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News Archives for 2021-04

Crossroads at Big Creek inviting volunteers to help plant trees

This weekend, the Crossroads at Big Creek are beginning their involvement with the Climate Change Coalition of Door County with "Big Plant Days." These days will provide them with an opportunity to plant the shipment of bare-root shrubs and trees that they will be receiving. May 1st will be the first of three days in which Crossroads will be planting many trees to help the environment. Program Director at Crossroads, Coggin Herringa, describes what community members can do to get involved. .



These Plant Days play a significant role in their multi-year Ecological Restoration Plan, in which they will be planting thousands of trees. 


Half of Door County fully vaccinated

In Door County’s COVID19 report on Friday, they had just two positive cases out of fifteen tests performed. There were no new hospitalizations or deaths. In Door County, 59% of residents have had a dose of the vaccine, and 50.5% are fully vaccinated. 


In the weekly COVID19 report from Kewaunee County, they had one hospitalization this week and no new deaths. Kewaunee County also had twelve new cases. Kewaunee County has 36.4% of residents with at least one vaccine dose and 31.6% are fully vaccinated. This week, 169,000 Wisconsin residents were vaccinated.


Door County welcomes back Johnson & Johnson

Door County Public Health announced that after the Johnson & Johnson COVID19 vaccine pause was lifted on April 23rd upon CDC and FDA review, Door County will be offering the vaccine again. The county will still be offering the Pfizer vaccine as well. With more county residents becoming vaccinated, there is a drop in vaccine demand. Because of this, Public Health has adjusted the amount of vaccines requested, the number of appointments offered, and the times of the clinic. Door County has over 16,000 individuals with at least one vaccine dose, nearing sixty percent. 

Kewaunee Library recognizing hispanic community

A three thousand dollar grant has the Kewaunee Public Library taking a step to meet the needs of the Hispanic community. The American Library Association selected the library to participate in their Libraries Transforming Communities initiative. The initiative helps rural libraries support their communities. When the ALA put out a call for grant applications, the library applied with the intent to expand their Spanish language materials selection. Part of the grant is training librarians to hold a community conversation. 


Of the three thousand dollars the library was granted, Library Director Carol Petrina projects that the majority will go to purchasing materials for their Spanish collection. Other funds will be used on the community conversation and marketing materials. Though the funds are focused on the Hispanic community, Petrina thinks bilingual materials will positively impact both Spanish and English-speaking visitors.



The Library will hold the community conversation on May 11th at 4:30 PM. All who are interested in how they will expand their collection are invited to the discussion, especially those in the Hispanic community and those who work closely with it. 


Gibraltar top local high schools in ranking

Gibraltar High School has a lot to brag about thanks to the recent rankings released by the U.S. News and World Report.


The Fish Creek school was ranked #26 among Wisconsin high schools, which was the highest in Door and Kewaunee counties. The annual report reflects on a school’s proficiency in math and reading, graduation rate, and AP class participation.


Gibraltar Principal Gereon Methner says that 55 percent of its students take at least one AP exam, which is not just indicative of the hard work of the students and staff, but the opportunities that are available.



Sturgeon Bay and Sevastopol were also ranked in the top 60 high schools in the state according to the U.S. News and World Report. Algoma was the top-performing high school in Kewaunee County, which came in at number 156.


You can search for school district in the rankings here

Show takes LEAP with alumni

Door County high school alumni will take the virtual stage this Saturday for a reimagined version of LEAP ( Learning to Empower and Appreciate all People): The Human Kindness Project.


In typical years, students from the county’s high school collaborate with local writers, musicians, and directors to put on a show identifying a societal issue. The pandemic put a stop to those plans, but LEAP alums Jackson Blahnik, Lizzy Fiscus, Rachel Follingstad, Sophia Friedenfels, Marley Gigstead, Moriah Grahl, Kole Mallien, Josie Morkin, Sierra Nicole Sargent, Isaiah Spetz, Jaydin Stahl, and Jadacey Teska will present performances done while in isolation. The performers were asked to reflect on how they were able to cope with the pandemic through many of the different means they would have done if the show was live and in person.


Director Terry Lundahl says even though the performance will be streamed, she hopes the emotions are still felt by the viewers watching.



ponsored by Door County Medical Center, viewers can tune into this year’s LEAP: The Human Kindness Project show on the Southern Door Auditorium’s Facebook and streaming pages beginning at 7 p.m. on Saturday.

Inattentive driving goes beyond texting

While smartphone use gets the bulk of the headlines during Inattentive Driving Awareness Month,


Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski says there is more to the issue. For some, texting while driving is becoming a bigger threat to motorist safety than operating vehicles while intoxicated. That issue was recently addressed with legislation was passed to make texting while driving illegal.


Joski says it is easy to pinpoint people while they are stuck on their phones while driving, but other distractions like food, music, and kids are a little harder for law enforcement to discern.



He points out that the average text requires the driver to focus on their smartphone for five seconds, which is the equivalent of driving five football fields at 55 miles per hour. He encourages drivers to just focus on the task at hand and let other people in the car handle the distraction of a cellphone.



There are two reasons for this week’s topic. The first is that with all of the other awareness campaigns in the month of April, this month is also designated as awareness of Inattentive Driving. The second reason is that our youngest just received his temporary driving permit and I find myself lecturing him about this subject as well. So far he is developing some great defensive driving skills, but my message of other drivers being less than attentive while driving is probably wearing on his nerves already, so I thought I would change my audience.


We hear a lot of attention being given to texting while driving and rightfully so. I recently attended a meeting where it was stated that the behavior of texting while driving now poses a greater threat than Operating a Motor Vehicle While Intoxicated. We have made a huge impact on the number of persons operating a motor vehicle while impaired, and now we must turn our attention to other behavior which is the cause of so many accidents.


There has recently been legislation passed making it illegal to text while driving. This is a great start, but inattentive driving is not just texting. It includes any behavior which takes the focus of the driver away from doing what they should and that is driving. We can include in this list: Eating, Drinking, Personal Hygiene, Searching for items, Distraction by Passengers, and the list goes on. By the way, there is a law for that. Wisconsin State Statute 346.89(1) “Inattentive Driving “which brings with it a $187.90 fine and a four-point assessment on your license.


What makes texting while driving unique in the danger that it poses, is that an average text requires the driver to focus on the device for five seconds. A vehicle traveling at 55mph will cover the distance of a football field in 5 seconds. As a test, the next time you are a passenger in a motor vehicle, close your eyes for 5 seconds and then consider the danger that you would have put yourself and others in if you had actually been operating the motor vehicle at that time. Another test I would ask that you conduct is to pay attention to those drivers you meet on the roadway. Take a moment to notice whether or not they are actually attentive, or as I have seen are they actually looking down as you pass within feet of their vehicle. It’s amazing how many fall into that second category. Don’t be that driver!


As with any accident, defensive driving is paramount. Do not assume that the vehicle in front of you or behind you is being attentive. Always consider what your reaction would be if that vehicle in front of you came to an abrupt halt, or if that vehicle behind you did not slow down as you were applying the brakes. Don’t assume that the vehicle coming toward you in the opposite lane is going to stay in that lane. Don’t assume that the vehicle approaching that stop sign is going to stop. Be prepared for the unexpected.


The main message here is that if you are the driver, please just drive. If you are a passenger, let them drive. If you receive a call or text from a person and you know they are driving ask that they contact you once they get where they are going. Unfortunately, the enforcement of Inattentive driving is usually reactionary once an accident has happened; however, do not be surprised if you are pulled over by a law enforcement officer because they observed you not looking at the roadway in front of you. It’s all about saving lives.

Mother pleads not guilty in infant's death

Cheyanne Wierichs of Algoma, who is alleged to have left her seven-month child in a bathtub as the baby drowned, registered a not guilty plea on Thursday to neglecting a child - consequence is death. The fatal drowning took place on February 9th in an Algoma residence. The complaint shows that Wierichs stated her son found the baby drowning. The complaint also says that Wierichs admitted to leaving the bathroom to connect her phone to a speaker, and then listening to a song before she heard splashing. 


Wierichs faces a maximum penalty of twenty-five years in prison if convicted.


Bank of Luxemburg branches out

Starting Monday, the Bank of Luxemburg will be extending its reach in Door County with a new location in Fish Creek. The site will be a full-service local bank with on-site staff and a mortgage lender. This will be their second Door County location and their eighth overall. Bank of Luxemburg President Tim Treml estimates that expanding in Door County has been considered for two to three years. 



Treml also talks about the brand of the bank being to have a positive community impact. He hopes the Fish Creek branch employees are seen in the public eye as active community members. 


Door County nearly halfway vaccinated

In Thursday’s COVID19 report from Door County, there were two positives and twenty-four tests performed. There were no new hospitalizations or deaths in the county. Door County is getting close to having half of the county fully vaccinated, with 48.9% having received both doses. 58.9% of residents have received one dose. In Kewaunee County, 36.3% have received at least one dose of vaccine and 30.6% are fully vaccinated.



Ag education blooming at Southern Door

The AmeriCorps Farm to School program selected Southern Door School District as a host site, allowing for a continuation of an innovative agriculture education plan. Last school year before the pandemic, Southern Door applied for a USDA Farm to School planning grant in the amount of $50,000. They received it and it went towards planning projects revolving around educating students about where their food comes from, the importance of agriculture, and career opportunities in it. Southern Door Superintendent, Patti Vickman, says the state’s AmeriCorps program is a way to continue these practices next school year until they are able to do the implementation grant. Vickman says the program also allows Planning Coordinator Sara Gray to continue her leadership role and even collaborate. 



Southern Door’s experience with the program is young, but Vickman points out that they’ve already done multiple school projects. 



Vickman finds Southern Door to be a great fit for the program because of strong community support from area producers and others. Vickman also credits Southern Door’s outdoor facilities that include a prairie, school forest, and a garden. 


Republicans look for unity from Biden

Looking at the past 100 days, Republicans like Rep. Mike Gallagher and Senator Ron Johnson are looking for the unity President Joe Biden said he would bring to the White House on the campaign trail.


President Biden gave his first address to Congress on Wednesday, calling for the reauthorization of the assault weapons ban and tax hikes on the rich and corporations.


Gallagher said in a statement following the speech that Biden “has misinterpreted a narrow majority in Congress as a mandate for radical progressive change.” While he applauded Biden’s plan to unleash the country’s vaccine arsenal on the world, he also attacked portions of H.R. 1 which would implement several new voting reforms. He would like to see more steps towards moderation in the future.


Johnson said similar things in his post-address statement, saying “we are a nation with problems to fix, not a country that needs a complete overhaul.” He added that parts of Biden’s agenda “will harm our economy and threaten American jobs.” Both of their statements are posted below. plans on interviewing Senator Tammy Baldwin in the coming days.



"President Biden's address last night proved he has misinterpreted a narrow majority in Congress as a mandate for radical progressive change. As if cancelling the Keystone Pipeline and the thousands of Wisconsin jobs that come with it, opening up our southern border, and promoting divisive, identity politics wasn't enough, he's now pushing for trillions of dollars in spending increases and tax hikes that will devastate our economy and hurt hardworking Wisconsinites. He lobbied for HR 1, a radical federal government takeover of our election system that will cause chaos. His foreign policy claims have two contradictions: (1) we cannot counter Communist China while cutting defense and (2) attempts at "stern deterrence" of Iran and North Korea are undermined by the unconditional surrender in Afghanistan.


"I invite President Biden to take a step back and join us here in the land of Wisconsin common-sense, where we simply want to work hard, raise our families in safe neighborhoods, and have less -- not more -- government intervention in our everyday lives."



“Unfortunately, President Biden’s agenda is massive spending, massive tax increases, open borders, and attacks on energy that will harm our economy and threaten American jobs. He promised to unify and heal America but has done the exact opposite in his first 100 days. He has declared that America is systemically racist and needs to be “fundamentally transformed.” That type of rhetoric sows division and discord and leads me to ask: Can anyone even like, much less love, something they want to fundamentally transform? While it’s not perfect, I believe America is the greatest nation in the history of mankind. We are a nation with problems to fix, not a country that needs a complete overhaul. I wish President Biden shared that belief and would work with those of us who truly love America to address the serious issues we do face.”

Fritz poised to become Kewaunee superintendent

Kewaunee School District is close to naming the successor to retiring superintendent Karen Treml.


Howards Grove High School Principal Scott Fritz has emerged as the finalist for the position after Treml announced her retirement in March. Sixteen applicants were narrowed down to four semifinalists to participate in an interview process held on Tuesday during a special Kewaunee School Board meeting.


Candidates presented a 45-day transition plan, answered a pair of questions from stakeholder groups, and toured the facilities as a part of the process. Fritz began his education career in Walworth County in 1991 before making stops at Chilton and Howards Grove.


Fritz will appear in front of the Kewaunee School Board on May 3rd before being formally hired by the district.


Picture courtesy of Howards-Grove School District

Kewaunee County sales tax extended

Purchases made in Kewaunee County will have an extra half-percent sales tax on them for another five years. The Kewaunee County Board voted 18-1 earlier this week to extend the sunset period for the sales tax until December 31, 2026. Milt Swagel was the lone dissenting vote and Kim Kroll was excused from the meeting. Since it was first enacted in 2017, the sales tax revenue has reached over $4.7 million. It is money Kewaunee County Administrator Scott Feldt said last week is used to fill in the gap still being felt by the closure of the Dominion Power Plant.

Feldt also said that extending it for five years gives the board the flexibility to make a decision on ending the county sales tax if the financial picture for the county improves. The half-percent sales tax works out to be an extra 50 cents on every $100 purchased.

Wisnicky named new human services director

Jeffrey Wisnicky has a second title now after the Kewaunee County Board approved his appointment as its new Human Services Director on Tuesday.


Wisnicky joined the county as its corporation counsel back in 2007. His top “client” during that time has been the Kewaunee County Human Services Department, which works to provide the necessary services for the county’s most vulnerable populations.


Although the arrangement of being both the corporation counsel and human services director is uncommon according to Wisnicky, he believes his interactions with the department over the last 14 years make him a good fit.



Wisnicky is excited for the opportunity to work more intimately with the department and play a bigger role in creating positive outcomes in the community. As a result of the promotion, Wisnicky is resigning from his post as the assistant district attorney for Kewaunee County.

Shrine welcomes normalcy with crowning

While the crowning of statues of Mary dates back to the 12th century, this weekend’s events welcomes back a sense of normalcy for the National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in Champion.


Wisconsin churches had not yet emerged yet from Governor Tony Evers’ Safer-at-Home order when last year’s crowning took place. The weekend’s annual pilgrimage from Old St. Joseph Church in De Pere to the National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help also took a one-year hiatus due to the pandemic. Both events are back in 2021, along with a pair of post-walk masses on Saturday and the May Crowning celebration on Sunday.


Shrine Rector Father John Broussard says it is important for the holy site to welcome back pilgrims to celebrate.


The National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help is the only Marian apparition site in the United States recognized by the Catholic Church. The shrine will also host other Marian Month events throughout May.


Picture from the National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help from a previous May Crowning event

Door County sees steep drop in active COVID cases

Door County saw a nearly 40 percent drop in active COVID-19 cases on Wednesday.


The latest report from the county showed no new positive cases among the eight tests administered and one new hospitalization. The number of active COVID-19 cases in Door County now stands at 64, 42 less than what was reported just a day ago. The state reported 688 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday along with 34 deaths and 79 hospitalizations. 


On the vaccine front, 58.6 percent of Door County residents have received at least one dose and 46.6 percent have completed the series. Just over 36 percent of Kewaunee County residents have received a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and almost 30 percent have completed the series. The seven-day average for vaccines has tumbled in recent weeks to 39,705, down from an all-time high of 63,451 on April 11th.

Eagle Tower opening delayed

Those waiting over five years to climb up Eagle Tower again will have to do so a little longer. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources announced on Wednesday that construction delays were to blame for Eagle Tower not opening to the public on Friday as originally planned. Earlier this month the DNR gave its blessing for observation towers and playgrounds could reopen after being closed due to the pandemic. Steve Strucely from the Friends of Peninsula State Park expressed his disappointment in the news, but says we all just have to be patient a little longer.

The DNR did not release an anticipated reopening date for Eagle Tower. The Friends of the Peninsula State Park is also excited for the day the DNR allows for buildings inside state parks to reopen after the group invested thousands of dollars in improvements for its nature center.


Picture courtesy of Chris Holicek and Friends of Peninsula State Park

Adopt-a-Soldier helping keep vets home

Between raising money for AED machines for the Sheriff’s Reserves and acting on their Adopt-A-Veteran initiative, Adopt-A-Soldier Door County has been kept busy this spring. This winter, the organization embarked on a new venture to help veterans in the community with an array of projects to help maintain their homes and way of living. One of the initiatives involves helping a World War II veteran replace his sewer and water line as well changing out two sidewalk flaps. 


The group is also helping a disabled veteran re-side their home. The bill doesn’t stop at house projects, as one veteran is even getting assistance with getting their teeth replaced. A different task is their AED project that will help the Door County Sheriff’s Reserves in response to emergencies. To go along with the AED’s, the organization is also purchasing fire extinguishers and first-aid kits so that the reserves can form portable kiosks. Adopt-A-Soldier Director Nancy Hutchinson pointed to the convenience of having these portable kiosks in public.



This project is still in its fundraising stages, and Hutchinson says monetary donations are always helpful. In an effort not to expose anyone to COVID19, Adopt-A-Soldier will not hold their pancake breakfast fundraiser this year. 

Familiar face to lead Egg Harbor

The Board of Trustees for the village of Egg Harbor has chosen Megan Sawyer to be the new village administrator. Sawyer will leave her current role as the Deputy Clerk in the Village of Ephraim in May to begin her new role on May 17th. Sawyer is not a stranger to Egg Harbor or working for the community, as she was previously the Deputy Administrator and Deputy Clerk-Treasurer for four years. 


Egg Harbor Village President John Heller said of the hire, “we are confident she has the talent and skills to move our community forward through all the tasks and projects before us.” The trustees agreed Sawyer exemplified leadership qualities in her previous role with the village. Sawyer holds Bachelor’s degrees in Public Administration and Political Science and minors in Small City Analysis and Sociology from the UW-Stevens Point. 


Rummage sale profits staying in Kewaunee county

The Kewaunee County Food Pantry is holding their Spring rummage sale to help continue their mission for area residents in need. The rummage sale acts as a fundraiser for the food pantry and area residents have already donated thousands of items for the sale. Kewaunee County Food Pantry President Ken Marquardt says the food pantry members are volunteering their time this Thursday through Saturday, and the rummage sale profits will go to purchasing food and other expenses. 



The sale is scheduled to be held in Algoma at 1528 Sunset Ave. More information on the sale and items for sale can be found on the pantry’s Facebook page or on Craigslist


Fishing opener brings large-scale excitement

Saturday is the first day of the general fishing season in Door and Kewaunee Counties. Door County DNR Conservation Warden Chris Kratcha enjoys the time of year which signals warm weather and better fishing. With the excitement does come precautions. Fishermen will have to be mindful of aquatic invasive species. One species to be on the lookout for at Lake Michigan is the round goby, which Kratcha emphasizes they are not allowed to use for bait. Fishermen can also help prevent invasive species spread by draining their buckets of water upon completion of fishing. Another measure is to clean boats and to look for certain plants hanging from the boat. 


Disposing fish properly is another point of emphasis. Kratcha finds it important not to leave fish where others may fish, or by the shorewall. Two fish anglers will be seeking are the steelhead and brown trout. Many of the trout have come inland for their spawning run and made their way back out to Lake Michigan. Kratcha notes at this time of the year people may not need to venture too far out on the water for their trout fix. 



Kratcha says spoons and crank baits are typical for trout fishers. If fishing with a small boat, Kratcha urges extra caution and awareness of weather. As the general fishing season opener will be the first time all year that some people are on their boats, Kratcha says it’s important to check fire extinguishers, life jackets, flotation devices, and distress signals. 


Governor signs Jacque's measure

First Responders will now have wider access to PTSD coverage. On Tuesday Governor Tony Evers signed the “Public Safety PTSD Act,” which was authored by State Senator Andre Jacque. The senator said the need for this legislation has its roots back to 1974. This is the year the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that a “situation of greater dimensions” than typically experienced by others in the same industry was standard for receiving coverage. Jacque stated that this penalizes those who choose an occupation with more dangers like policing or firefighting. He also finds it problematic a requirement for coverage was suffering a physical injury. 


Jacque thinks this act will end the difficult choice workers are sometimes faced with between their occupation and treatment. 



Jacque is proud that this measure had bipartisan support, and thinks it will save lives. While post-traumatic stress can lead to suicides, Jacque believes prioritizing mental health will be crucial for the recruitment and retention of first responders.


One hospitalized in Door County

In Tuesday’s COVID19 report from Door County, one person was hospitalized and there were no new deaths. Thirty-five people were tested for the virus and just two were positive. In Door County, 58.3% of residents have received a vaccine dose and 45.6% have completed the vaccine series. In Kewaunee County, 35.9% of residents have received a vaccine dose and 29.6% have completed the series. Of Wisconsin’s 65 and older population, 80.4% have been vaccinated.


Staffing crisis hits fire departments

Help wanted signs are not just for Door County restaurants and manufacturers as volunteer fire departments continue to fight their own staffing challenges.


The situation is not unique to the area according to the National Volunteer Fire Council, which estimates volunteer firefighter numbers have dropped from 884,600 to 682,600 in 2017. Door County’s fire departments pay at least $20 an hour to be considered paid on-call, but in many cases commitments like jobs and families keep potential members away. The time commitment also includes classroom time to become a firefighter and training sessions to keep those skills sharp.


The Ephraim Fire Department currently has 28 members, less than the close to 40 that were on duty before current Chief Justin MacDonald joined. He fears a day when department pagers ring for no one.

MacDonald says there could be a point in the future where departments will have to consolidate to combine staff and resources to best serve their communities. He added that one point Northern Door municipalities looked into combining their departments years ago, but they could not agree on how it would be funded fairly.  


MacDonald believes the people that do become firefighters do not just join a department, but an entire family. He hopes more people consider serving their communities by joining their local volunteer fire department.

Sturgeon Bay woman convicted of murder

On Tuesday, a Sturgeon Bay woman was convicted of killing her ex-partner. Court records show that 52-year-old Susan Soukup pleaded no contest to a first-degree intentional homicide charge in which she was accused of fatally stabbing 32-year-old Katie McConkey on August 25th in Sturgeon Bay. A criminal complaint states that after the stabbing, Soukup called the police and upon their arrival, told them she had stabbed McConkey. 


The sentencing date is scheduled for July 23rd and the conviction carries an automatic life term in prison. The judge presiding over the case will determine whether Soukup is eligible for parole at any point. 


(Photo courtesy of Door County Sheriff's Department)

Developer pulls intent in Kewaunee land deal

It is back to the drawing board for the City of Kewaunee concerning the former Marquette School property.


Developer Jeff Wellhouse notified the city just ahead of its Committee of the Whole meeting Monday evening that he was pulling his letter of intent to purchase the property due to health issues. Wellhouse pursued a certificate of appropriateness from the Kewaunee Historical Preservation Committee nearly five months ago for a proposed “twindominium” project, but was denied by a vote of 6-2.


With the development plan off the table for now, the Committee of the Whole meeting became a forum for what residents hope to see at the site. Mayor Jason Jelinek says it was a good dialogue for the city government and residents to have.

Jelinek says he and council member James Brewster will discuss design elements to show to the public that could provide a starting point for future developers for the site.


Prior to the meeting, Jelinek said in a statement that the city is paying over $67,000 for the debt to demolish the school on top of the $7,000 it pays to cut the grass and shovel the sidewalks on the parcel. The city estimates the proposed development would have provided at least $61,000 annually in tax payments.

Curtains up for Northern Sky Theater

For the first time in over a year, performers of Northern Sky Theater will sing songs and tell stories under their two skies.


The performing arts organization made the announcement on Tuesday about two weeks after the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources gave its spring operations update. There the DNR announced that the capacity for open-air shelters, amphitheaters, and outdoor group campgrounds could be increased to 100 people with even more allowed for non-department-led events with the proper permits. The DNR’s go-ahead has also helped the organization’s negotiations with Actors Equity to bring the performers back into the fold.


Northern Sky Theater will perform outside at its amphitheater inside Peninsula State Park from June 14th to September 18th and inside at its Gould Theater from July 12th to November 6th.


Development and Public Relations Director Holly Feldman is just happy to hear the sounds of singing and laughter again.

Feldman says over the coming days, fans of Northern Sky Theater will be able to hear about the shows they will be performing, the safety protocols they are instituting, and how they can get tickets. That includes Wednesday’s announcement concerning its annual Raise the Curtain event and the virtual world premiere of a new musical.

Major thunderstorms approaching Northern Door

A major cluster of thunderstorms is set to hit the northern region of Door County. Just after 1:40 p.m., the National Weather Service began tracking the clusters of thunderstorms moving east across the peninsula at 40 miles per hour. Communities such as Jacksonport, Ephraim, Egg Harbor, Baileys Harbor, Sister Bay, Fish Creek, and Ellison Bay can expect heavy rain, with up to an inch in less than an hour along with pea-size hail possible. We will have more updates on this storm at as it becomes available. 

Attention needed during any outdoor burning

As outdoor burning becomes more prevalent this spring, area fire departments warn residents to use extreme caution when conducting any brush burning. Fire safety recommendations before you start backyard debris burning include:


-Keeping all fires a minimum of 75 feet from all buildings.

-Never use a flammable liquid to start a fire.

-Checking for local burning bans or restrictions.


Brussels-Union- Gardner Assistant Fire Chief Jim Wautier adds another critical safety tip for any outdoor burning.



No burning bans are currently in place in Door or Kewaunee Counties, but you should obtain a burning permit from your local municipal official.  


Tips on outdoor fire safety here.



Zero COVID-19 cases

Door County Public Health reported no new cases of COVID-19 on Monday.  The results since Friday were based on only four tests performed which were all negative.  Information on active cases was unavailable and no additional hospitalizations were noted.  The number of probable cases remained at 218. 


In the state, 367 positive tests for the coronavirus were reported along with 13 deaths on Monday. 


On the vaccination front, Door County shows 58.3 percent of their residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine and 45.4 percent completely vaccinated.  In Kewaunee County, 35.8 percent of residents have received a vaccination dose and 29.4 percent have completed the series. 


Resilience the key to overcoming COVID-19 fatigue

The ability to recover quickly from the stresses or adversities can help people through the current health crisis, says a Sturgeon Bay psychologist. Dr. Dennis White says those with resilient personalities are better able to keep poise and a healthy level of physical and psychological wellness in the face of life challenges. Dr. White uses the military example to handle individual and social responses to stresses and coping in a resilient manner.



Dr. White says resilient people “bend, but they do not break.” He says some people experience personal growth in response to danger and adversity because of increased self-awareness and coping strategies.


You can listen to Dr. White’s entire Mental Health Minute here.


Emergency Response Fund opens up to more organizations

Arts organizations, environmental groups, historical societies, and other non-profits could now be eligible for relief from the Door County Emergency Response Fund. As the county continues to reopen in the aftermath of the pandemic, all organizations are incurring expenses related to COVID-19 mitigation. A joint effort between the United Way of Door County and the Door County Community Foundation, these organizations can now request their own grants to address these concerns. Door County Community Foundation President and CEO Bret Bicoy says they are still focused on helping people who are facing tough economic times. He adds that many of the area non-profit organizations are major economic engines for the county.

Organizations eligible to receive consideration from the Door County Emergency Response Fund can apply at The Door County Emergency Response Fund has raised over $1.2 million for COVID-related relief since it was reactivated in March 2020.

Annual meeting highlights organizational "reset"

2020 was a year of change for many organizations, but maybe for none more than the Kewaunee County Economic Development Corporation. It is their “reset” they will be discussing when the organization hosts its annual meeting on Thursday at Luxemburg’s Northbrook Country Club. Within the last year, the KCEDC has let go one executive director and hired another one while it fought for funding from the Kewaunee County Board. The organization has also had to find ways to provide assistance for the county’s businesses that were heavily impacted by the pandemic. Despite those challenges, KCEDC Vice-Chairperson Ryan Hoffmann believes the organization is in a good position moving forward.

People interested in attending the KCEDC Annual Meeting can register online to either attend the event in-person or virtually. Hoffmann says the meeting will also include more details about the KCEDC’s recent announcement that it would be partnering with the Greater Green Bay Chamber of Commerce to mutually promote the economic growth and diversity in Kewaunee County.

Chickens lost in Forestville coop fire

For at least the third time since November, Door County firefighters had to come to the rescue of a chicken coop in peril. The latest edition came last Friday at approximately 9:20 p.m. when members of the Southern Door Fire Department were called to a home on Carnot Road in the Town of Forestville. The owner was able to knock down approximately 80 percent of the fire by the time crews got there with a full extended garden hose. The fire started near the corner of the chicken coop where a heat lamp was located before eventually reaching the structure’s roof. Southern Door Fire Department Captain Rich Olson says the location of the heat lamp is important in preventing such fires.

Olson says no chickens survived the blaze, but added that the coop’s owner indicated that he may decide to rebuild once he had a chance to further inspect the damage. He estimates that the department was able to clear the scene in about 20 minutes. Among the more recent chicken coop fires was close to two months ago in Jacksonport when a heat lamp started a blaze that destroyed the structure.



Picture courtesy of Southern Door Fire Department

Developer shows interest in Marquette School property

The City of Kewaunee could be seeing a new housing development sprout up on the former Marquette School property in the future.


The city’s Committee of the Whole will discuss the proposed development when it meets on Monday at 6 p.m. It took the site nearly two years to be cleared for development after the demolition of the former school began in 2018. According to a release, the city is paying over $67,000 for the debt to demolish the school on top of the $7,000 it pays to cut the grass and shovel the sidewalks on the parcel. The city estimates the proposed development would provide at least $61,000 annually in tax payments.


Mayor Jason Jelinek encourages people in the release to attend the meeting or to contact their alderperson to voice their feelings.

Sevastopol paid back for technology upgrades

The Sevastopol School District was the recipient of a large grant from the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development which will reimburse the school for technology upgrades. The district was awarded $44,040 in support of their “Advanced Automation Lab” project. Purchases for the project were several Amatrol Tabletop Smart Factory Upgrades including RIFD/sensors, portable PLC troubleshooting, mini PLC programming software, ethernet, barcode, and visual communication systems. 


The grant is through the DWD’s Expanded Wisconsin Fast Forward Technical Education Equipment Grant Program. These grants help school districts get reimbursed for materials enhancing vocational and technical education. 

Street closure through Thursday

Gas line construction will close South Neenah Avenue for the bulk of the week beginning on Monday. A gas line will be constructed between East Pine Street and South Oxford Avenue. Due to this activity, traffic will be maintained at East Redwood Street and South Oxford Avenue using southbound South Neenah Avenue. 


During the construction period, South Neenah Avenue between East Pine Street and East Redwood Street and between East Redwood Street and South Oxford Avenue will be closed, and only open to local traffic. The closure is expected to last until Thursday, April 29th at 5:00 PM. Until then, travelers are urged to use alternate routes and to stay away from the construction area.


Trapshooting growing in popularity at area schools

One year after not having any competitions due to the pandemic, the Luxemburg-Casco High School trapshooting team started their third year of competition this week after beginning the program in 2018.  Instructor Dale Simonar says interest in the club sport has grown in the area as schools from Algoma, Kewaunee, and Southern Door have formed teams this year.



Simonar adds that statewide over 100 schools are participating in the trap shooting competitions.  Boys and girls who hold a hunter safety card are allowed to compete by taking 25 shots each at clay pigeons.  The Luxemburg-Casco trapshooting team of 38 competitors will shoot weekly at the Luxemburg Sportsman Club and submit scores to the Wisconsin Trapshooting Association.  The state competition will be held in Nekoosa June 12-13.  The program is intended to teach and introduce youth to the sport of trapshooting and help them gain the necessary knowledge and skills to become responsible shooters.


(photo courtesy of Luxemburg-Casco Spartans Trap Team)   


Community garden goes to school

The Kewaunee Community Garden will have a new home this spring. Through a partnership between the Kewaunee School District and community members, gardeners will be planting and tending their plants at the Agricultural Grounds at the Kewaunee High School.  Ag Science Teacher Randy Charles says the efforts behind the new community garden were to have a more accessible location that was not on private property.  The previous site was on 2.5 acres of land on Baumeister Drive on Kewaunee’s south end.

He says the new location of similar size will offer many educational opportunities in the future and continue to encourage self-sustainability.


Charles adds that the tradition of sending surpluses from the Kewaunee Community Garden to area food pantries will continue. The new garden is expected to be ready for the planting season in late May or early June. You can find more information on the Kewaunee Community Garden guidelines and agreement form here.


(photo courtesy of Extension Kewaunee County Agricultural Program)

History coming back to life in Door County

After a 2020 season where most of their business was by appointment, the Door County Historical Museum is reopening with normal service hours beginning on May 1st. Door County’s Historical Museum endured a lot over the last year, having to call of traditional events like Santa visits. This year, the Museum will operate closer to how they have in years past, but with mask and physical distancing requirements in place. 


Though the museum will offer classic programming, they will also strive to expand digital offerings. More information can be found here. 


Door County full of Suckers

The Shedd Aquarium is a fun Chicago travel destination for some Door County residents, but for their Director of Freshwater Research, Door County has been a haven for research. Since 2017, Karen Murchie has spent time on the peninsula tracking migratory patterns of suckers. While she does research in Michigan and Illinois as well,  Door County has provided an optimal environment with a high number of bodies of water. Opportunities include tagging and tracking the white suckers, and listening to spawning sounds. 



In the tracking process, a relatively high amount of suckers returned to their release area. Between 2017 and 2018, three hundred adults were tagged. In 2019, 204 returned, in 2020 the number dropped down to 176, and Murchie estimates that the number will be capped at its current total of 143. There is not a for sure answer on why this is, but Murchie thinks it may be due to spawning habits.


With the surprises that nature can bring, Murchie hasn’t set a Door County departure date but anticipates it will be next week. Murchie mentions she loves coming to Door County every year and considers it a magical place with all the different creeks and beauty. The full-length interview is available in the podcasts page. 


New camp schedule calls for help

The Door County YMCA will be looking for assistance in hosting Summer camps that they were unable to host last year. In order to run the camps that many youth enjoy, the YMCA is searching for camp counselors. The camps are supposed to be fun for youth and the staff, but Youth Director Paul Briney also mentions the positive effect this can have for people chasing certain career paths.



YMCA camp information can be found here.


Local online grocery shopping growing with efficiency  

Local grocery stores have seen a considerable increase in overall sales the past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The trend to more online shopping has risen as well, according to a survey from Brick Meets Click/Mercatus.    Alex Stodola from Stodola's IGA in Luxemburg says customers have come to appreciate the efficiency that digitally ordered groceries can offer.



Stodola adds that online services allow customers to customize their orders for specific products and requests.



The online option at Stodola's IGA began in April of 2020.  Nationally, online grocery sales increased 16.3 percent in March and matched January's record of $9.3 billion in sales.  Nearly 70 million American households placed online orders in March.  

DHS transitioning to VaccineFinder for next stretch

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services is transitioning to a new source for helping people schedule COVID19 vaccinations. Replacing the current Wisconsin DHS map of COVID19 vaccine providers will be the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s VaccineFinder tool that launched in March. The site aims to give users a customizable experience when searching for vaccination appointments. Wisconsin DHS Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk was excited about the benefits of being able to specify your search. 



With millions in Wisconsin vaccinated, Van Dijk shared the milestones and goals for Wisconsin residents on the vaccination journey. 



While more in the state are being vaccinated, there are some still being infected, and the DHS stresses everyone to continue good public health practices. 

Kewaunee County Parks revitalizing Zoo and trails

Kewaunee County Parks Department is looking forward to the opening of their grounds this spring. Of their 15 properties, the Riverview ATV park is currently in the process of working on the trails and preparing to open on May 1st. Another property, Bruemmer Park Zoo in Kewaunee, is currently in the early stages of planning for a new pheasant exhibit. Kewaunee County promotions and recreation director Dave Myers describes the plan for the exhibit.



The pheasants will add to the park’s animal collection of white-tailed deer, peacocks, goats, sheep, a bobcat, and an arctic fox. Bruemmer Park Zoo is opening this to the public this spring, and people will be able to come to see all of the animals that reside at Bruemmer Park Zoo.

Less people out leading to less crime

The Door County Sheriff’s Department released their 2020 report on Friday, and some statistics had significantly lower numbers than in past years. One notable stat was the average number of inmates per day at the Door County jail had dropped thirty-five percent from 80/day to 52/day. Door County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Pat McCarty noted this is completely a result of COVID measures and a lot of numbers in the 2020 report could have an asterisk next to them. One of the measures taken to keep inmates and staff safe was to furlough huber inmates. 


Releasing a department report isn’t mandatory, but releasing a user-friendly sheriff’s report is a point of emphasis for Sheriff Tammy Sternard. McCarty also understands residents valuing department transparency. 



Now that the page has been flipped to 2021, McCarty looks back on the last year and calls the work of the department commendable. With the unpredictability presented, department staff had to make many adjustments on the fly. McCarty thinks the Sheriff’s Department could take some of the adjustments and use a blended approach to certain operations going forward. One thing that jumped out to him was how efficient handling non-urgent matters over the phone or Zoom can be. 



With more public events taking place, McCarty believes the number of cases and arrests will come up some in 2021. The department report can be found here. 


Transport service goes the extra mile

For the last 15 years, people moving back and forth from Door County and Florida have not had to get behind their own wheel to do so. Randy Sahs first started moving cars with a trailer locally before people started to ask him to do it for farther distances. After bringing cars to and from places like Illinois and Indiana, people then asked if they could move their vehicles to and from Florida. Sahs Auto Transport was born as many Door County residents head south for the winter months. He says it not only fills a gap during his slower times of the year, but it is also something he enjoys.

Sahs estimates he makes the approximately 3500-mile roundtrip for dozens of customers every year, saving them time, money, and wear and tear on their vehicles.

Minimal positive cases in Kewaunee County

In Kewaunee County’s weekly COVID report, the county just had nine positives throughout the entire week. There were no hospitalizations or deaths and the county saw seventeen individuals recover. The active case total to end the week is sixteen. In the county, 35.7% of residents have received a vaccination dose and 28.7% have completed the series. In Door County, 58.1% of residents have one dose and 44.6% have completed the series. In Wisconsin, 201 thousand individuals were vaccinated this week and over four million have been vaccinated total in the state. 


Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame inducts Jens Jensen

The inspiration behind The Ridges Sanctuary and founder of The Clearing Folk School in Door County will be receiving a long-overdue recognition on Saturday.  Jens Jensen, who developed public parks, preserves focusing on indigenous plants and other ecological features will be inducted into the Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame.  Roger Kuhns, who performed as Jens Jensen in character numerous times in Door County says Jenson’s legacy has lived on long after his death in 1951.



Jensen, a landscape architect, founded The Clearing in 1935 and was also instrumental in the protection of public lands and several county and state parks.  The induction ceremony will be held virtually at 11 am Saturday.  You can find information and registration for the event here.


(photo courtesy of Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame)

Area departments discarding prescription drugs

With Saturday being National Drug Take Back Day, both Door and Kewaunee County’s Sheriff Departments will be giving residents a chance to clean out their medicine cabinets. Door County residents will be able to stop by Brussels-Union Gardner Fire, Sister Bay-Liberty Grove Fire, or the Door County Sheriff’s Department from 1:00 to 3:00 PM on Saturday to dispose of unused painkillers. This is an effort to keep unused drugs out of people’s homes and off of streets. Door County Chief Deputy Pat McCarty explained that this disposal method beats others like throwing drugs in the trash or flushing them. 



Both Door and Kewaunee County have drop boxes available for proper disposal year-round. 


Highway 42 construction begins Monday

Motorists in northern Door County will have to be patient over the next several weeks as one of the two state highway road projects start next week. Monday marks the beginning of nearly 10 miles of work on State Highway 42 between Scandia Road and Wisconsin Bay Road north of downtown Sister Bay. The work includes resurfacing road and repairing the gravel shoulders, which will make for a smoother ride on the stretch of roadway. Melissa Kok from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation says it is important to note that the road will remain open during construction and crews will take a break for the heaviest tourist weeks of the summer.

The Highway 42 project is expected to be finished by the end of June. You can find more information about the project online here. The week after on May 4th, a similar 17-mile project will take place on Highway 57 from where it joins with Highway 42 to Summit Road in Baileys Harbor. Kok reminds motorists that flagging operations will be out and that is illegal to be on a cell phone when traveling through a road construction area.


Picture courtesy of Wisconsin Department of Transportation

Tradition continues with tractor drive-in

Six Southern Door High School students carried on a FFA tradition Friday morning as they drove to class on their tractors.


Cash Nellis, Braden Delveaux, Jorge Gonzales, Matthew Malvitz, David Willming, and Logan Olsen drove their implements to school as a part of the FFA’s spring celebration. The tradition started in 2016 as a way to introduce some of the district’s youngest students to agriculture. FFA Advisor Ann Glowacki says it is an event the students look forward to every year.

Delveaux was happy to finally get his chance to drive a tractor to school.

Kinnard Farms and S&S Jerseyland Dairy allowed two of the students to borrow their equipment for the day.The annual Drive Your Tractor to School Day is usually paired with a “Down on the Farm” animal day, but that event will be postponed until the fall. The Southern Door FFA will host its annual banquet next month.


Picture of  Cash Nellis, Braden Delveaux, Jorge Gonzales, Matthew Malvitz, David Willming, and Logan Olsen with Section 9 State FFA officer Katrina Hoesly






New cosplay festival coming to Kewaunee

You could find Abraham Lincoln, Spider-Man, and Harry Potter all hanging out in Kewaunee this summer.


After two years in Des Moines, Iowa, and a five-year hiatus, Lynne Melssen is bringing her Times of Future Past Festival to Kewaunee’s Winter Park. Cosplay fans of all interests are expected to attend the two-day event that puts history, pop culture, and the arts in one place alongside a vendor marketplace. Some of the featured actors will play the part of former presidents and their wives, comic book heroes, film, and characters from literary novels and television. Festival participants will also be able to take in a game of Quidditch, compete in a costume contest, and throw axes. Melssen is proud that no matter your cosplay passion, you will be able to find it at the festival.

Tickets are on sale for Times of Future Past Festival, which is taking place on June 26th and 27th. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Desert Veterans of Wisconsin- Fox Valley Chapter.


Picture from a previously held Times of Future Past Festival in Des Moines, Iowa

Climate change coalition embarks on new initiative

In a collaborative effort with twenty organizations and individuals, the Climate Change Coalition of Door County is beginning the Door County Big Plant. The month-long endeavor indicates that over 14,000 trees will be planted around Door County from April 22nd to May 23rd. The original goal was 5,000 trees to be planted in January, but organizations have put forth their efforts as well. The Nature Conservancy will be responsible for planting 7,000 of those trees. The CCC will oversee the planting of 2,021 trees, and other groups will organize their activities. 


The initiative, coupled with having climate scientist Katherine Hayhoe speak on Wednesday, kicks off the CCC’s Season of Giving. This is a series of events and presentations, both virtually and outdoors, that will highlight effects and actions on climate change. The presentations are for specific audiences but will cover a wide variety of topics. The CCC Coordinator, Nicole Matson, attributes this to the diversity in solutions to climate change matters. 



Information about the Big Plant or the Season of Action can be found here. 


(Photo courtesy of Door County CCC)


DCMC Auxiliary names volunteers of the year

Door County Medical Center Auxiliary volunteers were in great need once the Door County Medical Center began to reopen as people were needed to facilitate patient visits. The auxiliary volunteers were recognized on Thursday as those who volunteered at the height of the pandemic were named 2020 Door County Medical Center Auxiliary Volunteers of the Year. As more DCMC services opened, auxiliary volunteers had to act as door monitors, asking people precautionary questions upon entering the facility, ensuring mask and sanitizer use, and disinfecting surfaces. As 2020 went on, more things at the hospital reopened and volunteers were needed to fill in those areas as well. DCMC Auxiliary Marketing Chair John Koski thought they handled the unpredictability of the situation well. 



Once the vaccine rollout came, some volunteers also shifted focus toward vaccination clinics. 


Singular positive test on Thursday

In Door County’s COVID report on Thursday, only one positive test was reported out of twenty-six tests that were performed. There were no new deaths or hospitalizations in Door County on Thursday. 


Wisconsin is above forty percent of the state’s population having received at least one vaccine dose. In Door County, 57.9% have received a dose and 44.1% have completed the series. In Kewaunee County, 35.5% of residents have received a dose and 27.8% have completed the series. 


Sevastopol listening to short-term housing concerns

A hearing surrounding an issue that could affect business for some will be held on May 11th in the Sevastopol town hall. In the afternoon, a hearing will allow public comments on a proposed ordinance that regulates short-term renting of residential dwellings. A notice stated that the intent of the ordinance is to ensure that short-term rentals that operate with the Town of Sevastopol are adequate for protecting public health, safety, and general welfare. The proposal also establishes minimum standards for human occupancy and owner responsibility. In a previous discussion, Sevastopol Plan Commission Chair Linda Wait called the main purpose of the ordinance to preserve the quality and character of their neighborhoods. One of the biggest talking points of the ordinance is the minimum six night stay for short-term rentals. 

The initial short-term rental application fee would be $500 to pay for administrative and monitoring costs.  Short-term is classified as any stay of 30 days or less. Other points in the proposal include standards for pets and parking. Seating for the hearing is limited to twenty-five. With the possibility of numerous speakers, those wishing to speak are asked to sign up ahead of time with the city clerk at 920-746-1230. People who did not sign up to speak in advance will be last. There is no back and forth discussion with individuals, Plan Commission members, or Town Board members at the hearing. The purpose for the hearing will be for gathering input. A link to the proposed ordinance can be found here.


(Photo from Town of Sevastopol) 

Sevastopol to let community say final good byes

Sevastopol School District is allowing the community to roam the hallways of its older buildings one final time next weekend before demolition begins later this summer. Tours will take place next weekend for people interested in seeing the 1924 and 1946 portions of the building before they start being demolished in June.  The demolition of a connecting hallway between the gym built in 1991 and the 1924 building will start shortly after Sevastopol’s school year ends on May 21st. In conversations with community members, Sevastopol Superintendent Kyle Luedtke says it has been interesting to learn how the building has evolved over the years and the stories that come with each individual room. He believes it was important to allow people a chance to say reminisce and take pictures.

The district will host the open houses on April 30th from 6-8 p.m. and May 1st and 2nd from 2-4 p.m. Luedtke added that construction of its new facilities are on track to finish on time thanks to the hard work of the crews on-site and the good weather.

Birch Creek prepared for safe summer

Birch Creek Music Performance Center Executive Director Mona Christenson is excited to hear the sounds of music on the Egg Harbor campus this year after a summer of silence in 2020.  Birch Creek is taking rehearsals and performances outside to allow guests, students, and staff to be safe throughout the whole summer. That has meant establishing an 1800 square foot performance space for its groups, which will also be smaller than in years past. Guests will be able to stay socially distant from each other on benches or in their own lawn chairs. For students and staff, it will be a welcome change of pace fromlast year when private lessons and rehearsals were done via video conferencing. Christenson is proud that Birch Creek did not have to lay off any regular employees due to the pandemic and of all of the planning they have done to get this season off the ground.

Tickets are on sale now for the close to 30 different performances for the three different sessions, which include percussion and steel band beginning on June 17th, symphony on July 1st, and big band jazz on July 14th. You can listen to our full discussion with Christenson on our Podcasts page.

Sheriff takes lessons from Chauvin verdict

Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski hopes people have learned over the past year that no group should be painted with a wide brush stroke after the verdict of a former Minneapolis police officer earlier this week. The death of George Floyd last year started a protest movement across the entire country including events in Sister Bay, Sturgeon Bay, and Kewaunee. The guilty verdict of former police officer Derek Chauvin restarted conversations centered around topics like police accountability and race relations. Joski says the events of the past year show that people cannot hold preconceived biases because of the actions of a few individuals and they must also trust in the system.

He adds that all groups of people deserve the same level of respect and decency no matter the situation.

Joski is hopeful that the entire community can work together to make the justice system work for everybody.

Board prepares for sales tax extension vote

The 0.5 percent sales tax in Kewaunee County could be extended another five years pending a Board of Supervisors vote on April 27th. The tax established in 2016 by a majority vote was set to expire at the end of this year before going through the committee process over the late winter months. The county sales tax generated approximately $1.3 million in 2020, the most it has produced since it was instituted. Kewaunee County Administrator Scott Feldt says it is important to note that the sales tax will be reevaluated again in five years like it has this year.

The Kewaunee County Board of Supervisors will also honor the life of the late family court commissioner Bill Wolske and discuss Feldt’s recommendation to hire Jeff Wisnicky as the new Department of Human Services head at its April 27th meeting. It will take place at the Kewaunee County Administration Center in Kewaunee at 6 p.m.

KCEDC, Green Bay Chamber partner for economic development

The Kewaunee County Economic Development Corporation launched a partnership to promote Kewaunee County’s economic diversity and growth. The KCEDC and Greater Green Bay Chamber are teaming up in hopes of mutually benefitting both areas. KCEDC Executive Director, Ben Nelson, says part of the desire for partnering is that economic development doesn’t just happen within local boundaries. Nelson added that it makes sense to look throughout the region in raising awareness for marketing the Kewaunee County and greater Green Bay areas. Nelson hopes teaming up with the GGBC will allow the two areas to leverage their unique resources together towards positive economic outcomes. 


Nelson mentions that Kewaunee County will now be provided better delivery services as they’ll be able to leverage the GGBC’s team to do more business retention and expansion visits. Nelson finds this to be a critical component of coming out of the pandemic crisis. These visits, along with enhanced data collection ability can help check the pulse of area businesses to see what they need and how the last year treated them. Nelson views this merger as a win for Brown County as well. 

While the partnership has a shared focus on coming out of the pandemic well, there is also enthusiasm for what this can mean for years to come. 

Over 40 percent fully vaccinated in Door County

Door County saw good news come out of its COVID-19 report on Wednesday.


Only one positive test was reported out of the 25 that were administered.  No new deaths or hospitalizations were reported. Statewide, 624 new cases were reported on Wednesday along with 70 hospitalizations and three additional deaths. 


Door County also crossed the 40 percent barrier when it comes to individuals fully vaccinated against COVID-19. It still leads the state with 57.1 percent of the population receiving at least one dose. 


Door County Public Health announced earlier this week it was hoping to find more people to get vaccinated with the supply it had on hand before they spoil. The same release also announced it would be setting up a vaccination clinic in Sister Bay on April 29th. D


oor County Medical Center will cease its mass COVID-19 vaccination clinics at the end of the month, but it will still offer shots by appointment. 

Volunteers lifeblood of local organizations

Door County Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Lori Allen and Restore Manager Megan Dietz says there are just not enough ways to say thank you to the volunteers that support non-profit organizations like theirs. According to SCORE, one out of four Americans volunteer, providing an economic value of $167 billion. For example, Door County Habitat for Humanity’s stable of 100 volunteers donated 3,000 service hours building last year’s home for the Marvin family alone. Coupled with its Restore operations and its home repair projects, Dietz says that number grows to over 10,000 service hours. Without the tremendous support of volunteers in the community, Allen says their program would not be able to function.

Dietz says even if you cannot swing a hammer, there is a good chance you could find a volunteer opportunity that suits you.

Like many other organizations, Door County Habitat for Humanity is always looking for a new crop of volunteers.  A 2017 Deloitte Impact Survey shows 75 percent of working millennials would volunteer more if they understood the impact they were making.

Baileys Harbor votes for land purchase

Baileys Harbor took a vote from residents on if the town will purchase the land that’s home to a former Nelson’s Hardware store and motel. The vote ended with 250 in favor of the purchase and 32 against. The town board voted to offer $1.95 million for the properties placed on the Lake Michigan shoreline. Town Chairperson Don Sitte is not sure at this time what will happen with it permanently. For the time being, the property is expected to be used by the town as additional public space near its marina. The town is open to residents weighing in on other possibilities for the property. 


Supervisors rescind ATV/UTV route

At Tuesday’s Door County Supervisor Board Meeting, a unanimous vote was made to rescind the amendatory ordinance chapter 11.05. The rescinded amendment designated portions of County Highway C from County Highway PD to North Duluth Avenue in the territorial boundaries of Sturgeon Bay and Nasewaupee as an ATV/UTV route. 


Supervisor Bob Bultman called the issues surrounding these routes disconcerting and said that almost every time the routes are brought up there’s a problem. Bultman suggested the county being more uniform in planning and said that he probably won’t vote for any more ATV/UTV route suggestions until there is a plan or guidance from the county.



He implored the county to engage with the planning department to create a plan or policy for the overall county. It was noted after that the highway committee has taken action to have the Sheriff’s Department, Highway safety commission, and others get involved with creating a plan. It was also mentioned that there is no initiative for a county-wide plan at this time and that the requests for routes do come from local municipalities and townships. Supervisor David Enigl chimed in offering that municipalities should have set rules to follow. 



Enigl also said he’s heard from too many residents wondering why ATV/UTVs have been coming down their road, without knowledge of designated routes. 


Door County goes green with pledge

Destination Door County is asking residents and businesses to do their part in setting an example of how other residents and visitors should travel the county. Starting this week the Door County Pledge is offered for residents to sign and will later be available to everyone. The pledge is an effort by Door County to urge traveling more purposefully and responsibly so that Door County’s amenities can sustain their attractiveness. Director of Communications and Personal Relations Jon Jarosh notes that everyone plays a part. 



The pledge has a broad focus that includes several steps such as respecting the waters, honoring local culture and traditions, and environmental preservation. The Door County Pledge is a component of a larger initiative called Care for Door County. This initiative will be focused on destination management and destination awareness. The initiative will also be revealed in further detail during National Travel & Tourism Week, which runs from May 2nd to May 8th. Door County is making push to be a Green Tier certified destination. The Door County pledge can be signed at or any of Destination Door County’s information centers.


Sturgeon Bay advances research facility bid

The city of Sturgeon Bay is taking a step further in their pursuit of landing a UW-Green Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. Sturgeon Bay Mayor David Ward offered a resolution establishing an Ad Hoc Advisory Committee on attracting the UWGB NERR to Sturgeon Bay at Tuesday’s Sturgeon Bay Common Council meeting. The committee would monitor the city’s bidding process. Ward opened up the floor for comments and questions to gauge the council’s interest, and the interest level was clear. The resolution unanimously passed. As council agreed there were clear benefits, Councilman Spencer Gustafson shared the impact he thought the NERR would have beyond Sturgeon Bay. 



Mayor Ward estimates the bid has eight to nine endorsements. It is not clear when the final decision will be made, but Ward is guessing it will be approximately six months. The cities of Green Bay and Marinette are also competing for the project. 


Students step up for Maplewood Food Pantry

A healthy and friendly competition between Southern Door Middle School classes resulted in another successful food drive for the Maplewood Food Pantry.    The annual campaign, which usually is conducted in the fall, concluded last week with over 700 items dropped off at the pantry.  Organizer Dillan Zaleski, the 7th grade English Language Arts teacher, says the six-week campaign included 14-17 classroom teachers encouraging students to collect canned goods for the Maplewood Food Pantry.  He says the class that collected the most items got to choose a fun challenge for a teacher.



Zaleski adds that Mrs. Tupa’s class raised over 200 of the 700 items collected.  Items were placed in collection boxes in each classroom and counted every Friday as part of the competition.  He notes that the campaign is an excellent way for students to get involved and give back to the community.


(photo courtesy of Southern Door School District)






Door County sees improvement in numbers

In Monday’s COVID19 report, Door County saw a relatively successful day in COVID19 tests with twenty-six being performed and just three turning out positive. There were no new hospitalizations or deaths in Door County. In Door County, 57% of residents have received a vaccine dose and 39.8% have completed the series. In Kewaunee County, 34.9% of residents have received a dose of the vaccine and 26% of residents have completed the series. Door County is currently leading the state in vaccination progress. 


Lengthy discussion reworks Door County resolution

A passionate discussion that spanned multiple hours at Tuesday’s Door County Supervisor Board meeting was centered around Resolution 2021-31, which declares racism a public health crisis in Door County. There was fire from both sides of the discussion during the public input period of the meeting.  


Multiple speakers enthusiastically discussed how they would be discouraged if Door County rescinded the resolution. Some mentioned how proud they were when the resolution was passed in March, compared to the disappointment of seeing it again placed on the agenda. In the meeting’s Supervisors Response portion, Supervisor Megan Lundahl said the resolution doesn’t call Door County racist and that saying the resolution does call it that is a form of political gaslighting. 



Opposing viewpoints on the resolution also exclaimed that there was no clear end game and not enough discussion had to pass it. There were also concerns from Supervisor Ken Fisher over the use of the word, “equity” in the discussions.



The vote to reconsider the resolution passed 11 to 9, which would place the resolution back on the table for discussion as if it hadn’t been acted on. Todd Thayse then made a motion to amend the resolution and bring back the resolution drafted by the administrative committee-- which passed 11 to 9. 


Supervisor Vinni Chomeau, who authored the originally passed resolution, wasn’t in favor of the amendment, calling it a total rewrite which didn’t include equity. Supervisor Susan Kohout offered amendments to the resolution, which ultimately passed by a 16 to 3 vote with two absences. She hoped this amendment could ease any hostility from both sides of the issue. 



The re-worked resolution will now be implemented. 


Fire Department plans open house Saturday

The Baileys Harbor Fire Department is inviting the community to check out its new digs on Saturday during an open house event. The $3.67 million building replaced its smaller, 65-year-old facility when firefighters were able to move into the new space in December. The new building has room to house and take care of all of its equipment while also providing space for sleeping quarters, offices, meeting rooms, and more. Baileys Harbor Fire Chief Brian Zak says the new building has had a positive impact on the department.

As a thank you to the community and a fundraiser for its future, the Baileys Harbor Fire Department is hosting an open house and cookout on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Town of Baileys Harbor approved the construction of the new fire station in 2019.


Picture courtesy of Baileys Harbor Fire Department

Energy savings sunny for Algoma Schools

The sun coming out is keeping the money in for Algoma School District since it installed its solar array last summer. Sitting on the south lawn of the high school, the goal of the 185-kilowatt solar panel system is to be able to generate approximately 25 percent of its electricity used per month. Since going online in September, the solar array has been able to generate over 85 megawatts of power, saving the district over $9,000 in energy costs. The district was able to obtain a number of grants to help pay for the system after first discussing the possibility six years ago. Algoma School District Director of Business Services Jason Melotte says there is also the possibility to expand in the future if the timing is right.

Melotte says in its efforts to further reduce the district’s carbon footprint, they are looking at installing a smaller solar array at the elementary school in the future. You can learn more about the Algoma School District’s solar array by clicking this link.


Picture courtesy of Algoma School District

Door County hurries to prevent vaccine waste

Several doses of the Pfizer vaccine could go to waste if Door County Public Health is unable to fill its COVID-19 vaccination appointments this week. Approximately 60 appointments still remain for its vaccination clinic on Wednesday and the vaccines themselves need to be administered by Friday before they spoil. The department would typically call people on their waiting list to administer doses on Thursday and Friday if they are unable to make the Wednesday clinic. That has been a rarity for the Door County Public Health Department, which has seen only two doses go unused previously. Door County Health and Human Services Director Joe Krebsbach says their team has been working hard to make sure every dose gets used.

Door County Public Health is also planning a COVID-19 clinic for Sister Bay on April 29th. People interested in getting vaccinated can click on the link here. According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, the seven-day average of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered has been dropping since reaching a high of over 63,000 on April 11th.


Vaccination sign up is available here

Final Farmers to Families Food Box coming Friday

Residents in Door County have potentially one last opportunity for food assistance courtesy of Feeding America and the United States Department of Agriculture.  The Door County Food Pantry Coalition and United Way will host a final Farmers to Family food distribution event on Friday in Sister Bay and Sturgeon Bay.  United Way of Door County Executive Director Amy Kohnle says people should know that this might be the last opportunity to get the food boxes.



The food boxes will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis and start at 4 pm at the Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Department and the Door County Fair Grounds in Sturgeon Bay.  There will be a five-box limit per vehicle as a total of 700 free boxes will be offered on Friday until they are gone.

Algoma South Pier work being completed this week

Algoma’s South Pier should be reopened to the public by next week after temporary repairs. The pier was damaged from erosion caused by high water levels in the past few years.  City Public Works Director Matt Murphy says the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers finished concrete work by the shoreline of the South Pier wall last Friday and should complete stonework on the west side of the south wall by week’s end.



Murphy notes that the public should gain access to the South Pier by next Monday. About $60,000 was earmarked for temporary fixes that included 85-feet of pier resurfacing. The federal government will be providing another $450,000 for the City of Algoma that consists of a current engineering study to determine a more permanent fix to the South Pier. 


(photo contributed)

DCMC partners with businesses on vaccinations

Door County Medical Center is hoping two vaccination clinics scheduled for this week is part of a larger effort in administering COVID-19 vaccinations. The hospital is hosting a vaccination clinic for Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding employees on Tuesday and NEW Industries on Friday for those who may have not had a convenient time to get vaccinated yet.  Door County Medical Center President and CEO Brian Stephens says they are working with other large employers to set up vaccination clinics at their operations. He hopes they could expand it to the county’s hospitality industry and J-1 Visa Student Workers.

Stephens says the fact that many people have already received their vaccinations makes the clinics a little easier since they do not have to do as many or have to worry as much about side effects hindering the companies’ productivity. He adds that they are working with Door County Public Health and other businesses to see how they can help more people get vaccinated as the county creeps towards 60 percent receiving at least one dose.




Annual meetings take on big issues

Several municipalities will be taking up some big issues this week at their annual meetings. Towns host the annual meetings so residents can learn more about its finances and discuss larger issues in the community. The Town of Clay Banks will take up broadband infrastructure planning as a part of its annual meeting, while the Town of Gibraltar will discuss its zoning authority. Electors will have the opportunity to approve the sale of the Nelson property to the town for future use. Town Chairperson David Eliot told last month that the Nelson family is willing to help finance the $1.95 million sale for the first six years because of the recent construction of the Baileys Harbor Fire Station.

The towns of Gibraltar, Clay Banks, Baileys Harbor, Brussels and others are holding their annual meetings on Tuesday. Following its annual meeting, the Town of Brussels board will hear an update on the zoning permit application for a potential Dollar General store.

Kitchens aims for long-term with stimulus

First District Rep. Joel Kitchens was thinking about the future when he voted in favor of a package of legislation last week directing COVID-19 relief bill funding. Both the Assembly and the Senate passed the bills directing $3.2 billion in relief funds towards a number of different provisions including tourism efforts, rural economic development, and long-term care facilities. Other aspects of the bill may still need to be approved by the federal government. Kitchens says the $500 million slated for broadband and $61 million for lead pipe replacement are two examples of the projects the funds could pay for that have a lasting impact.

Kitchens believes it is likely that Governor Tony Evers will veto the legislation passed by the Assembly and Senate and then repackage as his own. Kitchens says at the very least it will apply pressure on the administration to address some of the needs in the state. Evers announced late last month the allocation of $2.5 billion of COVID-19 relief funding.

Scouting for Food a big success

Thousands of items were picked up from the doorsteps of homes in Door and Kewaunee counties as a part of this year’s Scouting For Food Drive. Cub Scout and Scouts USA units spent the last two weeks distributing and picking up bags in efforts to fill the shelves of local food pantries in need.  Troop 1042 and Pack 4042 in Luxemburg set a record for its units, collecting over 3,100 items to drop off at Marv Bins Food Pantry at Holy Trinity Church in Casco. Scout leader Dennis Legrave believes the pandemic could have actually helped with their successful food drive.

Pack 4112 and Troop 1019 from Algoma collected 1120 pounds of food during its Scouting of Food Drive while Voyageur District, which covers Door and Kewaunee Counties as a part of Bay-Lakes Council, collected 85,000 pounds of food at Lambeau Field.


Photo from April Legrave

Master Gardeners hopeful for blooming attendance

The Door County Master Gardeners are hoping operations get back to normal sooner rather than later. In 2020, like most operations, they scaled back heavily, without getting much opportunity to take in their 25th year. Though Master Gardeners President Mary Moster was understanding, a difficult challenge to swallow was being unable to open the research station at the Garden Door.



The Garden Door has not opened yet for the public, but there is regular communication to help decide when it will open. Another misfortune was that the Master Gardeners missed out on being able to hold their annual plant sale last May and this coming May. One development leading to optimism is that volunteers are allowed back on research station property. They will be cleaning and preparing the station for the Summer. There are no guarantees for this Summer, but Moster is hopeful for an opening.



Moster and volunteers look forward to working on approved projects in the community that include safety protocols in the near future. 


Algoma Utilities opening grant availability

Through funding from their power supplier, WPPI, Algoma Utilities is taking requests from local organizations interested in a Community Contribution Grant or Economic Development Grant. The grants will go toward local causes and non-profit customers. For grant consideration, organizations must submit a letter to request assistance including how they plan to use the grant. Past examples of grants include Algoma school projects, local safety programs, literacy and youth programs, park improvements. Grant requests will be accepted at the Utilities office through June 7th. 


Dome House and Art Museum partner up

An art residency that was set to begin last year will be able to take shape this year as the Dome House and the Miller Art Museum are teaming up. The Al and Mickey Quinlan Artist residency will be open to artists in the midwest. The inspiration for the residency comes from Al Quinlan’s family. The Quinlan’s purchased the Dome House a few years ago and rehabbed it to the point it can now be utilized. The original intent was to make the place a creative haven, and now that intention becomes a reality, as it will serve as a haven for artists to live and work. Miller Art Museum Director Elizabeth Meissner-Gigstead describes the house as the perfect platform for an artist residency. 



The program is multi-faceted, and open to two artists with a preference for one to be a local resident. The program is open to mid-career level visual artists working in the areas of the fine arts of painting, printmaking, and photography who wish to engage with area visitors and residents. Though one artist could be unfamiliar to the community, Meissner-Gigstead makes it known community involvement will be a residency focal point. 



This was planned to launch last year and even had a successful fundraiser in late 2019, but the pandemic made all parties have to rethink and strategize. The hope now is that the residency grows throughout time. The Miller Art Museum also hopes this could be a vehicle for their permanent collection and exhibits. Meissner-Gigstead also believes this will benefit the community in coming years. Interested artists are encouraged to apply at as applications are accepted until the end of May. 


Madonna makes it through first winter

The Washington Island Ferry’s newest vessel passed all the tests in its first winter of operation. The ferry line christened the Madonna last June as one of its largest passenger vessels in addition to being its second icebreaker. The crew was able to get used to the Madonna’s nuances during its first months on the water. Washington Island Ferry President Hoyt Purinton said last month they only held back on using the Madonna during some of the tougher ice days so they did not meet a point of resistance with passengers on board. He added they had opportunities to run both ice breakers at the same time during the winter.

The addition of a second icebreaker and a shorter than usual ice season allowed the Washington Island Ferry Line to add extra trips over the course of the winter when demand called for it. The Washington Island Ferry Line added Friday night trips ahead of the Easter weekend and will expand its schedule from six daily roundtrips later this week.

Wildlife causes power outage across Sturgeon Bay

At approximately 2 AM on Sunday morning a raccoon caused the Michigan St. substation to go offline which caused power outages in the Sturgeon Bay area. The power was restored around 3:30 AM for most residents. The Michigan Street station is expected to be up and operational Sunday morning after wildlife protection installation. Those with additional questions can contact the Public Works office. 


Water: The Clear Benefits

As we approach warmer temperatures and start to do more activities outside, hydration becomes more important. Many public water fountains may be blocked off due to COVID precautions. Fill a reusable water bottle filled with water when you go out, or maybe a mug of herbal tea.


            Why is it important?

Water helps transport nutrients to cells, remove waste from the cells, and regulate body temperature. Water cools our bodies. When the body gets hot, it sweats. As sweat evaporates, the body is cooled. If the sweat is not replaced by drinking more fluids, the body’s water balance is upset and may overheat. You can get water not only by drinking water and other fluids, but by eating fruits and vegetables which contain a lot of water.


            How much water do you need?

Getting the right amount of hydration depends on how active you are, the climate, and your age. A physically active adult living in a moderate climate should drink eight to ten glasses of water a day. Active adults and those living in a warm climate, like summer in Wisconsin, should consume more. Older adults may not feel thirsty even when they’re dehydrated, so it’s important to make an effort to drink water throughout the day.


            Bored with plain water?

Try hot tea or fruit-infused water. You’ll find many recipes for infused water online. To try it, simply slice lemon & lime or perhaps cucumber & mint into a pitcher of water. Refrigerate overnight. Delicious! Many foods also keep you hydrated. Some foods are more than 90% water:   vegetables like celery, cucumbers, lettuce, radishes OR fruits like pineapple, grapes, and oranges.  Jell-O, popsicles, and broth keep you hydrated, too. 


For more information check out this article written by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension on hydrating safely during COVID-19:


Door County Parks prepping for busy summer

The Door County parks staff will be staying busy from end to end in Door County as weather permits. The early spring has provided optimism for timing as well. Work will begin at the Door County entrance, as visitors and residents may notice a missing “Welcome to Door County” sign on Highway 57 for a limited time. Door County Parks Manager Burke Pinney says the sign is set to undergo refurbishment which will help restore its original form.  



There is no set date at this time due to weather, but the county is hoping that before Memorial Day they will be paving Chaudoir’s Dock’s lower parking lot. The lot will be closed for an estimated one or two days. The top lot will also have cracks filled, be resealed, and have lines repainted. The same process will happen at Lilly Boat Launch this spring. 


July 1st is the closing date to add four acres of land to Meridian County Park between Jacksonport and Baileys Harbor as well. There are improvements scheduled at the Ellison Bay Bluff area, specifically the road leading into the park. 



Another summer with high visitor numbers at the parks is expected. Pinney estimates record turnout last year based on how often they had to collect trash and pump out the vault toilets at the park. 



Even with extra maintenance needed, Pinney says this is great as people are getting outside and enjoying the parks. All Pinney asks is for people to familiarize themselves with county ordinances and park rules. These improvements aren’t expected to take more than a few days as the county tries not to close any park for any longer than that. Pinney says individuals will be warned far in advance of any park closures through press releases and website updates. 

Northern Door YMCA confirming more offerings

The Northern Door YMCA is looking forward to being able to do more for their visitors and members this Summer. Northern Door YMCA Member Services Director, Megan Schneider is looking to take advantage of the warmer season, and have more outdoor offerings. 



Schneider encourages people to check out the registration guide when it comes out. She also stated that they are waiting on more sites to be confirmed to offer other off-site services. The Northern Door center is also excited to bring back specialty programs that took a hit due to the pandemic. Programs include seven and twelve-week fall prevention programs, and their Parkinson's exercise program. 


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 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.  



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:





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 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   

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.



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



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 “” 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 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)




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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