During a visit to UW-Green Bay, the governor asked for public support for his proposals which benefit local economies.

Among the Door County projects proposed; include:

  • $1,441,990 to repair and restore the Historic Boat House exterior at Rock Island State Park. 
  • $2,532,500 to replace the Public Entrance Visitor Station at Potawatomi State Park.
  • $2,091,400 GFSB to renovate the Welcker’s Campground toilet/shower buildings at Peninsula State Park. 

Picture courtesy of the Governor's Office and UW-Green Bay

Lux focuses on Island future after win

With the spring election in the rearview mirror, newly elected Washington Island Chairperson Hans Lux is turning his eyes to the future. Lux was a town supervisor on Washington Island before defeating Richard Tobey 255-188 on Tuesday. Residents got a preview of the type of communication he would like to have with residents moving forward in late December as the Island experienced a surge in COVID-19 cases.  Lux says he wanted to become the Washington Island Chairperson so residents could feel more involved with the decision-making.

Lux cites the town’s infrastructure as a challenge moving forward. He would like to create a strategic plan of three, five, and ten years to give potential projects some direction and goals while getting more people involved.

Tooley named to Kids from Wisconsin

Southern Door High School Senior Brady Tooley will finally have his summer with Kids from Wisconsin. The performance troupe named its 2021 cast earlier this week and included Tooley for the second year in a row. Tooley was in the 2020 cast, but those performances were axed due to the ongoing pandemic. Kids from Wisconsin asked the 2020 cast to come back to perform in the show “Live! In Living Color,” which will highlight the musical performances at iconic venues such as The Ed Sullivan Theater, The Grand Ole Opry, House of Blues, and Broadway. Tooley feels fortunate to have another chance at the opportunity this summer.

Their complete schedule will be finalized later this month, but Kids from Wisconsin is slated to perform at Egg Harbor’s Peg Egan Performing Arts Center on July 26th. Their current schedule kicks off in Wauwatosa on July 4th and ends with their nine-day residency at the Wisconsin State Fair in August.

Door County adds five new cases

Door County added another five positive COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, the same day the public health department hosted another mass vaccination clinic. The county now stands at 112 active cases.

 

Meanwhile, Door County will likely cross the 50 percent mark when it comes to residents getting vaccinated after Wednesday’s clinic held by the public health department. Last week, Door County Public Health vaccinated over 900 people during a similar event.

 

As of Wednesday morning, Door County had distributed 609 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine this week while Kewaunee County had administered 236.

 

Tests Performed: 17,029 (+18)
Positive: 2,539 (+5)

Probable: 214 (+1)
Negative: 14,276 (+12)

Active: 112 (+5)

Deaths: 21 

Total Ever Hospitalized: 86 

Understanding the Reported Data

 

Wisconsin 

Tests Performed: 3,338,154 (+5,148)
Positive: 581,797 (+727)
Negative: 2,756,357 (+4,421)
Deaths: 6,653 (+5)

Total Ever Hospitalized: 27,894 (+25)

Superintendents upbeat about Underly election

Voters' choice of Jill Underly as State Superintendent of Schools is drawing positive reactions from school superintendents in Door and Kewaunee counties.  Underly, who currently serves as Pecatonica School Superintendent,  was elected Tuesday as Wisconsin's top educator.  Some area superintendents believe Underly understands the challenges local districts have faced during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Gibraltar School Superintendent Tina Van Meer says Underly's commitment to improving broadband internet access for schools shows the growing importance of remote learning.

Underly's commitment to early childhood education is being welcomed by Kewaunee School Superintendent Karen Treml, especially when it comes to funding all-day Four-Year-Old Kindergarten.

Jill Underly will take over as State School Superintendent in July.

 

Photo from Underly's campaign website

YMCA safely helping swimmers

In a year where there have been many questions on what is safe or unsafe, the YMCA is encouraging people to sign up for swim lessons. Door County YMCA aquatics and competitive swimming instructor Mike McHugh mentions that the staff is taking safety precautions when teaching. 

 

 

The YMCA is expanding their swimming lessons quickly and McHugh estimates that there are 150 people in lessons at the moment. McHugh also mentions the opportune timing, as Summer is right around the corner, water safety is as important as ever. He adds that taking up swimming lessons will transfer when people want to enjoy the outdoors. 

 

(Photo: Door County YMCA)

Tourist rooming house regulations updated

A second reading of the Tourist House Room Regulations passed at Tuesday’s Sturgeon Bay Common Council meeting and will become municipal code upon publication. The second reading included transferring the tourist rooming house section out of the zoning chapter and into the licensing and permitting chapter. 

 

In addition, the ordinance will contain four requirements. Those include having insurance for use, a need to provide two parking spaces per unit, reiterating the need to put out garbage cans at a certain time as opposed to putting them out early, and specifying an occupancy load for a tourist rooming house based on the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection uses to regulate the use. The last regulation stated is regulating recreational vehicles, tents, and campers in conjunction with renting out a facility. 

 

Planning and Zoning administrator Christopher Sullivan-Robinson gave the reading. The reading was passed unanimously.  

 

 

School play hitting the green screen

Sturgeon Bay High School is the latest area school to be performing their play for a virtual audience in efforts to remain safe. Sturgeon Bay will be performing the classic “Les Miserables”, using a recording studio, green-screen, and new camera equipment with an editor’s help. Play Director Ben Olejniczak feels like the students handled it wonderfully, but it was daunting to start. 

 


Olejniczak anticipates the play will look more like a movie. The school aims to reach an audience from all around the country. The crew will make the production available via “ShowTix4U.com” from April 21st to April 24th. Olejniczak is in his first year directing productions for Sturgeon Bay, as he took over for Leslie Hill.

 

(Photo courtesy of Sturgeon Bay High School) 

Tight races highlight school board elections

Six people ran for three seats on the Gibraltar school board and preliminary results indicate Angela Sherman, Amie Carriere, and Erick Schrier will occupy the seats. Sturgeon Bay had a neck and neck race for three school board seats as well. For unofficial results on these contested races and other contested school board elections click here.

Superintendent candidates nearly split Kewaunee County

In a race that headlined the 2021 Spring elections, Jill Underly is the projected winner of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction seat. Underly also unofficially won Door County by a wide margin and very narrowly in Kewaunee County, by less than forty votes as of 11 PM on Tuesday. 

 

Rick Cveykus unofficially defeated Gregory Gill in the third district Court of Appeals race. 

 

For more on these races and other contested area races click here.

 

Kewaunee County election results of contested races

A busy night at the polls in Kewaunee County Tuesday saw a slate of several lopsided election results.

 

The City of Kewaunee will have new faces at its next council meeting.  In District 1, Arthur J. Schiller lost his seat to challenger John Blaha.  Blaha edged Schiller with 108 votes to 89.  Wendy Shelton defeated Evan Gibbs for District 2 by garnering 131 to 41 votes.  Joe Mills lost his District 3 seat to Robin S. Nelson, who won by a 123-37 margin.

Dan Kassner will be the West Kewaunee Chairperson as he defeated Milt Swagel by a huge 188-61 vote difference.

 

The Town of Ahnapee has a newly elected supervisor as Gerald Gary Paape defeated Daniel Haas on Tuesday night.  Paape received 97 votes to Haas’ 52.

 

In the Town of Red River, voters decisively picked their two supervisors and a town clerk.  Paul Dalebroux won over John M. Maas by a 165 to 63 margin.  Steven J. LeGrave defeated David Schmidt by receiving 159 votes, compared to 62 for Schmidt.  The town clerk position will go to Sandy Monfils, who easily defeated Kasie Schmidt 161-60. 

 

The Village of Luxemburg saw Jack Seidl retain his president seat by defeating challenger Larry W. Hurley by a convincing 259-108 margin.

 

The three Village Trustees in Luxemburg will be Dan Rueckl, Brian Barbiaux, and Ronald Tlachac.  Those three outpolled both Germaine Burkart and Lori Lynn Heraly to claim the three trustee positions. 

 

Linda Jonet won the chairperson seat for the Town of Luxemburg.  Jonet captured 166 votes compared to the 59 that James A. Reckelberg received. 

 

You can find complete unofficial election night results here.  

Ephraim PRAT, Kress Pavilion funding referenda approved

Door County voters approved four different referendum questions on Tuesday.

 

In Ephraim, voters approved adding a 0.5 percent Premier Resort Area Tax by a 91-31 vote margin. The village now joins communities like Sister Bay in adding an extra tax on tourism-related purchases to fund infrastructure needs.

 

In Egg Harbor, voters agreed to increase the levy limit not-to-exceed $120,000 for seven years to fund future maintenance at the Kress Pavilion by an 87-74 margin. If revenues are able to increase, the village will not have to levy the full $120,000.

 

In Gardner, voters chose to allow the town to pursue zoning regulations 195-165. The referendum is only advisory and it will not be taken up by the town board at its annual meeting on April 20th. 

 

On Washington Island, voters approved allowing the school district to exceed its levy limits by $675,000 for the 2021-2022 school year and by $775,00 for the 2022-2023 school year for non-recurring purposes to pay for the ongoing operational expenses of the school district. Wisconsin's smallest school district heavily relies on its residents to fund its operation thanks to limited funding from the state. They did so by a 251-188 tally.

 

Click here to see more unofficial results from Tuesday's spring election

Early Spring favorable for Sturgeon Bay projects

The early spring and increasing temperatures are key factors in the city of Sturgeon Bay’s ability to move forward on projects. Work has resumed on the west waterfront. City Administrator Josh Van Lieshout was pleased to give these reports to the Sturgeon Bay Common Council on Tuesday.

 

 

Van Lieshout also made aware that residents will see more Department of Public Works out in the city and related traffic with flashing lights, such as work and dump trucks. Van Lieshout also looks forward to the street sweeper being out more mornings, as well as the benefits that he says separates Sturgeon Bay from many other communities in Wisconsin. 

 

 

Mayor David Ward also said in his report that the Graham Park project development will continue, and he is hoping for a ribbon-cutting ceremony in mid-May.

 

Active cases drop, Door County nearing 50% on vaccinations

Door County Public Health reported two confirmed cases out of 17 tests performed.  The active cases went down 18 from 125 to 107. There were no recent deaths or hospitalizations reported in Door County.

 

The state disclosed 886 positive tests and eight deaths on Tuesday, along with 72 more hospitalizations.

 

On the vaccination front, the Department of Health Services reported that Kewaunee County administered 63 doses this week so far, while Door County has given 106 doses. Door County now has vaccinated nearly half of the authorized population (48.8%) with at least the first dose, and Kewaunee County has given the first dose just under 30 percent (29.7%).

 

Tournament season making comeback

There’s growing optimism for fishing tournaments on the peninsula’s world class fishing waters in 2021. The hope is that tournaments, like the upcoming Sturgeon Bay Bass fishing tournament that begins on May 7th, can be closer to normal this year. Tournament director Gary Nault, made it known that COVID19 mitigation measures will still be in effect. One change that will carry over from last year and perhaps permanently, is weighing fish on the water. 

 

 

A positive for the fish is that this change keeps them from being relocated to a spot where they weren’t caught.

 

A busy month of May is also in the plans, with another bass tournament the following weekend. A big event is a National Walleye tournament which will launch from Sawyer Park during Memorial Day week, starting on May 27th. The tournaments will also help the community with an influx of visitors and tourism dollars. 

 

 

Nault also mentioned the publicity Sturgeon Bay and Door County would get, as some tournaments are recognized nationally.

 

Pebble Beach public access plans taking shape

Land management plans, fundraising, and meeting public parking needs were among the items addressed by Sister Bay's Ad Hoc Friends of Pebble Beach Committee on Monday.  Committee members heard from Nancy Aten and Dan Collins with Landscapes of Place.  They conducted surveys of flora and fauna on the 17-acre property near Sister Bay.  Aten says volunteer efforts are needed to control invasive plants like garlic mustard and hounds tongue. She also says it can easily be done by hand in late May or early June, and in the fall. Though, it will require an extended effort.

Friends of Pebble Beach committee members plan to reach out to local residents and groups with the tools and vehicles needed to help with the removal process.  The committee is also looking at unique fundraisers, including serving dinner on the beach itself.  Julie Schartner, with the Door County Land Trust, says similar events have proven successful for other groups.

Such an event would be a long-term strategy.  The Ad Hoc Friends of Pebble Beach Committee also has short-term plans to open the 600-foot beachfront to the public.  Chair Chad Kodanko says that includes having a bare-bones parking lot in place in time for the summer vacation season.

The Ad Hoc Friends of Pebble Beach Committee will discuss the progress of these and other proposals for Pebble Beach when it meets again on May 3rd.

Algoma Youth Club slowly reopening

The sounds of children echoed against the walls of the Algoma Youth Club for the first time in a year last month.

 

Algoma Elementary's fifth and sixth-grade students were among the first kids to have fun in space and try the food cooked in the club’s new commercial air fryer. The time closed also allowed for parts of the Algoma Youth Club to get a fresh coat of paint and other minor changes.  A popular destination on the weekend for members of the community, the Algoma Youth Club will still remain closed on the weekends to support the schools’ efforts to keep students in their pods. Algoma Parks and Recreation Department Director Sara Robertson says they are also reopening to smaller groups to rent until they are ready to fully reopen.

Robertson says meetings for the weight loss club and Alcoholics Anonymous and events like the men’s pool league are also slowly returning to the space.

 

Picture from Algoma Youth Club Facebook page

Farmers to Families food boxes hit three sites

This week’s Farmers to Families food box distribution will once again cover three different sites. Sturgeon Bay, Sister Bay, and Washington Island will all hold distribution events on Friday. Washington Island’s will take place from 4:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. while the Sister Bay and Sturgeon Bay events will begin at 4 p.m. It marks the first time the partnership between the Door County Food Pantry Coalition, the Door County Fire Chiefs Association, the USDA, and Feeding America has been able to bring back food boxes to the area since March 12th . United Way of Door County Executive Director Amy Kohnle expects the demand to be high because of the layoff.

The possibly last Farmers to Families food box distribution is April 23rd. Last week’s mask mandate ruling exempts the state from approximately $50 million in federal funding from the CARES Act for food benefits such as the Farmers to Families food boxes. You can find more information about the three distribution sites below.

 

 

Picture courtesy of Washington Island Community Health Program Facebook page

 

Local referendum questions and contested races abound

Local school boards, referendum questions, and positions in municipal governments will all be on the docket for Tuesday’s spring election. Three Door County schools will have races to fill seats on their respective boards. Sturgeon Bay has four candidates to fill three seats, Southern Door has three people running for two open seats, and the Gibraltar school board will have six names on the ballot to fill three positions. Washington Island will have a referendum item to allow for exceeding the revenue limit for the next two years for non-recurring purposes of paying operational expenses.

 
On the referendums in municipalities, Gardner will be asking residents if the town should pursue establishing zoning regulations. The Village of Ephraim will have a referendum on paying for infrastructure expenses by seeking a one-half percent sales tax on tourism-related items offered by retailers.  The Village of Egg Harbor will be asking voters to decide on a referendum that would allow exceeding the increase-tax limit for 2022, with the purpose of providing operating funds for the Donald and Carol Kress Pavilion and Egg Harbor Library.

In Kewaunee County, the Town of Ahnapee will decide between Gerald Paape and Daniel Haas for the #2 supervisor position. At the same time, the City of Kewaunee will have three contested races for their common council. The Village of Luxemburg residents will be voting between Jack Seidl and Larry Hurley for president, and three trustee positions among five candidates. The Town Chair for Luxemburg will come down to Linda Jonet and James Reckelberg.

The Town of Red River has two races for two supervisor positions and a contested town clerk race. The race for the town chair position in West Kewaunee will be decided between Dan Kassner and Milt Swagel.

 

The polls open at 7 am Tuesday and will remain open until 8 pm.

COVID-19 cases increase as vaccinations amp up

The number of positive tests for COVID-19 reported Monday in the area increased slightly as vaccinations were opened to anyone in the state now who is 16 years or older.

 
Door County Public Health reported five new cases out of the 26 tests performed since Friday, with active cases going up to 125. There were no recent deaths or hospitalizations reported in Door County.

 

The Department of Health Services reported Monday that Kewaunee County administered 1440 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine last week, with 29.4 percent of residents have received at least one dose.  Door County numbers reflected over 2900 doses given, with nearly 50 percent of residents getting at least the first vaccine. 

 

Gov. Evers declares State of Emergency as wildfire risks increase

In response to high wildfire conditions throughout Wisconsin, Governor Tony Evers declared a State of Emergency on Monday afternoon.  “With nearly the entire state experiencing high or very high fire risk, protecting Wisconsinites from the destructive dangers of wildfires is a top priority,” Evers said.  “The ability of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to have all available resources ready to be quickly dispatched is a critical element in keeping fires small and achieving swift containment.”

 

The signed Executive Order #110 comes after more than 320 wildfires have already been reported this year in Wisconsin.

 

Four fire departments in Door County responded to five separate incidents of brush fire calls over the past weekend.  

 

The new order will also allow the Army National Guard to send Blackhawk helicopters to parts of the state needing additional resources through the spring fire season.  Local burning bans are being placed in effect as every county in Wisconsin is at a very high risk of wildfire.  

Allotment exceeds appointments for COVID vaccine

Monday marked the first day all Wisconsin residents 16 and over became eligible for COVID-19 vaccines and Door County Public Health has them if you want it. The county announced on Friday that its allotment of Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines exceeds the number of appointments it has for its upcoming clinic day on Wednesday. The state had slowly added groups to the list of people eligible for the vaccine since December until last Tuesday when they said everyone over the age of 16 could get vaccinated if they chose to do so. After doing about 900 doses at its vaccine clinic last week, Door County Health and Human Services Director Joe Krebsbach said last week it would have to adjust things if they got more supply.

As of Monday morning, 48.4 percent of Door County residents have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine with 28.6 percent fully vaccinated. The efforts of Door County Public Health, Door County Medical Center, and other partners set a record high for vaccines administered at just over 2,900. 

 

 

Scouting for Food returns

Area members of Scouts USA and Cub Scouts units will be crisscrossing the area the next two weekends as a part of their annual Scouting for Food Drive.

 

The food drive kicks off by dropping off bags on April 10th and picking them up full of non-perishable items on April 17th. Last year’s Scouting for Food Drive was moved to the fall due to the pandemic, though Bay-Lakes Council BSA did mobilize local units to do virtual events to help raise much-needed funds.  

 

Scouts USA Troop 1022 leader Sean Linnan says the community has been great in supporting local families in need at area food pantries since the pandemic's beginning.

Linnan is happy Scouting for Food is returning this year as the Boy Scouts of America have tried to find the balance between keeping families safe while still meeting to support the community. Bay-Lakes Council has held the annual Scouting for Food Drive for the last 32 years.

 

Picture courtesy of Sturgeon Bay Rotary Club

B.U.G., Washington Island Fire Departments issue burn bans

Another busy weekend for area fire departments has caused at least two burn bans in Door County.

 

The Washington Island Fire Department was the first to respond to a brush fire during the holiday weekend with a 12:30 p.m. call on Friday. Washington Island Fire Chief Pete Nehlsen said the landowner on West Little Lake Road had the proper permit, but high winds and dry conditions caused more than 10 acres to burn. It took 20 firefighters and five trucks to put out the fire. As a result, Nehlsen issued a burn ban on the island until further notice.

 

Southern Door Fire Department responded to two calls late in the afternoon in the Town of Nasewaupee on Friday, though neither required much assistance from firefighters according to Fire Chief Chuck Cihlar.

 

There was also another fire call in the Town of Sevastopol on County Highway T at 7:18 p.m., but no details have been shared as of Monday morning.

 

The Brussels-Union-Gardner Fire Department tended to the last fire call of the weekend on Saturday at around noon near Tru Way Road in the Town of Union. It was a grass fire that grew out of control, burning approximately three-quarters of an acre. Fire Chief Curt Vandertie issued a burn ban for Brussels, Union, and Gardner over the weekend, saying the conditions are just too dangerous.

Gibraltar and Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Departments have also tended to brush fires in the last week. Fire danger is rated as “very high” across the state according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Their data shows that 41 wildfires in the state have burned more than 491 acres.

Falling water levels exposing Lake Michigan beach space

Water levels are dropping on Lake Michigan and that's exposing more sandy beach space in Door and Kewaunee Counties.  The Army Corps of Engineers says the current lake levels are down 11-inches from March 2020.  Summer visitors will see a larger beach at Whitefish Dunes State Park near Sturgeon Bay.  Park Superintendent Erin Brown-Stender, however, says the main beach access point will remain closed while repair work is being done.

 




More sandy space is also being seen at Crescent Beach in Algoma.  Public Works Director Matt Murphy says receding waters have left the beach strewn with driftwood, which can now be more easily removed.

 




The Corps of Engineers this summer will also be repairing portions of the Algoma Pier damaged by water erosions.

Sexual assault awareness a focus for Sturgeon Bay Police

This month the Sturgeon Bay Police Department is using their squad cars to draw attention to sexual assault. April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and the SBPD will be sporting teal ribbons on their squad cars which signifies the relationship between the Sexual Assault Center and law enforcement for survivors. Sexual assault is an underreported crime, and SBPD Officer and Sexual Assault Investigator, Michelle Snover wants victims to know that there are people to talk to about their situation. 

 

 

Snover notes that there are laws to assist victims in keeping anonymity. Snover also encourages victims or third parties to reach out to her, even if they don’t feel ready to report a case. 

 

 

According to Rainn.org statistics, an American is sexually assaulted once every seventy-three seconds. 

 

Absentee voting trend continues

Polling sites will look much similar to last November’s general elections on Tuesday, but the number of voters at the sites will likely be significantly lower than typical election years. Door County Clerk Jill Lau says that there is a 75 percent increase in absentee voting in 2021 compared to Spring elections in 2019. In November voters who cast their ballot on election day saw a much different layout at the polling locations than they did for other elections. 

 

The same precautions from this past November’s election will apply such as sneeze guards, hand sanitizing, single use pen, and wearing masks will be encouraged.

 

Per usual, the polling sites will be open from 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM.  A list of Door County races and referendums can be found below: 


 

  • State Superintendent of public instruction
    • Deborah Kerr - former superintendent of Brown Deer School District
    • Jill Underly - Superintendent of Pecatonica School District
  • Wisconsin Court of Appeals - District 3
    • Rick Cveykus
    • Gregory Gill Jr. 
  • Sturgeon Bay school board (three seats) 
    • Roger Wood
    • Angela Kruse
    • Damion Howard
    • Teri Hooker
  • Southern Door school board (two seats) 
    • Janel Veeser
    • Christopher Jackson
    • Josh Jeanquart
  • Gibraltar school board (three seats)
    • Carrie Becker
    • Cambria Mueller
    • Angela Sherman
    • Jamie Christianson
    • Erick Shrier
    • Amie Carriere
  • Forestville village board
    • Jessica Koskubar
    • Scott Pinchart
    • Dan Merkle
  • Gardner town board supervisor 1
    • Glen Merkle 
    • Michelle Ploor
  • Gardner town chairperson 
    • Mark Stevenson
    • Carl Waterstreet
  • Washington town chairperson
    • Richard Tobey
    • Hans Lux
  • Town of Gardner Referendum 
    • Shall the town of Gardner pursue establishing zoning regulations within the town.
  • Village of Ephraim Referendum
    • To pay for infrastructure expenses defined in section 66.1113(1)(a) of the Wisconsin Statutes, should the Village of Ephraim seek authority to levy a .5% sales tax on tourist related items sold, leased, or rented through tourist related retailers? 
  • Village of Egg Harbor Referendum
    • Under state law, the increase in the levy of the Village of Egg Harbor for the tax to be imposed for the next fiscal year, 2022, is limited to .785% which results in a levy of $2,297,577. Shall the Village of Egg Harbor be allowed to exceed the limit and increase the levy for the next fiscal year, 2022, for the purpose of providing operating funds for the Donald and Carol Kress Pavilion and Egg Harbor Library, by a total of 5.223%, which results in a levy of $2,417,577 and include and not exceed the increase of $120,000 for fiscal years 2022 through 2028
  • Washington Island School Referendum

Shall the following Resolution be approved? Be it resolved by the School Board of Washington Island School District, Door County, Wisconsin, that the revenues included in the Washington Island School District budget be authorized to exceed the revenue limit specified in Section 121.91, Wisconsin Statutes, by $675,000 for the 2021-2022 school year and by $775,000 for the 2022-2023 school year for non-recurring purposes of paying the ongoing operational expenses of the school district.

B & B's making some COVID-19 precautions standard procedure

Door County businesses have had to make changes in operation in the year since the COVID-19 pandemic began.  Lodging operators had to delay opening for business last spring.  That meant changes in housekeeping and reservation procedures to protect employees and guests.  White Lace Inn Co-owner Dennis Statz says even after the pandemic eases he'll likely retain those changes, especially with having more jobs open and fewer people to fill them.

 




Statz says he made those changes at White Lace Inn based on his experiences last summer.

Fishers reminded of refuge

In an effort to manage habitat and population of species in the Mink River, Northern Door fishermen are reminded of a refuge downstream. Door County DNR Conservation Warden Chris Kratcha says the change will last until Mid-June.

 


The closure went into effect in March. The change is not new, as it was instituted last year, but Kratcha finds it important to remind those who’ve forgotten. He says the DNR will persist in making people aware of the change. Kratcha also says this change will be in place every year going forward. It has been debated in the past whether or not to make the river a fish refuge. The Mink River is located near Newport State Park.

Feeling safe at the "Y"

When the pandemic first came to light in 2020, wellness centers that had to close their doors like the Door County YMCA were among hard hit businesses. Since getting to open their doors again on June 1st, Active Older Adult Coordinator Christine Webb-Miller says they’ve been committed to keeping members and staff safe. This includes making sure everyone that comes in is masked and asking that they stay covered when exercising. Other measures include keeping class participants a safe distance from each other, and having cleaning crews work around the clock. Webb-Miller complimented members saying they’ve been very compliant, and that they’ve said they feel safe. 

 

 

As more offerings are made, one program that the YMCA looks forward to participants working out in is the Moving for Better Balance program, which aids fall prevention. This is a twelve week evidence-based program based on the principles of Tai Chi, an art that is commonly recommended by doctors as adults get older. The program teaches the first eight movements of Tai Chi that have been modified for fall prevention. The techniques aim to improve balance, muscle strength, flexibility, mobility, and offer a sense of connectivity amongst the group.

 

Griffon String Quartet expands Alzheimer's outreach to Green Bay

A successful music program that aids Alzheimer's patients and their caregivers in Door County is expanding to Green Bay.  The Griffon String Quartet, which is part of Midsummer's Music in Sister Bay, received a grant from the Irene Daniell Kress Fund of the Greater Green Bay Community Foundation.  That will allow the quartet to perform additional Memory Cafes through the B-Double Sharp program. It brings together those facing memory loss and those who support them with others facing the same struggles.  Previous Memory Cafe's have been held at the Door County Medical Center and Scandia Village in Door County and the Green Bay Botanical Garden.  Russ Warren, Marketing and Media Director with Midsummer's Music, was told of a previous Memory Cafe performance that had therapeutic results for one patient.

 




In addition to the Memory Cafes, the Griffon String Quartet have done musical outreachs to schools throughout Door and Brown counties.   

 

(Photo courtesy of Midsummers Music)

BALL Auto moving to new location

A downtown Algoma business is relocating to the city’s industrial park this April after eight months of planning.  BALL Auto & Truck Parts, which has been leasing the building at the 4th Street location since 2013, will be moving into the old JAG Signs building at 1508 Sunset Avenue.  Owner Brad Bosar shares the reason behind the move and purchase.

 

 

The new location opens on April 12th and will provide 50 percent additional floor space with expanded brand lines.  Bosar estimates that the increase in inventory value will be well over $100,000.  With extra workspace, Bosar anticipates adding more employees as well.   BALL Auto & Truck Parts also has a NAPA store location in Two Rivers. 

 

Ag leaders urge vaccination

Ag leaders across the midwest and in Wisconsin are banding together to show appreciation for ag and food workers for their continuous efforts throughout the COVID19 pandemic. With warmer weather in the forecasts and more events on the horizon, more Summer events are anticipated than in 2020. On Thursday, ag leaders urged producers and workers to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection secretary-designee, Randy Romanski took to video to outline potential benefits of being vaccinated. 

 

 

Officials in the same video showed support for the Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson vaccine’s effectiveness.

 

Turning Point reflects on challenges

After nearly four years operating and in the midst of a pandemic, Turning Point Door County has continued to give challenged individuals a safe and educational environment to learn and expand working skills. Turning Point was fortunately deemed a critical business and never had to shut down since the beginning of the pandemic. Though they got to stay open, operations manager Tim Beck still said it was a challenging year as some members opted to stay home.  He noted a lot of changes had to be made, even to the infrastructure of the building. 

 

 

Beck considers Turning Point lucky to be able to curb a virus breakout since the pandemic started. To help keep the virus out of the building, staff had to work extra hard cleaning and some members even had to redirect some of their skills. Beck did allude to the situation being used as an education tool. 

 

 

Beck looks forward to when Turning Point can put the pandemic in the rear-view when it is safe to do so. As part of Turning Point’s “inclusion revolution,” they will be eager to get out in the public as much as possible. This includes ramping up field trips, getting into the community, and learning experiences like going to museums and to the grocery stores.

Kewaunee Public Library Opening to Regular Hours

The Kewaunee Public library is looking forward to opening to its regular hours. As of April 5th, the library will be open for its full hours. As described by the library’s director Carol Petrina.

 

 

Along with their hours opening up this week, the library will also celebrate national library week from April 4th to the 10th. They will be hosting many activities, including a stuffed animal sleepover. More information about the sleepover and their other activities can be found on the Kewaunee Public Library website.

DHS offers new guidance

With COVID19 continuing to spread and new variants of SARS-CoV-2 found throughout Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services has issued new guidance for those who are both vaccinated and unvaccinated on Friday. They also issued updated guidance for businesses, organizations, and community services to remain safe. DHS stated in a release that they recognize that some people have privileges and resources that allow them to choose how and when to interact in person and impact their access to vaccination, and that others can’t. They also mentioned that they know many people do not choose where they work or live and that some cannot engage in prevention practices or face barriers to vaccination due to underlying conditions and socioeconomic factors. 

 

For people unvaccinated many of the precautions such as social distancing when possible, wearing a mask and being tested still apply. DHS also encouraged being vaccinated as early as possible. For those fully vaccinated, the DHS still suggests physically distancing and wearing a mask when in public, gathering with unvaccinated people from more than one other household, and visiting with an unvaccinated person at increased risk of death or severe illness. 

 

(Photo courtesy of Wisconsin Department of Health Services)

 

Warmer weather means extra caution

With warmer weather comes more people frequenting the roadways on the peninsula, and caution is advised. Door County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Pat McCarty stresses that drivers are going to have to be more cautious and aware that more people will be sharing the roadway. 

 

 

McCarty also encourages being a step ahead by anticipating the unanticipated when it comes to other pedestrian activities on roads. He also urges drivers to understand that cyclists are granted rights for sharing the road.

 

 

Another thing for drivers to be aware of is that it is construction season. McCarty pointed out a construction project that will be taking place on County HWY A in the near future which will affect traffic and also increase construction traffic in the area.

 

Crossroads Easter EGGStravaganza

The Crossroads at Big Creek is preparing for its annual Easter event on Saturday, April 4th. This event is named EGGStravaganza, and there will be two chances to participate on the 4th, one at 1:00 pm and another at 2:00 pm. This event is a chance for children to learn about eggs and their exciting properties. The program director at Crossroads, Coggin Herringa, describes what the event will look like and what kind of activities children will be able to participate in.

 

 

This event is a great chance for kids to learn about eggs and why they are so strong.

Door County dulling spike

Friday’s COVID19 report in Door County showed an adjustment that subtracted four COVID19 tests performed, and added a positive case. No new deaths or hospitalizations were reported. This week in Kewaunee County one resident was hospitalized but no deaths occured. Nine Kewaunee County residents tested positive in the last week. 

 

Door County has 47.5% of residents who’ve had a shot of the vaccine and 28.1% complete the series. In Kewaunee County 28.1% of residents have had at least one shot and 19.2% have completed the series. 

 

Destination Door County hopeful for J-1 visa students

After a proclamation that suspended the J-1 visa program last year because of the COVID19 pandemic expired, hosts and businesses in Door County are now looking to see what comes next. As it stands right now, the State Department is allowed to issue visas to students who would like to come to the United States through the J-1 visa program. A cultural and educational exchange program, the J-1 visa makes it possible for post-secondary students from other parts of the world to come to Door County for seasonal employment. The caveat is the uncertainty with the virus and the limitations it will present. Destination Door County’s membership director, Phil Berndt notes that nothing is for sure.

 

 

Another uncertainty is the amount of students who would be allowed into Door County. Berndt says they are hopeful that they will be able to get more than the very few students they received last year, but he doesn’t anticipate they will get their typical 500 students. According to Berndt, the program helps bridge the gap between students who come to Door County for seasonal employment and employers looking to fill their staff. 

 

Berndt says that some may get a false impression that J-1 students take jobs from Americans but the opposite is the case. He described them as important to the local economy. Berndt even added that not having J-1 workers can hurt American workers in some cases.  

 

 

Berndt says now it is important for employers who have worked with J-1 students before to reach out to their sponsor organizations to find out how they can help facilitate receiving J-1 students this Summer. Employers will also have to understand how to accommodate students amid the COVID19 pandemic. 

 

 

Lighthouse festivals shine past borders

The Door County Lighthouse Festivals will cover the entire peninsula in 2021. In addition to airplane tours that will take visitors to see all 11 Door County lighthouses, this year’s spring and fall editions will also take guests to see the Algoma Pierhead Lighthouse, the Kewaunee Pierhead Lighthouse, and the Grassy Island Range Lights near Green Bay. The festivals will also feature water and land-based tours. Door County Maritime Museum Deputy Director Sam Perlman says people remain passionate about the area’s lighthouses.

The United States Coast Guard Canal Station, the Eagle Bluff Lighthouse in Peninsula State Park, the Cana Island Lighthouse, and both maritime museums are also participating in the Door County Lighthouse Festivals, which are taking place June 11th-13th and October 1st-3rd. Tickets are currently available to the public.

Churches prepare for Easter

Local churches are preparing for their first in-person Easter service in over a year this Sunday. According to the Pew Research Center, U.S. churches have seen a nine percent increase in people who normally attend religious services go back within the last month. Seventy-six percent of regular churchgoers believe they can attend services without catching or spreading COVID-19, which is up from 64 percent last July.  Friends Community Church Pastor Nancy Bontempo hopes people can connect the events of the last year with the Easter promise.

 

 

Father Dan Schuster of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Luxemburg and Holy Trinity Parish in Casco wants people to be lifted up by the words of God and the gift he has for everyone.

Immanuel Lutheran Church Pastor Matthew Sprunger hopes people can share in the joy of the Easter message.

A year after having to close their doors for Easter, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church Pastor Joel McKenney has learned a lot about his congregation.

Services will be taking place throughout the weekend at area churches, including special commemorations at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in Champion. 96.7 WBDK will air Easter services at 9 a.m. (St Paul's Lutheran Church) and 10 a.m. (Friends Community Church) and on 104.1 WRLU at 8 a.m. St. Francis and St. Mary Parish Brussels)

 

FATHER JOHN BROUSSARD, THE RECTOR OF THE SHRINE OF OUR LADY OF GOOD HELP, REFLECTS ON LENT

 

Community theater takes trip to Pooh Corner

The Algoma Community Theater is starting preparations for its summer musical in June. The production of “Winnie The Pooh” is part of Algoma Elementary School’s larger summer camp program, which covers a pair of two-week sessions. The musical will be limited to kids entering first through ninth grades after the district was able to successfully host high school performances this year. Director Jennifer Massey says the kids are excited to get back on a stage for the first time in over a year.

Massey says the performances on June 25th will be streamed so the general public can watch, but performers will also get two tickets apiece so their parents can have an opportunity to watch in person.  Registration has just opened up for area kids to sign for the summer camp sessions, which runs from June 7th to June 25th.

Liberty Grove fire latest example of dry conditions

Area fire departments are getting their work in this week as fire danger levels remain high due to dry conditions. The Washington Island Fire Department was dispatched to Range Line Road just before 10 a.m. for a brush fire that reportedly got a little out of control. At approximately 12:50 p.m., the Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Department responded to a fire near Beechwood Road. There a homeowner disposed of ashes from a fireplace out in the woods before they were completely out. It took approximately 30 minutes for the department to put out the fire that burned approximately two acres of land but caused no other damage or injuries. Fire Chief Chris Hecht says it got drier quicker this year and people need to exercise extra caution.

There was a third fire call in the town of Gardner at approximately 5:30 p.m., but Brussels-Union-Gardner Fire Chief Curt Vandertie says no crews were dispatched as it was a control burn with a valid permit. The Ephraim Fire Department took advantage of the conditions to conduct their own grass fire practice while the Gibraltar Fire Department fought a brush fire earlier this week.

 

 

Sturgeon Bay twisting away from tornado sirens

Technological advancements and new data on effectiveness and costs of maintenance of tornado sirens has prompted the city of Sturgeon Bay to get rid of theirs. According to the Sturgeon Bay Fire Department, the costs, benefits, and disadvantages of maintaining the city’s six sirens has been carefully evaluated. Fire Department Chief Tim Dietman credits the growing technology landscape for allowing this procedure. 

 

 

As technology continues to advance, Dietman says that more municipalities are starting to move away from sirens. The sirens were erected in 1997 and have a lifespan of twenty-five years. Dietman voiced concern with their age. 

 

 

The estimated cost of replacing them in 2022 is $25,000 each. Annual maintenance costs of the sirens is $3,000-$4,000 per year. In a release from the Fire Department, they stated that the purpose of the sirens was to alert people outside to move to a safe indoor location. The release added that they were never intended to be heard indoors or wake people from sleeping, and evidence suggests that tornado sirens can actually add to confusion during an emergency weather situation. Dietman also shared optimism about the opportunity to free up resources to support the city in other ways by eliminating obsolete equipment. The sirens will be removed in the Spring of 2021.

 

One more hospitalized with coronavirus

On Thursday, Door County’s COVID19 report showed that an additional resident had been hospitalized with the virus. That puts Door County at eighty-six people who’ve been hospitalized. After seeing positive COVID19 cases rise up significantly in the past week and Door County having instituted an emergency mask advisory, Door County had a slower day on Thursday. Just four people tested positive out of twenty-four tests performed. There are currently 119 active cases in the county. 

 

In Wisconsin, forty residents were hospitalized on Thursday and three passed away from the virus. In Door County, 45.2% of residents have received a dose of the vaccine and 27.2% have completed the series. In Kewaunee County, 27.3% of residents have received a vaccine shot and 18% have finished the series. 

 

 

Public invited to provide input on Door County housing pinch

The challenges that come with finding housing in Door County will be addressed in April 8th and April 9th online discussions. The Door County Economic Development Corporation will be presenting several concepts that are under consideration for implementation. The concepts may not involve housing construction, but could have to do with a variety of topics. Subjects that will be discussed include zoning, regulatory issues, funding, land development and preparation, innovative techniques, and materials for construction that could reduce housing construction costs. 

 

This was the approach that was decided on after the DCEDC and partners applied to be designated as a Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority pilot community for rural and affordable housing. A housing study in 2019 helped achieve this. So far, the response to the scheduled sessions has been good, and Executive Director for the DCEDC, Steve Jenkins, hopes that participants offer plenty of input. 

 

 

After the workshops, a design team will begin selecting concepts for implementation based on feedback, then gather the necessary resources. Jenkins estimates 4-5 concepts will be implemented. 

 

 

Jenkins hopes to find sustainable affordable housing for people who work and serve every day in Door County who may be getting strained when it comes to housing costs. 

 

 

A link to the webinars can be found on the Door County Economic Development Corporation Facebook page. The sessions will be approximately an hour and a half long. The April 8th session will begin at 6:30 PM. The session on April 9th starts at 10:00 AM.

 

Door County confirms variant case, issues mask advisory

Door County is asking residents and visitors five years of age and older to stay masked up in efforts to slow down the spread of COVID-19. The Door County Public Health Department issued their emergency advisory regarding masks hours after Kewaunee County issued their own Thursday morning. In addition, there was a Door County case that was positive for one of the three COVID-19 variant identified in Wisconsin that was identified in South Africa last year. Door County Health and Human Services Director Joe Krebsbach says they have been making good progress, but there is work to be done.

Krebsbach advises businesses and public facilities to keep their own mask mandates in place as a way to slow the spread. The advisory should not be used as justification to harass or harm another person about masking.

Sturgeon Bay Utilities earns reliability award

The American Public Power Association is shining a light on Sturgeon Bay Utilities and the reliable electricity they provide.

 

The trade group announced Thursday that the public utility received national recognition once again for achieving exceptions electric reliability in 2020. The APPA helps electric utilities keep track of power outages and restorations, something Sturgeon Bay Utilities has excelled in since even before Jim Stawicki started there 17 years ago. Now the general manager, Stawicki credits the staff for making sure projects get done right the first time.

Stawicki says they are constantly working on projects to improve reliability in the county, including taking some power lines underground near South Lake Michigan Drive and Lake Forest Park.

 

Picture courtesy of Sturgeon Bay Utilities

Kewaunee County issues mask advisory

It is not being mandated, but Kewaunee County Public Health is still recommending residents and visitors to keep masking up.

 

The advisory was announced Thursday after the Wisconsin State Supreme Court ruled that Governor Tony Evers could not issue another mask mandate. Instead, the Kewaunee County Public Health Department is encouraging individuals who are at high-risk of contracting COVID-19 to continue to wear a face covering when in a public setting or when social distancing is not possible. 

 

Public Health Director Cindy Kinnard said in the release that Kewaunee County has made significant progress in reducing the number of positive COVID-19 cases, but encouraged residents to still take the necessary precautions to keep active cases low or even bring the number down to zero to get back to a sense of normality. She also emphasized that the advisory is not a mandate, but rather a recommendation.

 

As of March 26th, Kewaunee County has seen 2,557 positive cases since the start of the pandemic and has administered 4,274 COVID-19 vaccine doses.

Infrastructure plan draws praise and rebuke

What President Joe Biden called a “once-in-a-generation investment in America” has created conversation among leaders representing Door and Kewaunee counties. The American Jobs Plan puts nearly $2 trillion towards infrastructure by investing in highways, bridges, mass transit, water pipes and the electric grid.  Wisconsin’s Democratic U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin spoke highly of the plan before leaving Washington D.C. for the holiday break last week. She said it could help in the recovery of Americans in the wake of the pandemic.

One of Wisconsin’s Republican U.S. representatives Mike Gallagher panned the plan, pointing out increases in the corporate and C-corporations tax rates as part of the problem. In a statement from Gallagher, he says the American Jobs Plan would “hurt middle-class workers and devastate the American economy.

Kewaunee names new fire chief

The City of Kewaunee has named Captain Joe Nemecek as its new fire chief.

 

The announcement came the day before Greg Hlinak was set to retire from the department after 44 years with the city. Nemecek has been with the Kewaunee Fire Department since 2008. During that time, Nemecek has served as a firefighter, training officer, and Captain.

 

The Kewaunee Fire Department will still have to fill another void with Assistant Fire Chief Paul Nimmer also retiring after 33 years on the job.

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