News Archives for 2021-05

Assistant Police Chief a new possibility

When the City of Sturgeon Bay didn’t rush to fill the Lieutenant vacancy with the Sturgeon Bay Police Department left by Chief Clint Henry’s promotion, it wasn’t because of a lack of options. Discussions around the creation of an Assistant Chief of Police position are ongoing and recently went through the Personnel Committee. The Chair of that committee, Dan Williams says that while there hasn’t been an Assistant Chief of Police position in Sturgeon Bay before, the Captain Position does similar duties to typical Assistant Chief tasks. Adding such a position will help evaluate the department’s wages and positions compared to other departments, says Williams. 

 

 

There has been a collaboration between the city and the department, as Williams remembers Chief Henry accepting his new position and suggesting a restructure of staff titles. With that idea in mind, the Lieutenant position was strategically left open and will likely be eliminated. The Captain title would be retained in this restructuring. Williams says that not filling the Lieutenant position did cause a bit of sacrifice, as jobs in the department got a little more tedious and some had to take on extra work. He says it was important though, to figure out what a restructure looks like. Williams feels that aligning staff roles with other departments will improve efficiency.

 

 

The restructure will be discussed by the common council on Tuesday and Williams predicts that it will not have trouble passing. 

 

Weather alert issued for Door County

The Memorial Day weekend is ending with a bang in Door County as a major weather system approaches.

 

The National Weather Service issued the special weather statement concerning Door County at approximately 5:35 p.m. The doppler radar is tracking strong thunderstorms along a line extending from 8 miles northwest of Ephraim to near Marinette.  There is a possibility of half inch hail and winds in excess of 40 mph will be possible with these storms. Jacksonport, Ephraim, Egg Harbor, Newport State Park, Baileys Harbor, Sister Bay, and Fish Creek are among the areas that could be affected by the storm. 

 

The National Weather Service advises people take shelter if they are outside.

Kewaunee County road projects in full swing

Starting Tuesday, travelers will adjust to work being done on Highway 42 near Kewaunee. The $5.1 million project that includes resurfacing a 9.9 mile stretch of highway and replacing two box culverts is underway. The two culverts are between the south Kewaunee/Manitowoc County line and Baumeister Drive in Kewaunee. The highway will be closed and detoured, with access maintained to businesses and properties in the work zone. 

 

According to the Department of Transportation, the detours around work when heading north is County BB west to County AB north to WIS 39 east back to WIS 42. The detour when southbound is WIS 29 west to County AB south to County BB east to WIS 42. The project is expected to be finished in the Fall of 2021.

 

Construction elements include:

 

  • Mill and resurfacing existing asphalt pavement
  • Replace deteriorating box culvert 300’ south of Lakeview Drive 
  • Replace deteriorating box culver ¾ mile north of County J
  • Repair/replace various culvert pipes in work zone 
  • Storm sewer, beamguard, and pavement marking
  • Rumble strip installation
  • Minor grading and shoulder widening

Emotions run high at Door County Memorial Day ceremony

Stories were recalled and tears were fought back at the Sturgeon Bay Fire Department building where a ceremony could be held this year. Door County Veterans Services Officer Beth Wartella was the first speaker and shared stories about Door County soldiers who lost their lives in combat, dating back to World War I. Coming after that was the reading of names of Door County veterans who had served but are no longer living. After each name, Assistant County Veterans Service Officer Nathan LeClair rang a bell. Names read off went back to the Civil War. 

 

Wartella said at the ceremony that Memorial Day is rightfully one of the most solemn and patriotic days for Americans. She honored the example set by those who made the ultimate sacrifice. 

 

 

The heartfelt day ended with the American Legion Post 51 rendering a salute followed by the playing of TAPS by Andy Anderson.

 

Algoma community commemorates Memorial Day

Hundreds of people gathered at Legion Park in Algoma Sunday morning for a special ceremony commemorating Memorial Day. After holding a virtual celebration last year, the Algoma community returned to watch the ceremony in person under partly sunny skies and near-perfect conditions along Lake Michigan. The celebration included Mayor Wayne Schmidt addressing the crowd and the Algoma High School band performing and bagpiper Thomas Johnson playing Amazing Grace. American Legion Post 236 Commander Tracy Steiner introduced Senior David Ibarra, a senior from Algoma High School and scholarship recipient who shared his thoughts on the impact military veterans who paid the ultimate had on our country. A short parade through downtown began the celebration before the formal program at Legion Park. Mayor Schmidt shares the significance of holding the Memorial Day ceremonies again in front of spectators this year. 

 

 

 

 

Nickel graduates from principal position

Saturday’s graduation ceremonies at Sturgeon Bay were not just goodbye for the senior class, but also for their principal. Bob Nickel will say goodbye to Sturgeon Bay High School at the end of the school year next week after 15 years in the position. There have been plenty of moments over the years that have led Nickel to two questions: Why did I ever want to do this? and How could I imagine doing anything else? Nickel says he never thought he would be a principal through a pandemic, but he is happy it worked out that way in his final year.

His favorite moment of being a principal always happens on graduation day for just a split a second after the National Anthem when he gets to gaze upon the senior class as a whole one final time.

Nickel was honored with his own graduation of sorts earlier this month when he was surprised by the school body with a ceremony featuring the high school band, and of course a cap and gown.

 

 


New Peninsula superintendent excited for busy summer

Taking the reins of one the Wisconsin State Parks System’s most popular locations is part of what drew the newest Peninsula State Park Superintendent to the role. Eric Hyde was previously a conservation technician and the parks and trails manager for Washington County before taking over the role at Peninsula State Park.  He will also serve as the superintendent for Newport State Park and Rock Island State Park.  Having served the role since November, he is excited for the park to be brimming with visitors.

Peninsula State Park routinely draws over one million people every year, some Hyde expects will happen again thanks to the newest iteration of Eagle Tower and a number of other improvements at the property.

Children learn from watching you

Did you know?
Families that eat dinner together tend to have healthier diets that are higher in fruits, vegetables, and calcium, and lower in saturated fats. Eating meals together also provides opportunities for role modeling!


Why is it important to cook with young children?
- It is a great way to encourage your child to eat fruits and vegetables. Kids like to eat foods they help to prepare.
- Kids feel good about doing something “grown-up”. Give small jobs to do and praise their efforts!
- They will be learning skills they can use for life. Help teach them to follow instructions, count, and more!


How can young children help with the cooking?
- Tearing lettuce for a salad.
- Picking grapes off the stem and putting them into the bowl. Encourage your children to count the grapes as they are putting the grapes into the bowl!
- Scrubbing or washing vegetables such as potatoes and carrots.
- Setting the table.
- Picking which vegetables go into a salad or soup.
Cook together. Make meals and memories together. It is a lesson they will use for life!

Police Department reopening educational opportunity

For people who want to get an inside look at what it takes to be a police officer, they have that chance again. The Sturgeon Bay Police Department announced that they are bringing their Police Cadet program back. The program is for 14-20 year olds interested in law enforcement in which they’ll have periodic meetings, learn, and simulate situations that an officer may encounter. The cadet program was put on pause last year when schools shut down. 

 

Though the program is aimed at people learning more about law enforcement, it doesn’t mean they’re required to choose law enforcement as a career. Sturgeon Bay Police Department Officer Brandon Shew says it teaches skills and practices that can translate to different career fields. The cadets learn specific skills that can help in small or large agencies. Officer Shew runs the cadets, but he says he’s not the only officer who can influence.

 

 

Prospective cadets can find more information on the Sturgeon Bay Police Cadet Facebook page. 

 


Full summer of aquatic acivity for YMCA

The Door County YMCA isn’t wasting time this summer trying to advance people’s water safety and swimming ability. Door County Aquatics Director Mike McHugh is particularly excited to bring back the six-week Peak Performance program that he’s been conducting for 25 years. This year they’ll get to take two sets of 40 swimmers, and the Peak Junior program can take 50.  McHugh says it’s a phenomenal opportunity, especially with their top-flight equipment. He adds that adults began to notice and wanted to apply it to their routine.

 

 

Summer aquatics programs begin on June 21st, when McHugh returns from the US Olympic Trials, where he’ll be rooting for his son and former DC United swimmer, Max McHugh. Mike McHugh mentioned that it’s been nice seeing people returning to the YMCA and joining.

 

(Photo courtesy of the Door County YMCA )

Jail museum ready to educate again

With more places beginning their process of fully opening, the Kewaunee County Jail Museum is being unlocked. The museum, staffed by volunteers, opens on Monday. after missing out on their golden anniversary. In 2020 they weren’t able to celebrate their 50th year operating, so now 2021 will take its place as a special year. This summer, they’ll celebrate 50 years in business to pair with celebrating the Kewaunee County Historical Society making it 100 years. The historical society is even selling commemorative coins, with each side representing one of the milestones. Historical Society member Richard Dorner discusses one part of the jail museum they will now highlight. 

 

 

The museum will also be open during the Door County Lighthouse Festival, which will also be celebrated in Kewaunee County. 

 

Memorial Day services in Door County begin early

Some area veteran organizations started commemorating Memorial Day to remember those who died and served our country on Sunday.  George W. Goetz Post 372 Forestville American Legion covered over 20 cemeteries in southern Door County all Sunday morning. Starting in Maplewood at 7:20 AM, the color guard completed its duties at noon.  Other Door County and Kewaunee County American Legion Posts will be providing services and Memorial Day ceremonies on Monday. 

 

 


2021:  It's Time to Get Back on the Water in our Kayaks!

 

Spring is here and we have over 300 miles of amazing shoreline in Door County to enjoy in our kayaks this season.  Each year I see more and more kayakers on the water and plenty of kayaks on the tops of vacation vehicles heading into Door County and up the peninsula!

 

Each year as I begin my bi-weekly kayak and kayak fishing articles, I feel it’s extremely important to touch on safety.  It’s been a cool spring, with water temperatures in the 50’s and low 60’s.  Be sure to wear your PFD, put your phone in a plastic waterproof bag, wear proper clothing and tell someone where you plan to kayak, especially if you’re alone.  Also, be aware of the weather conditions.  In Door County the wind can shift quickly, making conditions dangerous.  Personally, I stay close to shore.

 

Through the 2021 season, I will be touching on many kayak-related topics.  We’ll look at selecting the right kayak and paddle, great places to launch, rigging, transporting your kayak, and tips on kayak fishing.  For additional information, there are Facebook groups like Wisconsin Kayaking, Kayaking Wisconsin and for you anglers, the Wisconsin Kayak Fishing Club.  Questions are welcome and group members love giving answers.

 

Spring is a great time for you kayak anglers to get out and chase smallmouth bass.  To help protect our fishery, I strongly suggest you practice catch, photograph, and release.  Also, with the spawn starting it is very important to not disturb those male smallies on a nest guarding their brood.  This too will protect and enhance our fishery for future years.  Having just written a nest fishing feature for Badger Sportsman magazine, I can tell you that even catching and releasing a nesting smallie will still result in 50 to 100% loss of the brood from that nest.

 

Over the past five years of doing my articles, I’ve had more and more kayakers email me with questions, which I’m very happy to respond to.  You can email me at kayakfishingwisconsin@gmail.com.  I hope you have a great year of kayaking fun!

Northern Door park closing for improvements

People hanging out in northern Door County will have to find a different county park to explore rather than Ellison Bluff County Park this week. The park will shut down on Monday evening to begin paving operations the next day. On Tuesday, the Parks Department will do compacting and grading work to make sure surfaces are level. Then, on Wednesday and Thursday, paving will begin. 

 

Door County Parks Manager Burke Pinney says the dates and times could change and that the staff will keep an eye on nightly temperatures, hoping it doesn’t get too cool for paving. He says the forecast for the time period looks favorable. Pinney is also hopeful the park will reopen at approximately 8:00 AM on Friday.

 

Awards modified for inclusion

Since businesses went above and beyond to make ends meet in 2020, the Door County Economic Development Corporation found their impetus for their newest initiative. The DCEDC introduced three new awards and also tweaked how they’ll distribute one of their long-standing awards. They added a Lightkeeper Award, honoring woman and minority-owned businesses, the Rangelight Award, honoring a business that’s been operating for less than three years, and a Lighthouse award which honors an established business of the year. The Lantern Award for lifetime achievement will be awarded yearly now. It used to be given out when a gust of inspiration came to award it, which would sometimes be every two or three years. DCEDC Communications Director Kelsey Fox says they want more businesses to feel eligible for the spotlight. 

 

 

June 30th is the final day to nominate businesses for recognition and this year local artists will be crafting the trophies rather than having winners receive plaques. Information on the nomination process can be found here.

 

(Photo courtesy of the DCEDC)

Sign welcomed back to Door County

When a sign that welcomes habitual visitors to Door County goes missing, its bound to be noticed, and even missed. After recently being shipped off for a refurbishment, Door County Parks Manager Burke Pinney said that he’d return to work on Mondays to listen to voicemails from people like vacationers and seasonal residents who were curious where their Door County greeting went. When finding out it went away for a facelift, they would need to know what will happen to it. 

 

 

Pinney said over time issues accumulated include the LED style lighting they used becoming outdated, faded painting, damaged aluminum panels, and the letters had enough depth for animals to make nests in. Pinney says that the animals coupled with harsh Door County winters aged the sign over time. The sign will look the same with the naked eye, but letters will have significantly less depth, which was not an option in 2008 when the original sign was erected. After the sign made it 13 years without needing a touch-up, Pinney is confident the refurbished version will make it at least a decade. 

 

ADRC looking forward to hosting events

Since the Aging and Disability Resource Center of Door County reopened in May, they have resumed events for the seniors of Door County. These events are open to pre-registering; unfortunately, the ADRC can only allow a maximum of 10 people to each event due to COVID-19. Nikki Scharrig, the activities and volunteer coordinator of the ADRC, highlights the positives of reopening and the response the ADRC has seen.

 

 

There are many events that they have planned for the next month, including a trip to the Open Door Bird sanctuary on June 29th and many musical events, such as June 10th with George Sawyn, June 15th with Ken Pollock, and a World Day of Music concert on June 21st with Helen Cordon playing her accordion. More information on the events coming up at the ADRC can be found on their website. Although the ADRC continued its Meals on Wheels program throughout the pandemic, reopening has been exciting for the ADRC. They are looking forward to continuing their events and support for the people the ADRC reaches.

 

2021 class gets applause from the shoreline

On Saturday, the Sturgeon Bay High School 2021 graduating class revived an idea that fell through last year. In 2020, the pandemic shut down the idea of a boat parade for the graduates. This year, the graduating class approached Principal Bob Nickel about picking up the initiative. Family and friends looked on from the east waterfront and the Oregon and Michigan Street bridges and cheered toward the line of boats that took off from Madelyn Marina.

 

 

 

 

 

Exhibitors line up for art fair return

A sunny day brought a vibrant atmosphere to downtown Sturgeon Bay on Saturday morning that was not present last Memorial Day weekend. Destination Sturgeon Bay is taking in the celebratory weekend by putting on the 23rd annual Fine Art Fair that goes through Sunday. It’s been a while since the organization could put on an event like this, and Destination Sturgeon Bay Marketing and Events Director Carley Sarkis said they’re happy to be back doing what they love to do. She added that the fair is a great way to support artists across the midwest who had a tough year with little to no shows. 

 

Artists came from all over the midwest to pitch tents and show off their creativity. One of the exhibitors, Mary Oglesby, resides in St. Louis and made the drive the day before from Missouri. Though she has a place in Ephraim, it was her first time participating, and she shared compliments of the event’s setup. 

 

 

She also was impressed with the other artists there, and looked forward to seeing all the art and food vendors. Oglesby was impressed enough that she said she’d love to be back if they’d have her. Sarkis also shed light on the busy summer ahead for Sturgeon Bay. 


 

 

With the return of the fair came the first time it was at Martin Park instead of Sunset Park.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Walls falls at Sevastopol

Residents of Sevastopol School District will see its facilities transform over the next several weeks. Crews have already demolished a connector hallway between the 1991 gymnasium and the 1924 building. The asbestos abatement of the 1946 industrial arts and agriculture wing has been completed, paving the way for the possible start of its demolition on Tuesday. Demolition of the 1924 building will begin as soon as its asbestos has been abated and the 1946 structure has been torn down. Superintendent Kyle Luedtke says there have been no surprises yet, though admits there were moments of nostalgia leading up to the process as the district ended its school year last week.

Luedtke says construction crews will set up a perimeter around the buildings so they can watch the demolition safely and the district will provide updates on its Facebook page. Some of the items from the older sections of the school are up for the sale, which will include the building’s bricks as the demolition rolls on.

 

 

Augustian Farms ready for close up

This year’s Kewaunee County Breakfast on the Farm family is excited to host the annual Father’s Day event for the first time this year.

 

The Augustian family runs the over 120-year old dairy operation based in Kewaunee while milking around 1,000 cows daily and operating on approximately 1,500 acres of land. In recent years, Augustian Farms has taken on a larger role in the area’s conservation efforts. In addition to being a member of Peninsula Pride Farms, the operation as partnered with UW Discovery Farms to do research on the surface water running off their land.

 

Aaron Augustian joined his brother on the farm in 2007, just two years after a fire destroyed the original barns that milked a much smaller herd. Augustian says many people are far removed from what happens on farms. Hosting tours and events like the Kewaunee County Breakfast on the Farm allows them to tell their story.

Augustian says he is most excited to show people how cover cropping, planting green, and other conservation practices have helped them become better stewards of the land. The entire Augustian Family will be formally introduced at the Kewaunee County Dairy Promotions Kickoff Breakfast on Thursday at the Rendezvous in Luxemburg. 

 

The Kewaunee County Breakfast on the Farm will take place on June 20th.

Gallagher offers signing bonus

Instead of being paid to stay at home, U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher is introducing a bill that will pay people more to get back to work. Also introduced by U.S. Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska, the National Signing Bonus Act of 2021 would convert the current money being used for the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation into a limited-time signing bonus for new hires. Workers would receive over $1200 after four weeks of verified employment and an additional $1200 after eight weeks of work. If it is passed, individuals would have to be hired and verify they are still employed by July 4th in order to be eligible for the bonus. With the number of help wanted signs up in northeast Wisconsin, Gallagher says the plan would reinvigorate the U.S. workforce.

He hopes to find a Democratic co-sponsor for the bill, saying the conversation about getting enough workers is an issue nationwide. Gallagher has called on Governor Tony Evers to end Wisconsin’s use of the FPUC program, saying it is ignoring the economic reality on the ground. 

Wind snags second day of fishing tourney

Though Friday conditions cut the Sturgeon Bay Walleye tournament short by a day, one angler got to take home a $93,000 prize. The tournament’s second day was canceled and award presentations started early after high winds called for a small craft advisory. Thursday also brought nasty conditions, but Gary Nault, a fishing guide who also helps put on the tournament, said it didn’t hold up the walleye catching because they like the rough weather. He did say that the weather had an effect on the ride. 

 

 

On the one day of the tournament, a past champion reclaimed their crown. Danny Woodke of Green Bay won the tournament with a weigh-in of 39.44 lbs. His co-angler this year was Trevor Parsons of Stockbridge. Woodke took home a purse totaling $93,022. The tournament is part of the National Walleye Tour.  Full results can be found here. 

 

(Photo courtesy of National Walleye Tour)

Year long rest ends for quartet

Many things were different prior to March 13th, 2020, and that holds up with the Griffon String Quartet. The group will perform on Saturday for a live audience for the first time since they had to shut down last March. Midsummer’s Executive Director Allyson Fleck shared excitement for the upcoming moment while reflecting on how far they’ve come. 

 

 

Operations went well enough this last year that Fleck believes they will start more hybrid teaching efforts, which helps keep schedules flexible. She even says they are going to begin recording their shows so people can view them later. Shows will look a bit different on Saturday in Sturgeon Bay’s and on Sunday in Egg Harbor. The program will be for a shorter time, seating will be socially distanced, and they won’t have their typical reception afterward. 

 

The quartet has picked up twenty concert dates this summer, which is just half of their usual forty. Fleck thinks it could get up to thirty this Summer. Midsummer’s will try to remain fluid this summer, as they’ve updated their COVID19 guidance multiple times in the last month. They will also be just a trio for the time being, as they are in the midst of filling their second violin slot. Performances are free-will admission and as a safety measure, they ask that people reserve seats twenty-four hours ahead of time. People can remain updated on Midsummers developments here.

 

Door County goes all negative

Door County had a valiant week in the fight against COVID19. On all five weekdays, all tests conducted came back negative. There were no hospitalizations or deaths in the county this week. In Kewaunee County, there were no deaths this week but one person was hospitalized. Just six people in Kewaunee County tested positive throughout the week. 

 

Door County is up to 63.3% of residents with at least one vaccine dose and 58.3% who’ve completed the series. In Kewaunee County, 39.4% have at least one vaccine dose and 36.6% completed the series. In Wisconsin, 69,200 individuals were vaccinated this week. 

 

Speed concerns as Peninsula prepares for increased traffic

With pent-up demand traffic expected this holiday weekend, local law enforcement offers tips and advice for arriving safely to your destination. With pandemic restrictions lifted, increased travel could impact the number of visitors to the Door Peninsula. Door County Chief Deputy Pat McCarty encourages you to drive defensively and give yourself plenty of room behind the vehicle in front of you. He says speed is one of the significant factors in highway accident fatalities.

 

 

McCarty also advises drivers to plan accordingly during the busy holiday weekend and allow plenty of time to get to your various destinations in and around Door County with the expected increase in traffic. 


Nationally, AAA reports that 37 million people are planning to travel 50 miles or farther from home.  That is an increase of 60 percent from 2020 during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Infrastructure key to Senator-backed measure

With the passage of the American Jobs Plan, Democratic U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin hopes the federal government will take a “measure twice, cut once” approach to infrastructure improvements. According to her office, 16 extreme weather events cost the state $10 billion in damages between 2010 and 2020. She hopes President Joe Biden’s call for $50 billion to improve infrastructure resiliency will help soften the blow when extreme weather events happen again.

Her office adds that 198 bridges and over 1,900 miles of roadway are rated as poor as Wisconsin commuters spend more time going to work. Baldwin says the state needs a long-term solution to fix the roads and the ability to invest in public transportation.

The nearly $2 trillion American Jobs Plan also addresses broadband internet access and upgrading drinking water systems. According to National Public Radio, Senate Republicans counteroffered with a $928 billion infrastructure proposal on Thursday by repurposing funds already approved for other projects and not by raising corporate taxes.

Bruemmer family continues zoo partnership

Over 90 years after Kewaunee County Judge Louis Bruemmer had a park named after him, his family continues to help fund his legacy.

 

Steve Bruemmer announced back in February he would donate $100,000 to a new pheasant exhibit at the park’s zoo if it is matched by the Kewaunee County Board and the Zoological Society of Kewaunee County. The Bruemmer family has been strong supporters of the zoo over the years, including an additional $20,000 to purchase life-size statues of an elephant, lion, rhinoceros, and zebra for a future African animal sculpture exhibit.

 

Zoological Society of Kewaunee County President Pam Zander says she is happy the family has been so supportive of their mission as the popularity of the park and its zoo rises with each exhibit they have been able to replace.

The Kewaunee County Board approved its $100,000 match earlier this year, so now it’s the Zoological Society of Kewaunee County’s turn. The organization will host a cookout fundraiser on June 5th to help get them closer to their own $100,000 goal.

Southern Door graduates learn life lessons

Though it will not appear on their transcript, resiliency may be the most important course Southern Door seniors took ahead of their graduation this weekend.

 

Despite the pandemic, Southern Door High School was able to stay open all year long with in-person classes. That does not mean it did not come with its challenges like having an alternative homecoming celebration and having some of its other events either canceled or take place virtually. High school principal Steve Bousley says hidden within those challenges were lessons the graduating class will be able to reflect on for the rest of their lives.

Bousley says the approximately 80-member graduating class earned over $1.3 million in scholarships. Ella Wienke is the class valedictorian and Laris Krauel is its salutatorian. Their commencement ceremony is scheduled for Sunday at 2 p.m. inside the Southern Door Auditorium.

Full weekend scheduled for Memorial Day

As the nation celebrates Memorial Day Weekend, the peninsula will follow suit. In northern and southern Door County, as well as Kewaunee County, Memorial Day events will be back for people to honor servicemen and women. On Saturday, highlighted events will commence with an Ice Age Trail Celebration and the Sturgeon Bay Fine Art Fair that is held at Martin Park. That will go through Sunday, which is the same day that George W. Goetz Forestville American Legion Post 372 will have their firing squad conduct services at different southern Door County cemeteries. 

 

Other events will be taking place on May 31st. Listed below are Memorial Day events in Door and Kewaunee County:

 

  • 05/30 George W. Goetz Post 372 Forestville American Legion Memorial Day services locations and approximate times 
    • Forestville Town (Maplewood)        7:20 AM (Split squad)
    • Namur (Pit Road)                               7:30 AM (Split squad)
    • Brockhausen                                       7:40 AM (Split squad)
    • Miesere                                                7:50 AM (Split squad)
    • Brown                                                   7:55 AM (Split squad)
    • Kolberg                                                 8:05 AM 
    • Brussels                                               8:20 AM
    • White Star                                            8:30 AM
    • Precious Blood                                   8:40 AM
    • St. Joe (Fox)                                        8:50 AM
    • Stevenson                                            9:00 AM
    • Geises                                                  9:10 AM
    • Maplewood                                         9:55 AM
    • Carnot                                                 10:10 AM
    • Clay Banks Town                              10:25 AM
    • Vignes                                                10:35 AM 
    • Mount Olive                                       10:45 AM
    • Shiloh Moravian                                10:55 AM
    • Schumacher                                      11:05 AM 
    • Hainesville                                         11:15 AM
    • Salem-Schulties                                11:35 AM
    • Forestville                                           11:50 AM
    • Old Catholic between Maplewood and Forestville 12:10 PM
  • 05/31 Memorial Day ceremonies at the following locations and times
    • Sturgeon Bay Fire Department        10:00 AM
    • Riverview Public Cemetery, Kewaunee  10:00 AM
    • Legion Park, Algoma                         10:00 AM 
    • Skyway Drive-In, Fish Creek             10:30 AM
    • Schoolhouse Beach, Washington Island    11:00 AM

Door County continues testing negative

For the fourth day in a row, Door County ran COVID19 tests but did not find any positive cases. Thursday’s COVID19 report from Door County Public Health showed that nineteen tests were administered and there were no new hospitalizations or deaths. The county currently has forty active cases. 

 

With the herd immunity threshold set at eighty percent fully vaccinated, Door County is at 63.2% of residents with at least one vaccine dose and 58.3% fully vaccinated. Kewaunee County has 39.3% of residents with at least one vaccine dose and 36.6% are fully vaccinated.

Olson named Southern Door Fire Chief

After serving 30 years on the Southern Door Fire Department, Rich Olson has been chosen as the new fire chief after the interviewing process Wednesday evening.  Olson, who served as a captain for the past 17 years, applied for the position after Gary Vandertie stepped down on February 1.  Leading 45 volunteer firefighters, Olson says he is honored and proud to represent the men and women serving the Southern Door community.

 

 

Olson adds that the fire chief position will be a learning process, but he will have help within and outside the Southern Door Fire Department.  Randy Massart had been serving as the interim fire chief from February 1 until Olson’s appointment Thursday.

Charges filed in suspicious death

A February 22nd call to a Sturgeon Bay residence where a 38-year-old man passed away has prompted an investigation. On Tuesday, 29-year-old John Jacob Mosgrove of Sturgeon Bay appeared in Door County Circuit Court on charges of 1st Degree Reckless Homicide/Deliver Drugs, as a party to a crime. On May 26th, 32-year-old Alexander George Hudson of Sturgeon Bay made his first appearance in court on the same charges.  According to a Sturgeon Bay Police Department press release, an investigation with the Door County Sheriff’s Department Drug Investigator found that Mosgrove and Hudson could have been the local source for the drugs that caused the fatal fentanyl overdose. The Door County District Attorney’s Office, Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department, Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation, and the Wisconsin State Patrol also assisted in the investigation. 

 

Voting reform group continues its fight

A voting reform group with Kewaunee County ties is not slowing down its battle for a more transparent election process.

 

The Wisconsin Voters Alliance, headed up by Kewaunee County Republican Party Chairperson Ron Heuer, spoke earlier this week at the “Standing for Voter Integrity” Rally on the steps of the Wisconsin State Capitol. The organization has filed suits against the Wisconsin Elections Commissions and the cities of Green Bay, Racine, and Madison as they request a thorough investigation of the 2020 election. The Wisconsin Voters Alliance deemed those cities’ use of private funds and consultants from the Center for Tech and Civic Life to be illegal. It also charges that municipalities mishandled absentee voting by not having individuals prove they were indefinitely confined and curing ballots that were not filled out correctly.

 

Heuer told DoorCountyDailyNews.com last week that the Wisconsin Voters Alliance is litigating these cases because he does not believe election reform bills passed by the Wisconsin Legislature earlier this month will be turned into law.

The bills passed by the Wisconsin Legislature would ban private funds for elections, establish standards for ballot dropboxes, and address voter identification standards.  The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported on Wednesday that Assembly Speaker Robin Vos is hiring three retired police officers and an attorney to investigate the 2020 election on the state’s behalf.

 

Picture from video of Wisconsin Voters Alliance rally in Madison, which is posted below

 

 

Tax credits key to Sister Bay project

Without a little help from Wisconsin Housing Economic Development Authority, Marissa Downs of Mosaic Ventures may still be searching for a way to bring an affordable housing project to Door County. After looking for years for a suitable site, Downs settled on an over 12 acre parcel located near Northern Door Children’s Center to build a 46-unit complex back in October.  Earlier this month, the project was awarded $718,283 in annual tax credits to the project. Connections to nearby utilities and costs associated to land purchases and construction have made previous attempts at similar projects hard to pull off. WHEDA’s partnership with the Door County Economic Development Corporation as part of the agency’s pilot program was key to get the ball rolling according to Downs.

Downs added that she has heard about Door County’s struggle to create affordable, workforce housing for close to a decade. She hopes this is a start to addressing those concerns.

Work is just beginning to make the project a reality as Downs continues to piece together architecture and engineering teams in addition to securing additional financing. She hopes shovels will break ground on the project by the end of the year.

Boating safety stressed with marine traffic increasing

The United States Coast Guard based in Sturgeon Bay reminds boaters to prepare as the unofficial beginning of summer occurs this weekend. This week is National Safe Boating Week, and Lake Michigan and Green Bay are expected to be extremely busy during the holiday weekend. USCG Petty Officer Michael Padden shares the wide variety of safety supplies that all boaters should carry onboard. 

 

 

Padden recommends having a plan, including telling a friend where you are going and keeping an eye on the weather. The United States Coast Guard has a mobile app available online.

 

 

The app also has a red button for immediately contact you to emergency assistance. National Safe Boating Week is a national effort to encourage boaters to make the most of their boating.

 

(photo courtesy of USCG)

Potawatomi, Whitefish Dunes offer more space

Visitors to Potawatomi State Park and Whitefish Dunes State Park will have a little more room to roam than they have had in months. A nearly six-month logging operation in Potawatomi State Park wrapped up earlier this month. This opens up North Norway Road and much of the trail system around the Eastern terminus of the Ice Age Trail for the first time since January. Park Superintendent Erin Brown-Stender says it is reopening at the right time.

Lower water levels this year is allowing people to more thoroughly explore the beaches of Whitefish Dunes State Park. The first beach access at the park is still closed however due to high water and shoreline erosion. Brown-Stender says it may be a while before the beaches are back to normal.

The spring is already leading Brown-Stender to believe it will be another busy year at the two state parks after records were set last year. Potawatomi State Park had no available campsites last weekend, an occurrence usually reserved for holidays and the peak summer season.

 

Flexibility key with Kewaunee seniors

After being in and out of the building for the better part of the last 16 months, the Class of 2021 at Kewaunee High School is prepared to leave one final time.

 

Like all schools in the state, the class’ junior year was cut short due to the pandemic. As coronavirus concerns ebbed and flowed through the community during the school year, so did the time for the 81 students in the building. Kewaunee Principal Mike Bennett says there was a sense of normalcy as the year went on as more students were able to come to school at the same time and athletic events were able to be hosted. It is the flexibility and the compassion for the situation that Bennett will remember about this year’s senior class.

Valedictorians Chelsea Dax, Cierra Brann, Elizabeth Lamack, and Jack Severin will lead their graduation class through their commencement exercises on Friday at 6 p.m. inside the school competition gym.

No positive streak runs to three

Door County did not report a single positive COVID-19 test for a third straight day on Wednesday. Seventeen tests were administered without a single positive test as the number of active cases dropped three to 42. No additional deaths or hospitalizations were reported. Statewide, 330 tests came back positive for COVID-19 while an additional 46 people were admitted to hospitals. Five people died on Wednesday as the state crossed the 7,000 mark in COVID-19 related deaths. On the COVID-19 vaccine front, Door County has administered 148 doses this week and Kewaunee County has done 45. Both Kewaunee County and Door County are offering walk-in appointments for the COVID-19 vaccine for those 12 years and older depending on the type.

Theater companies head back to the stage

Theatergoers in Door County will once again be able to catch shows outdoors and indoors this summer after a year away.

 

Northern Sky Theater and Door Shakespeare have both announced their outdoor slate of shows while Peninsula Players are patiently waiting for their health and safety plans to be approved by the Actors’ Equity Association and the Society of Directors and Choreographers. 

 

Rogue Theater learned the challenges those organizations face when they chose to perform their shows drive-in style in the parking lot of Sturgeon Bay’s Prince of Peace Church. Getting used to the weather elements was a tough transition, but as the summer dragged on they saw their crowds from around the region increase. Rogue Theater’s Stuart Champeau says he is happy the shows were well-received and that they will be able to do the same thing again this summer.

Rogue Theater will open its season on June 5th with a production of “The Case of the Mysterious Cravat.” Their four Friday/Saturday shows will be held outside at 6 p.m. while Sunday matinees will be held inside the church at 2 p.m. Door Shakespeare will present Hamlet beginning on June 30th and Northern Sky Theater will host its first performance of The Fisherman’s Daughter on June 14th.

Police locate missing pump

A suspect has been identified and a pump has been returned after Kewaunee Police opened an investigation regarding a May 21st theft of a Watercorp Honey Wagon pump from the Kewaunee marina. The Kewaunee Police Department reported that at 3:05 PM on Friday,  the pump was stolen from and the suspect fled the area in a pickup truck. More information will be released as more details become available.

 

 

Original story

 

The City of Kewaunee Marina is missing a pump and officials are asking for the public’s help to end the search. The Kewaunee Police Department reported that at 3:05 PM on Friday, May 21st, a Watercorp Honey Wagon pump was stolen from the marina and the suspect fled the area in a pickup truck. Officials are searching for the owner of the vehicle, described as a red, 3/4 ton, quad cab, Chevy pickup with a short box, and hoping to speak with him. Surveillance shows the vehicle traveled north on State Highway 42 after the pump was taken. Residents are urged to call the Kewaunee Police Department if they have information on the incident and they can remain anonymous if they choose. 

Jacque, other GOP members acknowledge childcare challenges

Issues related to child care are not new to Door County, and lawmakers are working to understand the struggles for guardians and providers to get children enrolled. On Tuesday, State Senator Andre Jacque, State Representative Joel Kitchens, and a staff member from the office of U.S. Representative Mike Gallagher listened to a virtual crowd in a Door County Child Care Town Hall organized by the United Way. The forum was centered around discussions on the challenges for single and double-income families to find affordable and quality childcare. Jacque mentioned that issues finding care for children have barred some parents from joining the workforce and taking part in the economy. He also says that since childcare centers shut down during the pandemic, it has not been easy to get people to join or rejoin that field of work. Though it’s a nationwide issue, Jacque pointed to Door County’s specific economic and geographic challenges. 

 

 

The State Senator brought up legislation he has worked on and ideas aimed at introducing unemployment benefit cliffs, creating a more gradual departure from the benefits. He says ideas like this can eliminate disincentives for people to work and improve in their field. Jacque calls solving child care issues a hard nut to crack that will take a multi-faceted approach. He feels confident resource allocation ideas and improvements can be made on a bipartisan basis.

 

Free passes aim to drive outdoor interest

There are no shortages of outdoor activities on the peninsula, and people will get a free shot to test the waters on June 5th and June 6th. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources will have their “Free Fun Weekend.” People will be able to fish without a license, and can also check out state parks without a registration sticker. DNR Conservation Warden Chris Kratcha says this is the ideal weekend for people who want to give the outdoors a try. 

 

 

Kratcha hopes that people try the Free Fun weekend and enjoy it enough to purchase a license or a state park pass. One thing he does mention is that the Fun Free weekend applies to outdoor activities but not to recreational vehicles, like boats. He reminds boaters to check registration before going out.

 

Police start search for pump

The City of Kewaunee Marina is missing a pump and officials are asking for the public’s help to end the search. The Kewaunee Police Department reported that at 3:05 PM on Friday, May 21st, a Watercorp Honey Wagon pump was stolen from the marina and the suspect fled the area in a pickup truck. Officials are searching for the owner of the vehicle, described as a red, 3/4 ton, quad cab, Chevy pickup with a short box, and hoping to speak with the individual. Surveillance shows the vehicle traveled north on State Highway 42 after the pump was taken. Residents are urged to call the Kewaunee Police Department if they have information on the incident and they can remain anonymous if they choose.  Kewaunee Police Chief Jim Kleiman says if residents see something suspicious they should be aware and try and capture a license plate number if possible. A pump similar to the one stolen is pictured below. 

 

(Photos from Kewaunee Police Department)

Small businesses urged to act quickly on aid

Small businesses on the peninsula looking for recovery aid are eligible to explore another avenue but will have to act quickly. Applications are being accepted through June 7th for the Wisconsin Tomorrow Small Business grants. Made possible due to federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act, the grants allot $420 million to approximately 84,000 Wisconsin small businesses. 

 

According to the Department of Revenue, the program is open for all businesses that were open prior to 2021 and have annual revenue between $10,000 and $7 million. Seasonal businesses are also eligible to apply. The Door County Economic Development Corporation says every eligible business will receive a $5,000 grant to go towards rent, renovations, hiring staff, or other means to help them get on their feet. The DCEDC and Director of Business Development Julie Schmelzer emphasized through a press release for businesses to apply quickly. More information on eligibility and how to apply can be found on the Department of Revenue website

 

Door County goes back to back days without positives

For the second day in a row, Door County has received good news in its fight against COVID19. Tuesday’s COVID19 report from Door County Public Health showed that for the second day in a row, there were no positive cases in the county. In the last two days, sixty-eight combined tests have been conducted but zero have returned positive results. There have also been no new deaths or hospitalizations in Door County.

 

The nation reached fifty percent of adults fully vaccinated from COVID19 on Tuesday. Door County is well above that mark with 57.6% of total residents fully vaccinated and 62.7% having received a vaccine dose. Kewaunee County is at 39% of their residents with a dose and 36.3% that are fully vaccinated. 

 

Plan commission tables Shipwrecked proposal

Opponents and proponents of a Shipwrecked Brew Pub and Restaurant expansion proposal in Egg Harbor filled up the open session in Tuesday’s Plan Commission meeting. The public comment session got to a point where Plan Commission Chair Cambria Mueller had to interject and ask speakers not to go back and forth in the public discussion. Concerns were brought up by speakers regarding the parking difficulties and the traffic concerns on Highway 42 running through town near the establishment. The concerns were echoed by some members of the commission who also clarified that they believe current parking and traffic difficulties were not started by Shipwrecked. However, they did feel that an addition consisting of more seating and a beer garden without relative parking would add to the issue. It was also mentioned the proposed expansion would have made it the largest restaurant in Door County. 

 

At the end of deliberation on the subject, Plan Commission members started to express mutual interest in tabling the discussion, and Mueller didn’t rule out revisiting the subject. 

 

 

Mueller made the motion to table the discussion, which passed unanimously, other than Jon Kolb and Chris Roedl being recused from the discussion and vote. The reviewed proposal can be found here. 

 

Looking for answers for Kewaunee school park

Kewaunee School District officials are looking for a different kind of help from the community this time around when it comes to its all-inclusive playground.

 

Donors in the community contributed $220,000 to make the park a reality in 2017, allowing kids with different physical abilities to play with each other.

 

The district went to Facebook on Monday to ask community members to speak up when they see the playground’s equipment is being abused. Two pieces are blocked off until they can be repaired and the post says explicit word carvings and other kinds of vandalism were also found. The post emphasizes that the playground should only be used by kids between the ages of 5 and 12 and that they should be supervised by a parent or guardian. The district estimates it could cost $35,000 to make the necessary repairs, and install fencing around the park, in addition to extra supervisory expenses.

 

For now, school staff and Kewaunee Police Department personnel are providing extra checks at night and the weekend, but the district hopes community members will help keep tabs on suspicious activities at the park as well. Kewaunee School District Superintendent Karen Treml could not be reached for additional comment.

Rock Island State Park prepared for reopening

For the first time since October 2019, visitors will be able to set foot at Rock Island State Park starting this weekend.

 

The pandemic and high water levels were to blame for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources calling the 2020 season a wash. Some volunteers received special permission last fall to work on some projects, but last weekend was the first time many members of the Friends of Rock Island State Park and the DNR were able to make the trek on the Karfi Ferry to prepare the popular spot for the season. Approximately 25 volunteers and DNR staff members spent three days on Rock Island doing a number of different projects including mowing, trail maintenance, and prep work inside the lighthouse and the museum.

 

Friends of Rock Island State Park President Tina Jacoby says it felt great to be back after so many months away.

Jacoby added that visitors feel the same way. Camping reservations for Rock Island State Park are already outpacing what was seen in 2019. The Friends of Rock Island State Park will host their annual Family Fun Day Fundraiser on July 3rd.

Entry submissions open for county fairs

Ambitious fair exhibitors in Door and Kewaunee counties can start submitting their projects for this year’s events.

 

Both counties opened their online portals earlier this spring for exhibitors. While animal exhibitors have had to participate in special meetings along the way, those submitting projects in a number of different categories like clothing, gardening, and art have to submit an application before bringing their items to the fair. In Kewaunee County, junior fair entries need to be submitted by June 1st while open class entrants have until June 15th. In Door County, all junior fair, open class, and school projects have until July 1st to submit their project applications.

 

Door County 4-H Educator Dawn VandeVoort says they moved up the deadline for the open class and school projects to make sure fair staff are prepared.

VandeVoort says the Door County Fair sees approximately 1400 junior fair projects and 1800 open class exhibits get submitted every year.

 

The Kewaunee County Fair is July 8th-11th while the Door County Fair is July 28th – August 1st. You can click on the links above for more information on exhibiting at your respective county fairs.

L-C seniors experience another first

Being among the first to try something new is not getting old for Luxemburg-Casco’s Class of 2021. The school district recently completed a number of projects related to its $27.8 million referenda passed in 2018. It allowed the graduating class of 157 students to experience the new gymnasium, wrestling room, tech lab rooms, automotive shop, and agriscience barn. It will also be the first graduating class at Luxemburg-Casco to have a close-to-normal graduation ceremony coming out of the pandemic. High School Principal Troy Haws says the seniors had to grow with the school in a lot of ways over the last year.

Luxemburg-Casco will host its graduation ceremony at its football field on Wednesday beginning at 6:30 p.m. Weather could push the commencement inside. Madelyn Leppiaho is the valedictorian and Kayla Dufek is the salutatorian. According to the district, 131 seniors will move onto some kind of post-secondary school education, 12 will enter the workforce and one will join the Marines.

Favorable weather and higher prices benefiting farmers

A relatively dry spring has allowed Door and Kewaunee County farmers to get nearly all their crops in for the season already as commodity prices continue to surge.  Rich Olson of Olson Family Farm in southern Door County says planting is off to a good start in local fields with hopes that timely rains will ensure a bountiful crop this year.  He says grain prices have been increasing significantly.

 

 

Olson adds that most farmers are staying with the traditional crops of corn and soybeans.  According to the Wall Street Journal, corn prices have risen roughly 50 percent in 2021 and a bushel costs more than double what it was a year ago.  Soybean futures prices increased over 80 percent from last year. 

Zero positive tests in Door County

Door County Public Health reported no new cases of COVID-19 on Monday.  A total of 46 tests were performed since Friday and active cases went down two.  There were no hospitalizations or deaths as the overall numbers continued in a good direction throughout the state.  The Department of Health Services disclosed 151 positive tests with 24 hospitalizations and one death.

 

On the vaccination front, Door County has 62.7 percent of their residents who have received at least one dose of the vaccine and 57.6 percent have been fully vaccinated.  Kewaunee County has 38.9 percent of residents with one vaccination dose and 36.3 percent who have completed the series. 

 

Cookery closing in Fish Creek

After 44 years, The Cookery Restaurant and Wine Bar in Door County will be closing after Memorial Day weekend.  Owners Dick and Carol Skare are retiring and selling the property to Chris Wiltfang of Skaliwag Restaurants of Algoma.  Negotiations have been ongoing since January when the Skares decided it was time to sell.   Carol shares what she will miss most when the Cookery’s doors close for the final time on Monday.

 

 

Some of the canned products that are offered at the Cookery will still be made available through the summer, according to Carol.  Dick Skare adds that they plan on staying a part of the Door County community.

 

 

The Cookery opened in 1977 and is located on Highway 42/Main Street in downtown Fish Creek.  

Seiler leaving Destination Sturgeon Bay

 After seven years as the leader of Destination Sturgeon Bay, Pam Seiler plans on retiring as the executive director at the end of the year.  Destination Sturgeon Bay posted the position looking for a new executive director this past weekend.  Seiler says she has no immediate plans after this year but is looking forward to spending more time with her recently retired husband Rick.

 

 

Seiler says the working relationship with the City of Sturgeon Bay, Door County Economic Development Corporation, and Destination Door County is strong and in a good position for whoever takes over the leadership position.  Staying on in a consulting role for the new executive director, Seiler says her departure may come sooner than the end of the year. Destination Sturgeon Bay began as the Sturgeon Bay Community Development Corporation in 1994 and was known as the Sturgeon Bay Visitor Center until January of 2020 when it changed its name to Destination Sturgeon Bay. 

Door County Libraries ditch masks, keep virtual programming

The masking advisory at Door County Libraries may have ended Monday, but you can still participate in their programs anywhere you feel comfortable. The Door County Library Board voted on May 17th to follow CDC recommendations and make masking optional. Despite the change, many of the practices the library system has undertaken over the last 15 months will remain in effect. Cleaning protocols and the availability of hand sanitizer will remain the same. Social distancing will still be encouraged and masks will be available to those who want as the safety of library users remains a priority. Many of its summer events will be held virtually or offered as a hybrid with in-person options available. Door County Library Community Relations Director Morgan Mann says it all comes down to access.

The Door County Library will kick off the month of June with expanded hours for many of its branches and its summer reading program. “Tails and Tales” is the theme this year with participants keeping track of their activities on the Beanstack app. Virtual programming as a part of the summer reading program will begin on June 14th.

 

 

Jet skier rescued on Plum Island

The quick thinking of a jet skier near Plum Island may have kept Saturday’s water rescue from having a different ending. Washington Island Fire Department, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources responded to a distress call just before 1 p.m. on Saturday. A jet skier noticed their equipment was struggling and made it to Plum Island before it ultimately failed. The DNR and the Coast Guard were able to rescue the jet skier, but Washington Island Assistant Fire Chief Robb Carr says the jet skier made a good decision to head to land.

Carr encourages people to make sure they are dressed appropriately when out on the water. In addition to having a life jacket, he says you should also have a wet suit on because water temperatures are below 50 degrees.

 

Picture from Robert Carr, Island Homes LLC

Algoma graduates walk into the future

Algoma High School’s graduates were able to say goodbye one final time during Sunday’s graduation ceremony. The class’ 39 students filed in the Fulwiler Fieldhouse to celebrate their achievements despite what the pandemic threw at them their final year and a half as Wolves. Superintendent Nick Cochart congratulated the Class of 2021 for paving the way for several successful programs that will leave a mark on the district. Salutatorian Hannah Lee’s comments during the ceremony one were one of gratitude.

Valedictorian Payton Panger reflected on the things that went awry, but ultimately ended right in the end.

Earlier this month,  Jennifer Farley, Arissa Kirchman, Megan Moede, Emilie Miller, Haleigh Pavlat, and Melissa Srnka were honored with their senior cords from Algoma High School’s National Honor Society.

 

Screenshot from Algoma's graduation live stream, which you can watch here

Hunters able to survey results

Wisconsinites can scout different statistics from 2020 to give them a feel for the ecosystem in their area. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources released the results from a variety of 2020 wildlife surveys. DNR Wildlife Biologist Joshua Martinez, who serves Door, Kewaunee, and Brown County, says the COVID19 pandemic impeded their spring survey work which largely revolves around small game. They were able to get much more survey work done in the fall which was mostly large game and furbearer species. This is due to those species being registered often over the phone or in person, as a lot of survey information came from registrations. Martinez says during all seasons they use volunteer data from hunters and landowners to gauge the outdoor landscape. 

 

 

He points to easy ways for the public to be involved with programs like Operation Deer Watch which goes from August to September, Snapshot Wisconsin, and reporting rare animal sightings. Operation Deer Watch and Snapshot Wisconsin information can be found on the DNR website. 

 

Liberty Grove's Mariners Park slowly moving forward

The Town of Liberty Grove will be looking to remove some structures on the Mariners Park property after dealing with shoreline erosion brought on by high lake levels.   John Lowry, chair of Supervisors for Liberty Grove, says the past high water levels at Mariners Park required the investment of riprap.  He says the three buildings on the site still need to be removed because they are not a part of the preliminary planning stages of the Ad Hoc Committee's plan.

 

 

Lowry notes that North Bay Road needed $40,000 worth of shoreline protection in Gills Rock as well.  Contingency funds are used for taking care of non-budgeted issues like shoreline erosion.  The Mariners Park property, which is located along Gills Rock lakeshore, was purchased by the Town of Liberty Grove back in 2018.  The Ad Hoc Committee rejected a proposed plan late last year.  Town officials cited the pandemic's impact and the cost of adding shoreline protection as reasons to delay the Mariner Park development. 

 

(Photo courtesy of Steve Eatough)

Smooth operation improves state trail

Silent sports admirers will have a clearer path along one of the area's premier trails. The Friends of the Ahnapee State Trail partnered with the Kewaunee County Promotions and Recreation Department to resurface a portion of the forty-eight-mile path, on the Kewaunee County side. The many purposes of the multi-use trail along with high water levels and flooding caused a need to resurface a mile-long stretch of the trail. Friends of the Ahnapee State Trail President Melissa Rupke describes this as usual business. 

 

 

The group has also worked with Kewaunee County to replace bridge sections along the trail that had deteriorated. They are excited for the repairs to be done well before their October Gravel and Grog Gravel Grinder race. 

 

Repairs at Pilot Island taking off this Summer

The Friends of Plum and Pilot Island are eyeing a busy summer that involves making their way to the south end of Death’s Door. The Pilot Island light will be receiving a makeover in the form of a new metal roof, downspouts, and even new gutters. These repairs will be done once the organization is finished with its planned work at the Plum Island Light. FOPPI board member Paul Schumacher says this is just the beginning for the next two years. 

 

 

Schumacher says the biggest hurdle in accomplishing tasks last year was the noticeable decrease in volunteer turnout. He looks forward to more people being able to pitch in this summer.

 

(Photo via Travel Wisconsin)

 

Outdoor activity boost carrying over

The Door County Land Trust is looking to carry momentum from last year when they were a beneficiary of 2020’s uptick in outdoor interests. Director of Charitable Giving Cinnamon Rossman says that based on observations like full parking lots, 2020 brought a busier year to the Land Trust than ever before. Just in that brief time, they did notice several effects. 

 

 

Rossman also says that based on a number of indicators, they are in preparation for a busy 2021. She has even noticed that people have frequented their website looking for places to hike. This takes preparing on the Land Trusts’ end. 

 

 

With more people visiting does come more reminders to explore ethically. Along with keeping noise levels down, visitors are expected to leave a light footprint with minimal signs of human activity. This year, the Land Trust is celebrating their 35th anniversary.

 

(Photo by Dave Heilman)

Door County archive projects get extra look

Historians in Door County are now afforded the option to make sure their stories don’t go away long after they do. Recently, Recollection Wisconsin performed a portion of their case study analyzing digital heritage projects at the Door County Historical Museum and Door County Library recently. This entire case study observes digital heritage projects around the state. The project observed at the Door County Historical Museum was their Door County Speaks program which was reintroduced in early May. The project was initially introduced in March but had to be put on hold when the pandemic began. 

 

The initiative is for individuals or local heritage organizations to start oral history or storytelling projects. Two years ago the museum was afforded a grant to help acquire the audio equipment, and Museum and Archives Manager Steven Rice is happy that this will help area residents revive memories. 

 

 

Rice adds that they have received a lot of enthusiasm from the historical community. Recollection Wisconsin also observed the digital newspaper archives program at the Door County Library. Adult Services Librarian Laura Kayacan was able to show off the strides they’ve made since 2010. While the library has gained plenty of archives, Kayacan wants to hear many area stories she hasn’t yet heard.

 

 

The library will be using the near future to make sure files are cleanly stored. 

 

EMS Week offers chance for reflection; look ahead

After spending the last year finding different ways to help the county, it was Door County Emergency Medical Services turn this week to be supported by the people they serve. Door County EMS took in National EMS Week over the last seven days. In a typical year, Door County EMS would hold a celebration with all of their personnel. They didn’t do that this week, but Door County Emergency Services Director Aaron LeClair still found the chance to let people know who they are and what they do. He also knows the COVID19 pandemic is unlike anything they ever saw, but LeClair is proud of area personnel for their selfless risk to keep people safe. He applauded that they never hesitated in adjusting how they operate based on protocols that at times changed rapidly. 

 

LeClair also appreciates that EMS took on the stress of having to keep mitigation measures in mind, even when responding to an emergency call. They were called on to help their community in ways unprecedented this last year, but LeClair notes the support was reciprocated, even before the pandemic. He reflects on their help with the vaccine rollout, saying how it reflects on Door County.

 

 

LeClair says he and the rest of the EMS crew in Door County look forward to getting back out in the community. 

 

Governor gives go-ahead to Highway construction

Governor Tony Evers approved a project this week worth nearly $150 million that will have a major travel impact on Kewaunee County this summer. Major repairs will begin on June 1st, resurfacing and replacing two box culverts along State Highway 42 south of Kewaunee’s city limits. There will be hard closures and a detour route around the highway from Baumeister Drive in Kewaunee to the Manitowoc County Line until September. The only people who will be permitted to drive on this stretch are those who must get to a home, property, or business in the area. All thru traffic will have to detour. 

 

Detour routes around the construction will be northbound from County Highway BB west to County Highway AB north to Interstate 29 east and back onto Highway 42. The other route will be southbound from Interstate 29 west to County Highway AB south to County Highway BB east and onto Highway 42. Prior to construction staking and utility work will take place to prep for the project. Even in those hours Department of Transportation official, Mark Kantola says the situation will require extra attention from drivers.

 

 

The road is expected to reopen by September and the project in its entirety is expected to be finished by mid-October. Information on the project along with detour routes can be found at 511wi.gov

 

Lights on at Tower Christening

Joyous emotions overcame a gathering at the Door County Maritime Museum celebrating years of hard work and funding. A crowd enjoyed a beautiful day for an outdoor ceremony christening the Jim Kress Maritime Lighthouse Tower in Sturgeon Bay. The ten story tower features the Baumgartner Observation Deck which offers views of the entire waterfront overlooking the waters from Green Bay to the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal. 

 

A list of speakers shared thoughts and gratitude, and Board of Directors President Terry Konnelly shared that the 118 feet high structure is the tallest building in Door County and the fifth tallest in northeast Wisconsin. Over four-hundred donors contributed funds up to $5.8 million to the construction capital campaign. The most notable donation was from the George F. Kress Foundation, which was a $1 million dollar gift. A $250,000 investment grant was also awarded to the campaign. 

 

Will Kress, the son of the tower’s namesake Jim Kress, spoke to the crowd and reflected on his decision years ago to begin donating to the museum after receiving a postcard asking for donors. He then spoke of his decision to have the foundation pledge seven figures. 

 

 

The day ended with the historic John Purves tugboat and other vessels in the area participating in the Master’s Salute, commemorating National Maritime Day. The day also represented four years to the day that the board and museum went public with the campaign to build a lighthouse tower in Sturgeon Bay. 

 

Mind changing stress reducers

Sturgeon Bay Psychologist Dr. Dennis White says stress management can be controlled by challenging your thinking. He says that we are consistently talking to ourselves in our heads. Our thoughts can be a mixture of rational and irrational ones.

 

 

Dr. White recommends challenging your thoughts when they may not be reasonable, thus lowering the heat and reducing emotional pressures. Choosing safer options when making decisions can help limit risks that can jeopardize your wellbeing. You can listen to Dr. White’s entire Mental Health Minute on stress reduction below.

 

 

Businesses get tech ready for season

Not all of the improvements you see at Door County area businesses this season are easy to see, but they might be easy to notice. Quantum PC’s Nathan Drager and Erin Helgeson say many businesses held off on upgrades to their Wi-Fi and phone systems last year due to the pandemic, but quickly saw them get overworked as visitors began to come in droves during the later parts of summer. The growth in Wi-Fi has become even more important as guests are able to extend their vacations by being able to work remotely. Drager says they have worked with businesses to improve their extended range capabilities and capacity loads to make sure the Wi-Fi experience is good for everyone.

Drager says businesses have also invested in new Voice over IP (VoIP) phone systems and video conferencing options for people that need to work remotely.  He also recommends businesses take an extra look at their security systems and computer hardware to make sure they are ready for the influx of people.

 

Listen to our full discussion here

Boat parade returns for Sturgeon Bay seniors

A possible new graduation tradition that never started last year will return in 2021 for Sturgeon Bay High School seniors. Approximately half of the 91 graduates will board boats at Madelyn Marina for a cruise across the bay following their in-person ceremony on May 29th. The boat regatta was supposed to occur last year for the Class of 2020 as an alternative to a traditional graduation ceremony canceled because of the pandemic. Social distancing concerns for people watching from the bay’s shorelines forced the district to reconsider those plans, opting instead for a drive-through ceremony. Seniors from this year’s graduation class approached Sturgeon Bay principal Bob Nickel about resurrecting the plans. Nickel says he feels for the kids that lost out on a lot of memories because of the pandemic. No dances took place and alternate senior night plans are already in place. He is proud of how the senior class has handled all of the restrictions this school year has thrown at them.

An invitation-only graduation ceremony will take place inside the school at 10 a.m. on May 29th before the regatta takes place at approximately 11:15 a.m.  Abram Abeyta and Madelyn Allen are valedictorians and Miranda Olson will be honored as the salutatorian. Nickel thanked Matthew Propsom for his help in organizing the regatta for the class of 2021. He put in the work in 2020 to provide a lasting memory for those seniors, including his own daughter. As for future post-graduation boat parades, Nickel will leave that decision to the new principal. 

Digging history at the Hanson House

Cultures were mixed at the Hanson House on Friday as part of a three-day event. On Friday, Crossroads at Big Creek combined with the Door County Historical Society to offer historical education along with their Spring Archaeology Experience. The events are offered on Monday and Tuesday next week as well at the Hanson Norwegian Homestead in Sturgeon Bay. This year Crossroads added Experimental Archaeology, which is an academic field where researchers create replicas of tools and weapons in order to figure out how they work. Friday’s example included exhibits showing old-fashioned tools, including a spear called an atlatl. Though the educational opportunity is typically for students, Crossroads Program Director Coggin Heeringa was happy to put on the program for everybody. 

 

 

The experience also involved a tour of a house replicating the home of the first European settlers in the area. 

 

Door County welcomes walk-ins

With vaccine supply growing and over half of the county vaccinated, Door County is adjusting the way they roll out the shots. Door County Public Health announced on Friday that they will be offering the Pfizer COVID19 vaccine to anyone aged twelve or older with or without an appointment. Johnson and Johnson vaccine will also be available regardless of appointment for those eighteen and older. 

 

In Kewaunee County’s weekly COVID19 report they saw one hospitalization out of just four positive tests. There were no new deaths in Kewaunee County. In Door County’s Friday COVID19 report, there were no new positive cases out of eleven tests administered. There were no new hospitalizations or deaths. 

 

In Door County, 62.3% of residents have received at least one vaccine dose and 57.2% have completed the series. In Kewaunee County, 38.7% have received a dose of the vaccine and 36% have been fully vaccinated. Wisconsin vaccinated 104,000 individuals over the week.

 

County Park receiving extra care

People wanting to spend their Monday at Chaudoir’s Dock County Park will have to do so around workers who are moving on summer projects. The park’s boat launch will close at dusk on Sunday. That is when the Facilities and Parks Department will begin line striping on the launch parking lot that was resurfaced earlier this month. With projects being done at the boat launch, Door County Parks Manager Burke Pinney expresses the importance of staying out of the way of workers.

 

 

Weather pending, the launch is expected to reopen at noon on Monday, though the weather could have the final say on when the work is actually done.

 

Sheriff's Department trying to pinpoint theft search

The Kewaunee County Sheriff's Department made headway in locating a suspect behind recent thefts in the area and is welcoming public assistance in continuing progress. The department recently opened an investigation into numerous thefts of catalytic converters from vehicles in Kewaunee County. Recent calls have offered a description of a light-colored pickup as the possible suspect’s vehicle. 

 

Sheriff Matt Joski says they are receiving calls regarding the thefts at any time of the day or night. As far as location, they are getting reports primarily out of northern Kewaunee County. He says people should call the sheriff’s office immediately if they see something suspicious, and physically remain at a distance rather than approach the situation. 

 

 

He adds that it is especially helpful if people are able to gather a license plate number on the suspicious vehicle. The vehicle description and photo from the Sheriff’s office are placed below. 

 

 

Quarry group ready for next battle

Months after declaring victory over a proposed recreational vehicle park, residents near the former Leatham Smith quarry near Pinney County Park are preparing for their next fight. Earlier this month, the Margaret Dreutzer Trust and developer Tom Goelz filed a preliminary conceptual plan for a subdivision with Door County Land Use Services. Located off of Bay Shore Drive, the Quarry Bluff subdivision would consist of 43 lots ranging from less to half an acre to close to three acres. While the development is not as condensed as the planned RV village, members of the Bay Shore Property Owners Association have many of the same concerns as they did before because of its location within the Niagara Escarpment. Homeowner Brenda Lange says the issues they had before are left unresolved.

Lange urges residents to voice their concerns ahead of time as no public hearing will be held to discuss the preliminary conceptual plan prior to the Door County Resource Planning Committee on June 3rd.  Plans for an RV Village were denied by the Door County Resource Planning Committee and other local bodies of government last year. Since the developers withdrew their appeal, the Bay Shore Property Owners Association engaged in talks with the trust that owns the land in hopes of protecting the parcel from development, but Lange says they went nowhere.

More farmers planting into green

Many farmers in Door and Kewaunee counties are trying something new when it comes to planting crops like corn this spring. Peninsula Pride Farms members like Algoma’s Ebert Enterprises, Casco’s Kinnard Farms, and Sturgeon Bay’s Jerseyland Dairy are planting their corn and soybeans into established cover crops. Plants like winter rye and turnips helped the fields hold the soil in place to prevent erosion. As it dies off, the cover crops can help retain moisture for growing plants and improve the soil’s overall health.

 

 

 

Aaron Augustian’s farm in Kewaunee now uses cover crops on 95 percent of the fields they operate and the benefits go beyond the earthworm activity he has noticed in recent years. He says they are saving time and money as well.

An AgWeb survey shows that 53 percent of farmers are planting into green cover crops with 21 percent doing so on more than 80 percent of their land.  Augustian Farms are showing off their no-till planting into cover crops at Peninsula Pride Farms’ next Conservation Conversation on Tuesday at 5 p.m.

 

Screen shot from this video from Kinnard Farms

 

 

 

Potawatomi Tower repairs get state's ok

In the same week Eagle Tower reopened to the public, another state park-based observation tower learned it will get to have a similar fate.

 

Department of Natural Resources officials have confirmed they are committed to saving the 90-year-old Potawatomi Tower after initially saying it would be demolished according to E-Update from State Rep. Joel Kitchens. He was joined by State Senator Andre Jacque for a conference call where they were advised to speak with the state Department of Administration to determine the next steps to rehabilitate the structure and to make sure it is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The key to the DNR’s change of heart was securing an engineer last month that was licensed in the state of Wisconsin and could present plans to repair the tower.

 

It is good news for the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society, which has been fighting to keep the Potawatomi Tower standing ever since the DNR closed it in 2017 due to safety concerns. The organization hired timber experts and research firms to help study. SBHS President Christie Weber is happy it was money well spent.

With help from matching funds from the Tingley Foundation, the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society spent approximately $28,000 for the studies needed to see if saving the tower was feasible. Governor Tony Evers set aside $5 million for renovations at Potawatomi State Park during an event earlier this week. Potawatomi Tower was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in February after being added to Wisconsin’s registry in November 2020.

Students "Working" towards musical premiere

Kewaunee High School will be premiering their high school musical, Working, this weekend. Director Tom Berger says there were some struggles with putting this musical together. The cast started preparing the musical later than they had initially planned, and in the first week, Berger had to do character work with the cast over zoom instead of in person. Luckily some positives have come out of the preparations this year. Berger explains that the cast took to the show, and they all worked very hard to get it ready for opening weekend, even with their shortened schedule. Instead of having a live performance, KHS will be streaming three live shows this weekend.

 

 

The link to order tickets is https://www.showtix4u.com/event-details/53488 . Berger adds how important it is to support local artists during the pandemic through theatre and music programs, nonprofits, and community theatre.

 

 

 

Open Door Bird Sanctuary fitting to scale

The Open Door Bird Sanctuary is looking to tip the scale on Saturday with the health of its eagles on its mind. The sanctuary will be inviting people to donate to their cause by dropping their spare change into a bucket on top of a scale, with a goal of reaching twenty pounds. Currently, the sanctuary doesn’t have a scale large enough or one with a perch for an eagle. The eagles weigh a combined twenty pounds based on estimations since the last time they were reliably measured was before the sanctuary acquired them. The twenty-pound goal symbolizes the eagles' weight, which sanctuary Executive Director Rob Hultz believes will get them there. He also says the scale will be beneficial to the eagles’ health.

 

 

The fundraiser will start at The Spoon in Sturgeon Bay at 11:00 AM on Saturday, May 22nd and some of the resident raptors will be present. ODBS will have a series of events in the near future, including their first Raptor Ramble on June 3rd. 

Door County with positive pair

In Thursday’s COVID19 report, Door County administered seventeen COVID19 tests and just two of them were positive. There were no new hospitalizations or deaths. The state of Wisconsin saw two deaths overall on Thursday. Door County is up to 61.9% of residents with at least one vaccine dose, and 57% of residents are fully vaccinated. In Kewaunee County, 38.5% of residents have at least one vaccine dose and 35.8% are fully vaccinated. 

 

Door County welcomes Packers fans

With the anticipation of over 80,000 fans filling Lambeau Field this fall, it’s expected that some will be coming to the game from their Door County vacation hub. Destination Sturgeon Bay Executive Director, Pam Seiler, noted that whatever travelers Door County missed by the Packers not allowing fan attendance in 2020, they made up for with outdoor recreation visitors. 

 

 

Seiler also urges fans who want to double-dip their vacation into Door County and Lambeau Field to make lodging reservations immediately. She adds that people are booking hotel rooms fast for this fall as the demand for travel is very high. 

 

Destination Door County Communications Director Jon Jarosh says that while they don’t numerically track how Packer games affect Door County, there is anecdotal evidence to show that Sundays had a different feel in 2020. One change he highlights from fall Sundays in 2020 was the traffic headed out of Door County.  Last year, there weren't cars full of passengers in green and gold making their way south. He says DDC will field calls as the season approaches from fans coming for the game but also wanting to see what Door County is about. Jarosh thinks that Door County will see a boost beyond economics related to a returning game-day atmosphere. 

 

 

Green Bay will begin holding pre-season games in August. 

 

Maiden voyage for S.S. Badger's new owner

The S.S. Badger is proving on Thursday that there can be a first time for everything, even for federal landmarks. The coal-fired car ferry will dock in Manitowoc Thursday afternoon for the first time as a part of Interlake Holding Company of Ohio since it was sold in December by the Pere Marquette Shipping Company. The S.S. Badger, which was declared a National Historic Landmark in 2016, was sold to Interlake Holding Company along with two other vessels. The S.S. Badger was built in Sturgeon Bay nearly 70 years ago and used Kewaunee as a port city until 1980. Though its return trip to Ludington, Michigan will be delayed a little bit due to a Thursday afternoon celebration in Manitowoc, the S.S. Badger makes the four-hour trip between the two ports every day from May until October.

Work search requirement reinstated

You will have to work a little harder to keep collecting unemployment in the state of Wisconsin.

 

The Wisconsin Legislature’s Administrative Rules Committee voted 6-4 on Wednesday to reinstate a rule requiring people collecting unemployment checks to prove they are looking for work. That includes at least four job search activities a week beginning on Sunday. According to WLUK in Green Bay, that means filling out a resume on the Job Center of Wisconsin’s website and show proof they are applying to at least four jobs a week. Governor Tony Evers waived the rule at the onset of the pandemic due to many businesses closing up due to Safer at Home Order rules. Now many of those businesses are opening back up, but in a limited fashion in some cases due to a lack of employees.

 

State Rep. Joel Kitchens expressed the importance of people getting back to work when he talked to DoorCountyDailyNews.com last week.

Over 30 states reinstituted job search requirements for people collecting unemployment. Republican lawmakers are also looking for Wisconsin to join other states like nearby Indiana and Iowa to end the $300 per week stimulus for unemployed people. Proponents of the bill say the extra boost is hindering incentivizing people to stay home rather than looking for a job. Opponents say more attention should be paid to other ideas that could bring people back to the workforce like increasing the minimum wage and improving access to health care.

Liberty Grove vacancy? Better call Paul

When the town has a spot to fill on its board or in a committee, there is a good chance Paul Schwengel will be included in the conversation. The Town of Liberty Grove voted unanimously on Wednesday to install Schwengel as an interim supervisor after Lou Covostos resigned earlier this month. Schwengel is currently serving on the town’s plan commission and finance committee, but he has frequently served the board and on other committees on an interim basis in the past. Town chairperson John Lowry says Schwengel is a huge asset for Liberty Grove in these types of situations because of his familiarity with local government.

Schwengel will serve on the board until the term is up in April. The Town of Liberty Grove Board will have a big decision coming up at its next meeting when it weighs in on its own short-term rental ordinance. Lowry says the plan commission has forwarded a draft of the ordinance to the attorneys for the town and the Wisconsin Towns Association to review before it is voted on next month. He adds that one of the ordinance’s more controversial elements involving a minimum six-day stay for rentals has been removed.

 

Picture courtesy of LinkedIn

County to state: Stay out of wildlife damage program

Kewaunee County became the latest county this week to oppose changes to the state’s Wildlife Damage Abatement and Claims Program.

 

The bipartisan Senate Bill 63 and Assembly Bill call for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and not the individual county Land Conservation Committees to administer the program. Currently, landowners with crops damaged by wildlife have to appeal to the Land Conservation Committee to be reimbursed. The bill would force landowners to take their case to Madison. The resolution passed the Kewaunee County Land and Water Conservation Committee unanimously earlier this month before doing the same in front of the Kewaunee County Board on Tuesday.

 

Land and Water Conservation Committee Chairperson Chuck Wagner feels the program should stay in the county’s hands.

In 2018, two claims of damage from deer and turkeys accounted for over $9,000 in damage. During Tuesday’s meeting, the Kewaunee County Board also approved resolutions authorizing applications for grants covering projects at the Ahnapee Trail and the Riverview ATV Park.

 

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

YMCA interprets mask guidance

The Door County YMCA will continue to operate within Center for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines when observing COVID19 mitigation measures, as they have this last year. With a recent announcement from the CDC stating fully vaccinated individuals don’t need to wear face coverings, the YMCA updated their mask policy. At the Door County and Northern Door YMCA, fully vaccinated individuals will not have to wear a mask in the facility. For unvaccinated patrons, they will be highly encouraged to wear one. Director of Financial Development and Membership at the Door County YMCA, Tonya Felhofer, says judging by observations at the facility, there are a lot of vaccinated individuals in the community. She points out that the new regulations have breathed life into the building. 

 

 

While the YMCA cannot make people prove their vaccination status, they expect members and visitors to follow suit with their values of respect and honesty, and follow rules accordingly. 

 

Blossoms tell the story

Wood Orchard owner Steve Wood is encouraged by the sight of pink and white flowers on his trees throughout the county. Now is the time many cherry trees are in full bloom with blossoms with apple trees close on their tail. While motorists can enjoy the blossoms from the road, orchard owners like Wood can get a peek at how good the crop can be by taking a closer look at the flowers.

Despite battling a cold snap in April, Wood says the big, full blossoms are a good thing.

The cherry blossoms may stick around for the next week or two before they eventually fall off before the trees bear fruit in July.

 

 

Door County reports COVID-related death, additional cases

The positive momentum in Door County’s fight against COVID-19 stalled on Wednesday with the report of its 23rd death and one of just five reported in the state.

 

It was the first COVID-related death in Door County since April 13th. The state also readjusted Door County’s positive test toll to add another seven cases. That makes 2,620 positive tests since the beginning of the pandemic and 49 currently active cases.

 

The state reported 383 positive tests, 71 hospitalizations, and five deaths. Wisconsin did see its active cases drop 137 to 6,709. 

 

On the vaccine front, 164 doses have been administered in Door County and 88 in Kewaunee County. Just shy of 57 percent of people in Door County and approximately 35 percent in Kewaunee County are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

 

Door County 

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

 

Tests Performed: 17,872 (+27)
Positive: 2,620 (+7 State re-adjustment)
Probable: 221
Negative: 15,031 (+20)
Active: 49 (+7)
Total Ever Hospitalized: 93 
Death: 23 (+1) 
 

 

Wisconsin 

Tests Performed: 3,521,882 (+3,827)
Positive: 607,138 (+383)
Negative: 2,914,744 (+3,444)
Active: 6,709 (-137)
Deaths: 6,976 (+5)
Total Ever Hospitalized: 30,416 (+71)

 

Hybrid Hustle offers runners versatility

People looking to mesh scenery with exercise won’t have to look hard on June 19th, as Crossroads at Big Creek is putting together their Hybrid Hustle Trail Run. The event didn’t take place last year and this year offers a live or virtual running option. People can run the hustle virtually any time or place from June 17th thru 19th, or come to Crossroads on the morning of June 19th and choose a unique starting option. This year, to prevent overcrowding at the starting line, there will be staggered start times that run fifteen minutes apart. This is made possible by a brace that comes with a chip timer, so they can log when the start and finish line is crossed. As Gretchen Schmelzer is thrilled to be back directing the run, she describes the distinct excitement that comes with race day.  

 

 

She mentions there’s a balance between people racing competitively and people running leisurely. She adds that there’s something for everybody, regardless of age or running level. People will feel multiple terrains, running on gravel, grass, and pine surfaces. It’s not just the race that stays local, as awards from the trail run are made by local farmers and artists. Click here to listen to the full preview of the event with Schmelzer and Deb Whitelaw-Gorski.

 

Kewaunee attractions ready for close up

Kewaunee has hit milestones with various attractions but has not been able to formally introduce them in the last year. One exciting development is the use of funds from the Smith Charitable Foundation to construct a limestone path connecting the Tug Ludington tugboat and harbor to the pierhead. Smith Park also had four park benches recently installed for visitors. The tugboat, which is on the National Register for Historic Places, started tours again in May. That and the Historical Society will be opened at the same time lighthouse tours are given in June. Preservation Committee member Robin Nelson is excited people will have a chance to view all three. 

 

 

This year the Kewaunee Lighthouse Preservation Committee was invited to take part and show off the Kewaunee Pierhead Lighthouse in the Door County Lighthouse Festival. The Lighthouse Preservation also added handrails to the lighthouse and look forward to showing off their historic replica door that was installed in 2020, and cost $12,000.

 

Business looking for space buying city property

The Sturgeon Bay Common Council unanimously approved the sale of two vacant lots on Tuesday, creating opportunity for business growth. The council approved the sale of the old Bank Mutual property and a neighboring vacant lot to Door County Hardware. The purchase amount is $60,000, with a deferred $40,000 cost. Council member and Finance/Purchasing and Building Committee Chair Helen Bacon introduced a recommendation and motion explaining purchase stipulations. 

 

 

The criteria for the purchase is the same policy used in Industrial Park properties. Mayor David Ward noted the city’s willingness to sell property when it comes with mutual benefits, especially relating to job creation.

 

Warmer weather doesn't equal safer waters

Though days are getting warmer, people are still urged to keep more than just air temperature in mind when enjoying sports on the water. DNR Conservation Warden Chris Kratcha says there are waters that are still quite cold. He emphasizes that regardless of what the law states, people should wear their life jackets.

 

 

Kratcha stated that people could lose body heat twenty-five times faster in cold water and lose their dexterity. He adds that accidents happen quickly and people don’t often prepare for them, and having a lifejacket for the whole boat ride is superior to searching for a flotation device during an emergency.

 

Eagle Scout earns standing ovation at council meeting

The Sturgeon Bay Common Council recognized its first area Eagle Scout in several years at Tuesday night’s meeting. The council didn’t have to look far to find a presenter fit to award the honor. Ezra Linnan, a Freshman at Sevastopol, was presented with an eagle scout award by Planning and Zoning Administrator, Christopher Sullivan-Robinson, an eagle scout himself. Sullivan-Robinson also happened to be the last scout to be recognized by the council. Linnan’s acceptance of the award was met with a standing ovation from the common council. He also offered words of encouragement.

 

 

For his Eagle Scout project, Linnan raised funds totaling $3600 and constructed a 100-foot segment of footbridge at the Crossroads at Big Creek. Linnan has been a scout since July of 2017. He is the Senior Patrol Leader of Boy Scouts of America Troop 1022 Bay Lakes Council.

 

 

Algoma well-positioned for summer rebound

There is a list of events Algoma is excited to welcome back in 2021, and Algoma Area Chamber Director Ken Weinaug says they take up the majority of their recent phone calls. One premier event returning is Algoma’s Shanty Days, starting on August 13th. Weinaug points out that people have not wasted any time calling about lodging and booking their places to stay. With vendors also calling in, Weinaug estimates they’ve had over a hundred art and street fair vendors calling for the event. 

 

 

The city will also restart its Concerts in the Park series beginning on July 1st. The event that will take place each Thursday until mid-August features an artist with national television screen time. Headlining the series on July 8th is Raine Stern, who was on the hit show, The Voice, this year. Weinaug also encourages people to come to stay, and take advantage of their close proximity to tourist attractions.

 

State adjusts numbers; Door County positives down

Door County administered nineteen COVID19 tests on Tuesday, and the number of total positive cases receded. Tuesday’s COVID19 report from Door County Public Health shows that the state fixed the total number of positive tests, subtracting three and removing one probable positive test. There were no new hospitalizations or deaths in the county. 

 

Door County is at 61.3% of residents with at least a vaccine dose and 56.4% who are fully vaccinated. Kewaunee County is at 38.2% with one dose, and 35.4% are fully vaccinated. 

 

Land Trust branches out with giveaways

When conservation organizations decided to take part in the Climate Change Coalition’s county-wide Big Plant, the Door County Land Trust embarked on an alternative initiative. To avoid volunteers gathering in large numbers, the Land Trust gave away free trees and perennial plants for people to plant in their yards. 

 

Door County Land Trust Director of Charitable Giving, Cinnamon Rossman, says this is the first year they’ve given away trees, and they weren’t sure if people would even be interested. 

 

 

The Land Trust held giveaways on four straight weekends, in Sister Bay, Egg Harbor, Brussels, and Sturgeon Bay. Rossman estimates all items were gone within an hour and a half. The giveaway events concluded on Saturday, but are already in the plans for 2022. Rossman now anticipates next year they’ll have to order two to three times more trees, and may even need to take pre-orders.

 

Eagle Tower officially opens Wednesday

Visitors will be able to soar high above the trees at Peninsula State Park on Wednesday when Eagle Tower is officially reopened to the public. 

 

The reopening was delayed from its original April 30th date due to construction delays. It has been five years since Eagle Tower was dismantled due to safety concerns with the old structure and six years since people were able to gaze upon Horseshoe Island from above. Not only will the new structure have a staircase, but also a 850-foot long pathway so those with physical challenges could also make the climb over 200 feet in the air. Friends of Peninsula State Park President Chris Holicek is happy the moment is finally here.

Park Superintendent Eric Hyde expects big crowds to the structure when Peninsula State Park guests will be able to take the stairs or the ramp to the top. Visitors should be advised that due to COVID-19 protocols, the top viewing platform has a capacity limit of just over 20 people. Eagle Tower cost over $3.4 million to build with over $750,000 coming from donations to the Friends of Peninsula State Park.

 

 

Plaza proposed for West Waterfront

An improved Door County Granary and a proposed apartment complex on Sturgeon Bay’s West Waterfront could soon have another neighbor.  

 

WWP Development, LLC is proposing the Sturgeon Bay Plaza, an approximately 5,400 square foot building consisting of two stories and a rooftop patio. The structure would house a restaurant and a concessions/bar tenant on the first floor and an apartment and additional space for food and drinks on the second floor. The developer has experience building in Door County, completed work on the One Barrel Brewing Company Tap Room in 2019. Sturgeon Bay Community Development Director Marty Olejniczak admits city staff are still combing through the project as of Monday morning but says it seems to fit in with the rest of the activity going on in that area.

 

 

The project still has to go through meetings of the Finance and Purchasing Committee and the Plan Commission before going to the Sturgeon Bay Common Council for final approval. It will be discussed at the Sturgeon Bay Plan Commission Meeting on Wednesday at 6 p.m. Olejniczak added that the proposed apartment complex known as the Breakwater Residences could have its public hearing as soon as next month.

Liberty Grove to address town supervisor vacancy

The Town of Liberty Grove will address its town supervisor vacancy at its meeting on Wednesday.

 

Lou Covotsos submitted his resignation from his supervisory post ahead of the May 5th meeting. The resignation is effective May 31st.

 

After Paul Schwengel expressed his willingness to fill the seat, Supervisor Janet Johnson suggested advertising and interviewing for the vacancy to allow the Town Board to find someone who might run again next year. The discussion was tabled to Wednesday's meeting after Town Chairperson John Lowry’s motion to not advertise the opening was defeated 2-2. The Town of Liberty Grove Board meeting starts at 7 p.m.

County jail loses beds

The state’s smallest and oldest jail just got a little smaller.

 

The State Jail Inspector has notified the Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department that six of its beds are no longer suitable for housing inmates. That makes the Kewaunee County Jail a 16-bed authorized facility. At times, the jail has held as many as approximately 40 inmates at once and the department relies on neighboring counties to house people.

 

Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski added that the inspector has also ordered the analysis of the building’s other structural elements, many of which are approximately 50 years old. He says simply improving the current building and relying on other counties may not be sustainable.

 

 

The Kewaunee County Board established the Jail Strategy Committee earlier this year after it failed to pass a resolution giving the go-ahead to move on to the next phase of public safety facility planning. Joski says he appreciates the extra scrutiny and caution the board is taking following the nearly two years of work put in by the Public Safety Facility Planning Committee that is still continuing. You can read more of the jail planning update from Joski below.

 

FROM SHERIFF MATT JOSKI

This week I would like to provide an update regarding the Jail Facility planning process. As I have shared in the past, this has been a process that we initiated back in 2016 with an analysis of both our facility as well as our processes that guide our criminal justice system. The outcome of that analysis as well as the subsequent evaluations of our current facility was that our current jail is not only suffering from the effects of time, but the overall floor plan and layout pose significant security risks to those men and women who work there.

     

As we moved forward into our three-phase planning process over two years ago, we studied all options which again included considerations for the rehabilitation of our current facility. Due to the severe limitations of both the size as well as the configuration of our current facility, it was decided at that time that a new facility made the most sense both from a security perspective as well as an operational efficiency perspective. I feel it is important to note that these discussions took place over many months and were attended by members of the public, County Board members, our Jail Inspector as well as members of my staff.

     

While the decision to build a new facility is never an easy one, we all felt at that time that it provided the best option not only for our current needs but those of our next generation as well. With all of this information and data, we moved forward through phases one and two, continuing our discussions and soliciting input at every step of the way. It was unfortunate that upon the request to embark upon phase three which would have provided us with the essential details to streamline both costs and staffing, the project came to a screeching halt. So where are we now?

     

Although the current Public Safety Facility Planning Committee still exists, recently another committee (The Jail Strategy Committee) was created and convened for the purpose of reviewing options once again. While this additional re-visiting of the work we have done over the past six years caused me some level of frustration, I respect and appreciate the scrutiny and caution with which the County Board is proceeding. My goal always has been and continues to be the highest level of transparency and inclusion by not just our County Board but by our entire community, and  I will continue to provide as much feedback and relevant information as I can when requested by this new committee.

     

One of the options that is being considered once again, is the option of housing our overflow population in other counties. This is not a new concept as we have been doing this for decades, utilizing various facilities based on the length of sentences as well as costs per day. This option is not a substitute for our daily operations, nor does not take away from the reality of our current facility and its limitations and risks. It is also important to note that the utilization of another county’s facility is at the mercy of that county. If they find themselves in a situation where they need those beds for their community we will be served a prompt notice to remove our inmates from that facility. This is not an option for long-term operational planning.

      

As in the past, I welcome any and all questions and feedback on this project and want to once again extend an invitation to those who would like a tour of our current facility. We will also be sharing a recently conducted inspection by our State Jail Inspector which documents the various violations and corrective actions that need to be undertaken to continue to house inmates in our current facility. As a result of this most recent inspection, the State has ordered that six of our beds within the facility are not suitable for housing. Therefore we are no longer a 22 bed authorized facility but rather a 16 bed authorized facility. We will continue to work within the limitations of our current facility to adhere to the regulations and codes set forth by the state of Wisconsin to keep both our employees in a safe environment as well as those who are remanded to our care.

Strained child care system addressed

Two virtual meetings are planned in the next week to help bring stability and positive change to the child care challenges being faced in Door County.  The United Way of Door County is hosting an overview on Tuesday of Door County’s current child care system and community members’ thoughts on improving it.  That will be followed by a virtual town hall with local legislators on Tuesday, May 25 to discuss Door County’s child care needs.  Community Impact Coordinator Christina Studebaker says the goal is for elected officials to hear directly from people with stories on the child care challenges being faced in Door County.

 

 

 

Studebaker adds that Door County has put a lot of effort and attention into child care in the last 15 months and believes it’s well-positioned to bring stability to the issue and be a source for change.  Tuesday’s overview of Door County’s current child care system will be from 6:30-7:30 pm.  You can find more information on “The Future of Child Care in Door County: Share Your Thoughts with Elected Officials and United Way of Door County” here.

Waterfront Redevelopment Authority revisited

The City of Sturgeon Bay will be discussing a previous request to dissolve the Waterfront Redevelopment Authority at its Tuesday night meeting.  City Administrator Josh Van Lieshout says a prior council in 2018 had discussed the matter but a decision to end the WRA was not done due to contractual party agreements.

 

 

City Attorney James Kalny will be present Tuesday via zoom to explain the current status of transferring old WRA agreements to the City of Sturgeon Bay.   Van Lieshout adds that the Sturgeon Bay Common Council meeting will also include a closed session to consider the sale of city-owned lots on Egg Harbor Road which could lead to an expansion of a local business.  The meeting will take place in Council Chambers at City Hall at 6 pm on Tuesday.   

New cases down, one hospitalized in Door County

The signs continue to look better in Door County and in the state as the number of new COVID-19 cases dropped again on Monday.  The Wisconsin Department of Health Services disclosed 116 positive tests with 27 hospitalizations and four more deaths.  The positivity rate was under five percent with the number of positive tests the lowest in 13 months.   

 

Door County reported only two of 58 tests performed were confirmed positive on Monday.  Two other COVID-19 tests were deemed “probable” as the number of active cases remained at 49.  No deaths were reported and one additional person was hospitalized.

 

On the vaccination front, Door County has vaccinated 61.3 percent of its residents with at least one dose of the vaccine while 56.3 percent have completed the vaccine series.  In Kewaunee County, 38.1 percent of the people have received at least one dose of the vaccine, and 35.3 percent are fully vaccinated. 

 

Door County updates mask advisory

Door County Public Health issued a new advisory regarding face coverings on Monday.  According to the news release, fully vaccinated people can resume activities they did before the pandemic, including participating in all inside and outdoor activities without wearing a mask or social distancing.
Following the new CDC and Wisconsin Department of Health Services guidelines that say COVID-19 vaccines are effective in real-world settings in preventing mild and severe disease, hospitalization, and death.  Exceptions to the updated advisory include wearing a mask in health care settings, K-12 schools, correctional and detention facilities, homeless shelters, and public transportation.  Workplaces and businesses may also impose mask requirements.  You can read the Door County Public Health Advisory press release regarding face coverings here

Sturgeon Bay Schools plan groundbreaking event

The work has been going on for months, but Sturgeon Bay School District is still highlighting the projects drastically improving their facilities.

 

The projects were born out of the multi-million referendum passed by Sturgeon Bay voters in April 2020. A formal celebration of the improvements at Sawyer Elementary School, T.J. Walker Middle School, Sturgeon Bay High School, and Sunrise Elementary was held off until now due to the pandemic. Construction crews have been at Sawyer Elementary School since December as they build an addition that will house many of the students from the soon-to-be-closed Sunset Elementary School. The other three buildings will see a number of improvements that will be completed over the next two summers. Sturgeon Bay School District Superintendent Dan Tjernagel is excited about the progress that has already been made.

Tjernagel added that details are still being worked on for a housing development on the site of Sunset Elementary School. The district will hold its delayed groundbreaking celebration on Wednesday at 6 p.m. inside the high school entrance with in-person and virtual participation options available.

 

 

 

 

Renewing the call ahead of kids vaccine clinics

Medical professionals at Door County Medical Center are sending out their clarion call for everyone who can get vaccinated to do so as the groups eligible for the COVID-19 shots continue to expand. Last week, the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine was approved for use for youth between the age of 12 and 15.

 

As a result, more than 3,000 kids were vaccinated last week as the total number of doses administered in the state reached more than five million. Wisconsin Public Radio reported on Monday that clinical trials for those five and under are now underway. The Kaiser Family Foundation survey shows that fewer than a third of parents say they plan on getting their kids vaccinated for COVID-19 as soon as they are able with almost another third taking a wait-and-see approach. In a statement signed by many of the physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician’s assistants, they encouraged families to get vaccinated while also covering questions about mRNA vaccines.

 

Door County Medical Center Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jim Heise says it is not a coincidence that infection rates have been on the decline since more people received their vaccination or are recovering from a bout with the virus.

 

 

Heise adds the more kids that can get vaccinated, the more “normal” next school year could be for students when it comes to no masking and having some of their canceled activities return. Door County Medical Center is hosting a vaccine clinic for those 16 and under in its pediatric department on May 19th and 20th from 3 to 6 p.m. You can listen to our full conversation with Dr. Heise on our Podcasts page.

 

PRESS RELEASE FROM DOOR COUNTY MEDICAL CENTER

A Clarion Call for Vaccination

 

As physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants at Door County Medical Center, we feel privileged to be able to care for our community. In Door County, this means we’re caring for our friends, families and neighbors. We are humbled by this, and take our jobs very seriously. It is because of this that we urge all who have not received the COVID-19 vaccine to get it as soon as you can. Every physician, nurse practitioner, and physician’s assistant at DCMC have received the COVID-19 vaccine.

 

While our country and our county have been doing well with the vaccination program, we can do better. We must do better.  There was a time when we could not meet the demand for the vaccine.  Now, we have more vaccine than people requesting it.  While hesitancy is certainly understandable, we live in unprecedented times.  We feel that the risk of taking the vaccine is far less than the risk of declining.  By taking the vaccine, we not only protect ourselves but also our family and our coworkers and our neighbors.  Mass vaccination is the only way we are going to get out of the pandemic and beat COVID.  It will help people get back to work and the economy get back on track.

 

We hope the following explanation of how the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines work may influence the hesitant to choose vaccination.

 

The technology for the creation of the mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) has been in the works for more than 10 years in the setting of HIV and cancer research.  To date more than 200 million Americans have received at least one vaccine.  While some people may develop flu-like symptoms for a day or two, others have little reaction at all. Only 30% of vaccine recipients will have these symptoms. The symptoms are not “side effects.” They represent the body “revving up” it’s immune system to be ready for COVID.

 

But what about this mRNA business? What is it? Can it affect our genetic code? These questions weigh heavily on many. Let’s harken back to our high school biology class. DNA is the template for life.  Our 46 chromosomes (23 pairs) make us who we are.  DNA encodes messenger RNA to bring the keys of life to a part of the cells called ribosomes.  Messenger RNA enters the ribosomes and codes for a protein that looks like the spike protein on the coronavirus.   Messenger RNA is an unstable molecule and after it codes for the protein, it falls apart in the muscle cell and the pieces of the messenger RNA are recycled by the muscle cells.  There is no tampering with the DNA, because the mRNA has no way to get into the cell’s nucleus (the only place where DNA is located).  The vaccine induces the muscle cells to produce the Coronavirus protein that then enters the person’s circulation.  The person’s immune system then recognizes that these proteins do not belong, and the immune system creates antibodies to the protein.  So when the immune system "sees" the Coronavirus (COVID-19) with their spike proteins in the circulation the antibodies attack and destroy the Coronavirus.  Thus far, the mRNA vaccines have been proven to be effective and safe with over 200 million doses given.

 

Having as many people as possible vaccinated will reduce the spread of the Coronavirus and thereby reduce the chance of a mutation to a more contagious strain.  Mass vaccination can help prevent mutations that could change the spike proteins that the current vaccines target.  We need to continue to vaccinate in order to move faster than the Coronavirus can mutate. The longer we wait, the more mutations will develop, and the longer the pandemic will stretch on.

All of us urge you to receive the vaccination now.  It is the only road through to the end.

 

In Good Health,

 

Richard Hogan, MD                                                         Marc Binard, MD

Francis McCormack, MD                                                James F. Heise, MD, MBA

Holly Ullman-Herlache, APNP                                        Ronald Kodras, MD

Mollie Petersen, PA-C                                                     Martin Finck, MD

Heidi Derbick, APNP                                                        Kurtis Scheer, MD

Holly Swain, PA-C                                                            Robyn Weilbaker, APNP

Andrzej Kurek, MD                                                          James Kambol, MD

Amy Fogarty, MD                                                            Kelton Reitz, DO

Paula Hobart, APNP                                                        George Gorchynsky, MD

Chona Antonio, MD                                                        Tomasz Michalski, MD

Paul Board, MD                                                                Mark Fergus, APNP

Callie Krauel, LCSW                                                         Josh Rebhan, MD

Kristine Matysiak, PA-C                                                  Brian Matysiak, MD

Michael DeFrank, MD                                                     Ellen Knipfer, APNP

Sue Wercheck, APNP                                                      Mark Jordan, MD

Dorene Dempster, MD                                                    Chas Shutt, MD

Ruth Sohns, DNP                                                             Michael St. Jean, MD

Brian Kasalajtis, MD                                                        Rory Johnson, MD

Elizabeth Gaida, MD                                                        Susan Exworthy LCSW, CSAC

Allycia Bretl, LCSW, CSAC                                            Barb Johnson-Giese, LCSW, CSAC, ICS

Megan Norris, MD

 

Dinners rally local Republicans

Dozens of Republicans in Door and Kewaunee counties filled banquet halls on Sunday to celebrate their past dinner and look ahead towards the future.

 

U.S. Senator Ron Johnson, U.S. Representative Mike Gallagher, State Senator Andre Jacque, and State Assembly Rep. Joel Kitchens spoke at the Lincoln-Reagan Dinner events held in Sturgeon Bay and Luxemburg. The topics focused on efforts to restore election integrity in the state following the November election and took aim at policies passed by the Biden Administration and Congressional Democrats.

 

Door County Republican Party Chair Stephanie Soucek says she could feel the energy in the room from the over 150 attendees at their event.

 

 

Kewaunee County Republican Party Chairperson Ron Heuer is encouraged by the enthusiasm being shown at the events.

 

Heuer says their Lincoln-Reagan Dinner was one of its most attended since the year when former Governor Scott Walker was recalled while other similar events bested their previous records. Lincoln-Reagan Dinners are traditionally held by county Republican Party groups as an annual celebration and fundraiser.

 

 

 

The Democratic Party of Kewaunee County will hold its own summer event on June 13th.

Sturgeon Bay creatives win state championship

This week, Sturgeon Bay School’s Destination Imagination team was recognized for their April gold finish at the state affiliate tournament. The team placed first in a Wright Brothers themed category called, “In Theory.” The team’s entry was called “A Step in the Wright D.I.rection,” a hand-built mechanism conjoining science and history. 

 

DI’s Bay Lake Region Regional Director, Robyn Harper applauded the team for their efforts, as well as their determination. 

 

 

The team qualified for the global finals but opted not to go after the decision was made for the competition to go virtual. The team members recognized are Xavier Jandrin, Ethan Lemke, Brady Moe, Bryan Moe, and Zach Olson. 

 

Church to be outlet for electronics disposal

With options in the area having shrunk in the past several years for recycling electronics, Immanuel Lutheran Church in Bailey’s Harbor is continuing with their yearly solution on June 5th. The church will be hosting their major electronics and home appliance recycling event that they do yearly. Immanuel Lutheran Church member Frank Christenson says the event has become more necessary in recent years. 

 

 

Christenson adds pairing up with Door County Scrap Metal has allowed them to increase what they can take. Many of the items are free to recycle but small fees for some larger items and those containing freon will carry a small fee. All the money that is made will go to community programs the church helps with. Information can be found on their Facebook page.

 

Local book up for award

A local author and artist are seeing two years of work pay off as their book was named an Eric Hoffer Book Award Finalist. The book, Baby Bumbu, written by John Koski and illustrated by Ben Toyne, was nominated for the award in the Middle Reader category. Koski considers himself lucky to have landed Toyne as the illustrator, and felt like the marriage of the writing and illustrating was vital to being named a finalist. 

 

 

Koski didn’t find himself surprised to be a finalist, but did say he was delighted. Fewer than ten percent of nominations are selected as finalists. Koski jokes that the book is written by one of his two golden retrievers, who was given the name Baby Bumbu for the story. The book follows the journey of the retriever who is brought to a circus in France from Sturgeon Bay. The book targets a pre-teen audience, and Koski believes it accomplishes one of his main goals of challenging the reader. 

 

 

Koski anticipates that the winner of the award will be announced within the coming weeks. The book is available locally and online. 

 

Locally produced song benefiting African children

A Door County musician is helping disadvantaged youth with opportunities in music a half a world away.  Hans Christian, owner of Studio 330 in Sturgeon Bay, has worked with vocalist Holly Olm to produce a song called “YOU” that is a fundraising tool for the International Youth Music Project.  The program provides musical education for HIV-positive children in Africa.  Christian explains the impact that the project is providing for children and orphans in Kenya and Uganda.

 

 

Christian adds that the International Youth Music Project gives many disadvantaged children in Africa opportunities for self-expression through music, as well as educational opportunities in music production.   The project was founded by Nashville-based singer Aaron English.  Nearly $2000 has already been raised locally by Christian and Olm to date with a goal of $5,000.  You can find more information on the International Youth Music Project with this story here.

 

You can listen to the entire conversation with Hans Christian on the podcast page. 

 

DHS updates testing guidance

This Wisconsin Department of Health Services is piggy-backing off of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s unprecedented pandemic announcement this week. After the CDC announced that those fully vaccinated from COVID19 have a near green-light to return to pre-pandemic life, the DHS issued a change to their testing guidance. The department announced that people who are fully vaccinated can also refrain from testing, even after a known exposure, unless they are residents of a correctional or detention facility, or a homeless shelter. People are considered to be fully vaccinated once they are two weeks removed from their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or their first dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. 

 

$20,000 donated to non-profits

Area non-profits received just under a combined $20,000 from 100+ Women Who Care of Door County as a thanks for their contributions to the community. At their April meeting, the organization awarded $10,000 to the Women's Fund of Door County and $4900 to both Big Brothers Big Sisters of Door County and Good Samaritan Society - Scandia Village. 

 

The process starts with 100+ WWC members nominating a non-profit organization they are passionate about. Three organizations are then pulled out of a hat, and then asked to have a representative present for 100+ WWC members. The members will then vote on awards. 100+ WWC board member, Paula Latta was pleased with April’s selection, saying they represent the interests of Door County well. 

 

 

Latta also appreciated the diversity, as each non-profit works with different age cohorts. The top prize winner, Women’s Fund of Door County, will be using their award to contribute to their Invest-Dream-Achieve grant. The grant allows them to support women attending Northwest Wisconsin Technical College with financial and academic coaching. 

 

Since the organization’s inception in Door County in 2018, they have raised $196,700 for local non-profits. They anticipate they will reach $200,000 at their July meeting. Latta says it’s been exciting and makes her feel like she can make a big impact in Door County. 

 

Canadian duo takes Sturgeon Bay national tournament

In the Sturgeon Bay Open Bass tournament’s first year being recognized as a national tournament, it was an international team who took home the top prize. Chris and Cory Johnston were the only two Canadian entrants, hailing from Peterborough, Ontario. The tournament was missing their usual Canadian participants as they’re currently unable to cross the international border. The Johnstons however were deemed essential by their work status. They have now completed the trifecta with it being their third time winning the event. Cory Johnston describes coming to Door County as special.

 

 

The team weighed in with a total of 53 lbs and 4 oz over the weekend, and Chris Johnston says the success started up north. 

 

 

The top prize came to a $5000 cash payout and a new boat with $38995 value. Two Door County residents placed in the top twenty. Spenser Samplawski of Egg Harbor partnered with Kyle Steinfeldt of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and placed fifth. They were leading after day one and ended with a $3100 payout. Adam Rasmussen placed seventeenth with Sam Mcsharry of Fall Creek. Their prize amounted to $1075. The North American Bass Challenge will be back in Sturgeon Bay this Fall. Full results of the weekend tournament can be found here. 

 

(L to R: Kyle Steinfeldt, Spenser Samplawski)

 

Invasive species cut down at Crescent Beach

The Friends of Crescent Beach in Algoma took a step forward on Saturday with a project that has roots dating back to 2017. After native species like beachgrass had been taken out by invasive species at Crescent Beach, the organization fought back, forming a native beach restoration project. The project was originally funded by their parent organization, Lakeshore Natural Resource Partnership, in hopes of replacing invasive species with beachgrass. The effort’s objective is to mitigate pollution from stormwater and to prevent erosion. Friends of Crescent Beach member Cathy Pabich says they’ve begun planting flowering plants. 

 

 

The flowering plants will be helpful for pollinators that use the shoreline as a migration path. Pabich was especially excited about the increase of milkweed along the beach, which could lead to higher populations of monarchs at certain points of the year. Pabich credited professional advice they’ve got for the project, noting that they can be assured the plants are conducive to all the different animal species. Now that the grant money for the project has been used, the group has moved to fundraising efforts to continue the project. On top of improving the beach, Pabich aims for the organization to serve as a model for people with lakefront properties.

 

 

Safe Kayaking for the season

Although warmer air temperatures are hitting the area over the weekend, kayak enthusiasts are being warned to take extra precautions before heading to the open waters of Green Bay and Lake Michigan.  Door County Kayak Fishing Pro Bill Schultz shares some important safety tips before launching your kayak this spring.

 

 

Be aware of the weather forecast since winds can change fast in Door County making for dangerous conditions on the water for kayaks.  Shultz also suggests staying close to shore while letting someone know where you will be kayaking if you are going out solo.     

Domestic Violence leads to mental health issues

The trauma of abuse can lead victims into a dangerous spiral of mental depression, says Help of Door County Executive Director Milly Gonzales.  Struggles with mental health issues after someone has experienced abuse may require counseling or therapy to deal with the problem.  Gonzales says people who experience domestic violence can suffer many ill-effects that may not be visible.

 

 

May is National Mental Health Awareness Month.  Help of Door County’s mission is to eliminate domestic abuse through prevention and intervention services, and to advocate for social change.  You can find more information on support offered by Help of Door County by calling 920-743-8818 or going to www.helpofdoorcounty.org

Summer school "back to normal"

Some districts in Door and Kewaunee Counties are experiencing pre-pandemic levels of enrollment for this year’s summer school opportunities. The pandemic took kids out of the classroom in March 2020, taking away in-person summer school opportunities last year. The USA Today Network Wisconsin is reporting that school districts in more urban areas like Green Bay and Appleton are expecting a higher than usual turnout for their summer school to make up for lost time in the classroom. With few exceptions, students in Door and Kewaunee counties’ eight school districts were able to return their classrooms if they chose to do so. 

 

Aside from some credit recovery and work-ahead courses, Southern Door School District does not sponsor its own have summer school. Instead, opportunities like the National Camp Invention and the 21st Century Program are returning in 2021. Superintendent Patti Vickman is happy the extra time in the classroom is a want more than a need this summer even with a pandemic.

Kewaunee High School Principal Michael Bennett says similar to other years, their bigger focus will be on kids that need a little extra help earning the credits they need to earn their diploma.

One school district that will have to stay virtual with its summer school programming is Sturgeon Bay School District, though that is less about the pandemic and more about a busy summer of construction at many of its facilities.

Election law changes head to Governor's desk

Common Cause Wisconsin Executive Director Jay Heck does not believe a series of election reform bills passed earlier this week by the Wisconsin Legislature will be signed into law.

 

The bills address a number of issues that came to light during the 2020 election, including officials filling out missing information, ballot collection events, and non-family members returning absentee ballots. It follows the lead of other states like Georgia, Iowa, Texas, Florida, and Arizona that have also passed a number of election reform bills in the wake of last fall’s election.

 

Heck says the difference is those other states are completely controlled by Republicans while Wisconsin has to contend with Democrats in the top posts.

Proponents of the bills say it will ensure election integrity for years to come while opponents suggest the new rules would suppress voters that largely vote Democratic.

 

Heck says one of the next major showdowns between the legislature and the governor’s office is in regards to the drawing of the state’s voting maps later this fall. Both sides have indicated they will not accept the plans drawn up by the other, which Heck believes will throw the final decision into the hands of the courts.

Bass fishing tournament brings country-wide competition

After being in limbo for the last year and having to cancel the tournament, Sturgeon Bay Open Bass Tournament President Wendy Heim found it surreal to be able to hold the Open Bass Fishing Tournament this year. Heim was very happy with the turnout as people came from twenty-five states and 143 boats participated. Heim added there would be approximately fifteen or twenty more if fishers would have been able to cross the Canadian border to participate. She also said she was excited to see the familiar faces.

 

The tournament launched from Sawyer Park, which was a popular suggestion after the SBOBT’s abbreviated Fall tournament. With the tournament’s status unclear over the last year, Heim said she fielded a lot of questions from people asking if it would come back. As it came back this year, it was also recognized as a national tournament this year, meaning one boat could be sent to the U.S. Open. For top place winners in Sturgeon Bay, they have the chance to win cash prizes or even a new boat. The tournament ends on Saturday.

 

One thing that Heim didn’t overlook was the economic impact on the area which extends beyond just the tournament weekend. 

 

 

With the tournament planned a year in advance, the tournament board decided not to have their annual Kids Day but Heim says next year it will be back fully. 

 

Kewaunee County gets to 35% vaccination mark

Kewaunee County’s weekly COVID19 report shows they went through the week with just fifteen positive tests and no new hospitalizations or deaths. Door County’s daily COVID19 report on Friday showed just three of the fifteen people who tested returned positive test results. Door County also had no hospitalizations or deaths. 

 

Kewaunee County has made it to 35% residents fully vaccinated and 37.8% have at least one dose. In Door County, 60.9% of residents have at least one dose and 56.2% are fully vaccinated. Wisconsin vaccinated 101,000 residents this week. 

 

 

Vaccinations open to summer help

As Door County waits to find out just how big the influx of summer employees will be in the area, people won’t have to worry about their COVID19 vaccine eligibility. Door County Public Health has confirmed that seasonal employees, including summer Work Travel exchange visitors from around the globe can get vaccinated. This will serve as a relief to employees who have not been afforded the chance to get vaccinated in their home country. They are also able to make an appointment if they’re waiting for their second shot, as long as they don’t intermix the vaccine they receive. 

 

Destination Door County Membership Director Phil Berndt emphasizes that DDC wants employees vaccinated. Berndt cites vaccinations as a catalyst for getting Door County back to normal. 

 

 

Berndt adds that he’s hearing most students in Door County for the summer are vaccinated already. He also mentions that for people to come from other nations, they have to test negatively for COVID19. As of now some J-1 students have made their way to Door County, but with plenty of consulate offices around the world still closed, the end amount of J-1 students Door County will get remains uncertain.

 

Sturgeon Bay tweaks service

Friday marks the second month that Sturgeon Bay residents are able to get rid of their brush this year with the April through October service. This year the city moved away from a one time brush collection which was previously held during Spring. The brush collection will be continuing to run, along with the city’s large item collection, on the second Friday of each month. The other change that Sturgeon Bay Municipal Services Director Mike Barker notes is that people will have to pay a bit more for getting rid of brush and large items this year. Barker says the city isn’t increasing these prices to make a profit.  

 

 

The service is designed to allow residents chances to have brush, branches, and garden waste collected throughout the year. Barker says the services are helpful for those who may have a smaller vehicle or don’t have other means for disposing at the city’s compost site. Due to large items and brush items being taken to different facilities for disposal, residents will have to pay a separate $35 fee for each service if they choose to take part. The city will be unable to pick up leaves with the service, as those will be picked up during the fall leaf collection. Barker estimates that approximately 35-40 homes in Sturgeon Bay participate in the service which takes approximately half a day to complete. Information to sign up for the program can be found here. 

 

Stress continues to grow for farmers

They are good at caring for their animals and their land, but even some farmers admit they are not so good at making sure they are okay.

 

Webinars and pocket guides are just some of the ways UW-Extension is reaching out to farmers to make sure farm families take care of themselves mentally and emotionally as well as physically. The Wisconsin State Farmer reported last year that farmers were among the most likely to kill themselves compared to other occupations. Falling commodity prices, growing farm debt, and the everyday pressures of farming are to blame for the jump which inspired similar stress and mental health awareness efforts for farmers nationwide.

 

Kewaunee County UW Extension Human Development and Relationship Educator Renee Koenig says farmers are resilient, but they often need to be told that they need help.

Koenig advises farmers to take a little time for themselves every now and then despite the hustle and bustle that comes with busy times like the planting and harvest seasons. You can find more resources below.

 

Supporting Farmers: “Making the Connection” for Mental Health

 

Submitted by Renee Koenig

 

Aerica Bjurstrom and Renee Koenig are UW-Madison Extension Educators who are reaching out to farmers in Door, Kewaunee and Manitowoc counties to connect them to supportive resources. They are providing “Making the Connection” resource guides to help support our farm families and communities during challenging times. Farm families are resilient individuals, but there are times when help is needed. 

 

“As we head into the busy planting and harvest season, stress and lack of sleep will be commonplace. Now is a good time to remember to take care of yourself so you’re there for the people around you” Bjurstrom reminds local farmers. Koenig adds, “the timing of our efforts to reach farm families aligns with April is Stress Awareness Month and May is Mental Health Awareness Month.”

 

“Making the Connection” resource guides are pocket-size booklets. “We wanted to give farmers a useful list of resources in a small, sturdy booklet that they can keep in their truck console or pants pocket,” says Koenig. The booklets come with a magnet on the back so you can tear the back page off and attach it to a refrigerator or filing cabinet for quick reference. The booklets list signs and symptoms of stress and where to get help if you or someone you know is struggling with stress or other behavioral health factors.

 

Seeking help for stress or anxiety is a healthy way to ensure you, and those around you will be here for many more seasons to come. Accidents happen on the farm when operators are stressed and/or tired. Reduce stress by:

· Eating right

· Getting enough sleep

· Focus on relaxing breathing

· Drink plenty of water

· Listen to relaxing music

· Take a break! Give yourself a break too!

 

It’s okay to take a break and close your eyes to rest for a few minutes. Sometimes all it takes is five minutes of quiet and relaxation to rejuvenate your mind. Give yourself a break too. People are naturally their own biggest critic, instead be your biggest supporter. Everyone is a better person when they’re in the right frame of mind.

 

This quote from Adrienne Desutter, Illinois farm wife, mom and behavioral health specialist, is included in each booklet given to the farmers:

 

“Farmers are the best caregivers in the world.

They care for crops, they care for land, and they care for animals,

but they’re not always the best caregivers of themselves.”

 

It's important to keep looking for, and using tools that will help you manage life's inevitable ups and downs in a healthy way. Keeping stress at a manageable level is important for your overall well-being.

 

If you would like copies of the “Making the Connection” booklet, please feel free to contact Aerica Bjurstrom at aerica.bjurstrom@wisc.edu or Renee Koenig at renee.koenig@wisc.edu.

 

Additional farm stress resources from UW-Madison Extension are available online at https://farms.extension.wisc.edu/farmstress/.

 

If You Need Immediate Assistance

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
1-800-273-8255

Harvest of Hope
1-608-836-1455

WI Department of Ag, Trade and Consumer Protection Farm Center
1-800-942-2474

Covering Wisconsin – County Community Resources

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

1-800-662-4357

 

 

Gibraltar names new town administrator

Travis Thyssen will bring his government experience to Fish Creek later this month after agreeing to become the first administrator for the Town of Gibraltar.

 

Budgeting $71,000 for the position, the Gibraltar Town Board decided to hire a town administrator approximately four months ago at the recommendation of a thorough review by The Harding Group. Town Board Chairperson Steve Sohns admitted back then that the town has grown to a point where its business is too much for a chairperson and a town clerk to handle. Along with being a business owner in the Fox Valley area, Thyssen has served as a county supervisor in Outagamie County for the last nine years and a town supervisor for the Town of Grand Chute for the last 14 years. His first day in the new role will be May 24th according to the town office.

 

Picture courtesy of Outagamie County

Door County continues vaccination strides

Door County continues to set the bar in Wisconsin for getting shots in arms as over 15,000 Door County residents are now fully vaccinated from COVID19. Currently the county has 60.7% of residents with one vaccine dose and 56.1% are fully vaccinated. With the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorizing emergency use of the Pfizer vaccine for people aged 12-15, Door County Public Health urges everyone eligible to get vaccinated. Public Health also ensures that COVID19 vaccine is currently in good supply and available at several local clinics and pharmacies. They are also offering a vaccine clinic by appointment at the Sister Bay Fire Station every third thursday afternoon beginning next week. 

 

In Thursday’s COVID19 report, Door County reported four positive cases out of forty-three tests performed. There were no new hospitalizations or deaths. In Kewaunee County, 37.6% of residents received a vaccine dose and 34.9% are fully vaccinated. 

 

Kewaunee County investigating thefts

The Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department reported on Thursday that multiple thefts of catalytic converters from vehicles are under investigation. The department states that Algoma and Luxemburg appear to be the main target areas, and that thefts have taken place at night and in the daytime. Residents are asked to secure vehicles and to park them in visible, well-lit places. The department also asks anyone with information that can assist in tracking down suspects to contact the Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department.

CDC updates guidance

Wisconsinites waiting for guidance to return to pre-pandemic life got big news on Thursday. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention changed their guidelines on Thursday and will no longer advise fully-vaccinated citizens in America to wear face-coverings in most indoor or outdoor spaces. Guidance still suggests mask use in buildings like hospitals, prisons, homeless shelters and transportation like buses and planes. However, the new guidance is aimed toward assisting in further opening schools, workplaces, and other venues. 

 

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in a press briefing that anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities without masking or physically distancing. She added that people can start doing things they stopped doing before the pandemic. Walensky also credited the vaccination process and recent science for the change in guidance. 

Rotary plants lasting tribute

The life’s work of Roger Anderson was celebrated Thursday afternoon with a tree planted at the site of one of his final projects as a Rotary member. The Sturgeon Bay Noon Rotary Club paid tribute to the late member at Little Lake, where for the last several years he helped spearhead its restoration at Sturgeon Bay’s Sunset Park. Anderson and the Rotary Club’s involvement started in the late 2000’s when the city had to decide whether they should fill in the lake or make the necessary improvements so it could thrive again. When Anderson died in December, he was remembered for his philanthropy in the community. On Thursday, Rotarian John Herlache told the crowd that  Anderson’s legacy will be located at Little Lake.

The Sturgeon Bay Noon Rotary continues to fundraise for further restoration of Little Lake, which includes dredging approximately seven feet of the body’s bottom. It was slated to be done in the near future before the City of Sturgeon Bay had to commit hundreds of thousands of dollars to shoreline repairs. The Sturgeon Bay Rotary Club’s involvement at Sunset Park dates back to the 1920s.

 

 

Brewers try to keep up with trends

Wisconsin craft brewers are trying to find ways to keep people interested in their product. Beer sales have been down in recent years, including just over 9 percent for craft brewers in 2020 according to the Brewers Association. A focus on health and wellness is partly to blame for the switch from beer to other beverages like hard seltzers and pre-made cocktails. One trend that is pushing through is beers with a heavy fruit presence like milkshake IPAs, shandies, and lambics. Bridge Up Brewing Company head brewer Trent Snyder has dabbled with blueberries and other fruits with his beers in the past. He believes the evolution of hop varieties plays a role.

Snyder says people are also asking more about non-alcoholic and gluten-free beer options.

He admits as much as he would like to dabble in more of the growing trends, he does not have the brewing capacity while keeping up with the demand of his core brands like Knee High Cream Ale and Escarpment Pale Ale. Snyder will leave those options to other breweries and try to feature them in Bridge Up’s Sturgeon Bay taproom and the recently opened Cherry Hut south of Fish Creek.

Ridges restructures, names new leaders

The departure of Executive Director Mike Reed is allowing The Ridges Sanctuary to take a different look at its leadership roles.

 

The Ridges Sanctuary announced on Thursday it has appointed Andrew Gill as its Executive Director and Katie Krouse as its Director of Operations. Gill was the Executive Director of the Pease Park Conservancy in Austin, Texas before coming to Door County. He has since opened a business in Baileys Harbor, became a founding member of the non-profit Horseshoe Bay Farms, Inc. and the Baileys Harbor Community Association.

 

Krouse has worked at The Ridges Sanctuary the last six coordinating programs for youth and adults. She is also credited with developing the procedures that are allowing people to safely visit The Ridges Sanctuary during the pandemic. Board of Directors President Linda Brooks says dividing the roles among Gill and Krouse should allow both to flourish.

The Ridges Sanctuary is planning for the return of its summer camps for area youth and the expansion of its popular Festival of Nature.  

Highway 54 reopens after repairs

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation announced Thursday it was reopening a section of Highway 54 between Luxemburg and Casco a few days early.

 

DOT official Mark Kantola shared with DoorCountyDailyNews.com that the work repairing bridge approaches over the Kewaunee River was finished Wednesday evening. That particular section of roadway was expected to be closed through Friday.

 

Crews are still working on sections of County Road AB and County Road A in Luxemburg, but motorists are still able to get through with only minor delays.

 

In Door County, Sturgeon Bay City Engineering Technician Brian Spetz says due to a bottleneck of construction activity, effective immediately and extending until the end of the work day Thursday at approximately 5:00 pm, S. Neenah Ave. from Willow Dr. to E. Pine St. will be closed open to local traffic only.  WPS is continuing gas line construction work and the City has a contractor sawing concrete curb and sidewalk. Spetz encourages motorists to avoid the area if possible.

Friends group eyes more improvements

The Friends of Peninsula State Park is not stopping at the soon-to-be-reopened Eagle Tower and White Cedar Nature Center when it comes to improvements. The group raised over $750,000 to help fund the installation of the new Eagle Tower in addition to thousands more to build an addition to the nature center which remains closed due to the pandemic. Business Manager Steve Strucely says the group is exploring fundraising options for future projects which include a new amphitheater for the nature center and the replacement of some of the park’s fire rings and picnic tables. Last month’s announcement from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources easing the restrictions on larger groups was good news for the organization, which provides much of the manpower with the upkeep of the park.

Strucely is hopeful they will be able to hold clean-up events as the weather begins to warm up in addition to helping out at some park events this summer. The DNR reported that state parks like Peninsula set visitation records in 2020 due to pandemic restrictions forcing people to find more outdoor activities.

COVID-19 vaccine for kids OK'd

Children between the ages of 12-15 could soon be able to get vaccinated for COVID-19 after an advisory panel for the Centers for Disease Control gave it their blessing on Wednesday.

 

Politico reported earlier in the day that a CDC advisory panel voted 14-0 with one recusal in favor of making the Pfizer vaccine available to more people. The Food and Drug Administration gave the Pfizer vaccine its approval for kids under Emergency Use Authorization on Monday. The CDC also said it could be given at the same time as other vaccinations that may have been missed previously.

 

Speaking about vaccines last week with DoorCountyDailyNews.com, Door County Medical Center Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jim Heise says the 100 percent efficacy for the Pfizer vaccine with kids is partly because kids are less likely to get symptomatically sick from COVID-19. He still encourages everyone who is willing and can get vaccinated to do so.

The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines have not been cleared yet for youth. Door County Public Health is among the local providers of the Pfizer vaccine, though no specific announcements of its distribution to minors have been made as of Wednesday afternoon. Parents must give their kids their consent before they get vaccinated.

 

UPDATE: Door County Medical Center announced Wednesday evening that it would be offering a walk-in clinic at its pediatric center. Details are below from a Facebook post:

 

n anticipation of the State of Wisconsin's approval of administration of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine to individuals age 12-17 years old by the end of the week, Door County Medical Center is planning a walk-in vaccination clinic in the pediatric department. The first two days of the clinic will be held on May 19th and 20th from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. All children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Please enter through the main clinic entrance.

 

 

Active COVID-19 cases go down

It was a net positive day for Door County as it saw the active cases of COVID-19 go down on Wednesday.

 

Two additional cases of the coronavirus were confirmed out of 20 tests, but three recoveries were noted in the report.  Statewide, 558 new cases were reported in addition to 18 deaths and 82 new hospitalizations.

 

Door County crossed the 60 percent mark when it comes to residents receiving at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Over 55 percent are reported as fully vaccinated after 210 doses have been administered this week.

 

Over 37 percent of Kewaunee County residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine as 109 doses have been administered this week.

Timeline cut after power plant acquisition

The acquisition of the Kewaunee Power Station in the Town of Carlton could shave as much as 40 years off decommissioning efforts.  EnergySolutions announced on Wednesday it would be acquiring the shuttered Kewaunee Power Station from Dominion Energy, which has been performing its own clean-up work at the site since it shut down the plant in 2013.

 

In June 2017, Dominion Energy completed the used nuclear fuel transfer to the onsite dry fuel storage facility. EnergySolutions specializes in nuclear power plant decommissioning efforts, having done so at the historic Three Mile Island Unit-2 in Pennsylvania, the LaCrosse Boiling Water Reactor in Wisconsin, and the Zion Nuclear Power Station in Illinois. What was originally expected to take 50 years under Dominion Energy control will now take approximately 10 years under EnergySolutions.

 

Kewaunee County Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Ben Nelson says the soon-to-be new owners have already inquired about keeping as much of the work done by local businesses.

Nelson estimates the decommissioning will create approximately 200 jobs and the annual spend during it will be $85 million. He says they have also started some conversations about what could be next for the over 900-acre parcel after it is decommissioned.  

 

Kewaunee County Administrator Scott Feldt said in a statement that they were thankful for the relationship they had with Dominion Energy and look forward to its new partnership with EnergySolutions.

 

Decommissioning work done by EnergySolutions could begin as soon as 2022 pending the approval of the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

 

Picture courtesy of Kewaunee County

 

 

 

Click here to listen to our podcast with Ben Nelson

Adopt a Soldier beginning Summer projects

Adopt A Soldier Door County is back out in the community and has started operations on a pair of Summer home projects. On Wednesday, the organization teamed up with Habitat for Humanity to get the ball rolling on replacing David Gessert’s sewer drain pipe, main water line, and doing sidewalk repairs. Gessert is an Army veteran who served in the 1950’s. Adopt a Soldier will be covering funds for the project up to $6,000. The Veterans’ Service office will take care of the remaining balance. 

 

The organization is also helping to re-side a veteran’s home this summer. These two projects along with helping a veteran get his teeth replaced are the three major causes Adopt a Soldier will help fund this year. With cancellations to fundraisers two years in a row, Adopt a Soldier President Nancy Hutchinson says they will stick to these projects only for this year in an effort to be careful with funding. 

 

 

The organization will also be getting help from Coast Guard personnel, Peninsula Property Services, and Drain Pro for labor.

 

Driving families to state parks

State Senator Andre Jacque has spent time garnering interest from people on both sides of the aisle on legislation aiming to fill Wisconsin’s state parks. Jacque is circulating a bill for co-sponsors that would extend the Every Kid Outdoors national program from the Department of the Interior to Wisconsin State Parks. The program offers a free pass to national parks in the United States to fourth graders and their families. Jacque finds this to be an opportune time in a students’ life to learn about outdoor resources around the state, and follow other states’ lead in passing such legislation.

 

 

Jacque notes that it may pick up travel within the state, keeping tourism dollars in Wisconsin communities. 

 

 

The legislative proposal received 92% support when it went before Wisconsin’s Conservation Congress. Jacque is currently gathering co-sponsors in the assembly and the senate before formally introducing the bill. Information on the program can be found here.

Plum Island seeing transformation

The Friends of Plum and Pilot Islands are making up for lost time this Summer as they will be busy revamping some of Plum Island’s treasured structures. The FOPPI organization is calling on Mihm Contracting from Michigan to work on the rear and front range lights. The project funding received a $200,000 boost from the David L. and Rita E. Nelson Family Fund. 

 

They are currently in the process of removing lead-based paint, sandblasting, and repairing steel on the rear range lights. FOPPI Board member, Paul Schumacher says the rear range light has probably held up better than any building on the island, even though it was built in 1896. Contractors will move to the front range light after completing their current task, where they will also repaint that structure. Other repairs include replacing the windows. They are expected to complete the entire project in June. Schumacher says the grant was critical in pushing these renovations forward. 

 

 

The project has been in the works for some time, as it was delayed in 2020. Later this Summer, FOPPI will see work continue on Plum Island when the signal building has its roof replaced.

 

New transportation service coming

A new branch of Door County Connect is coming on Wednesday when they start the Connector Link, a new, deviated fixed route that will bring riders to residential areas and businesses in Sturgeon Bay. Drivers will be able to deviate from the route up to a quarter-mile to accommodate riders. The new program was a suggestion from consultants within the past couple of years and was scheduled for Wednesdays because of the senior discounts at various stores. Door County’s Transportation Manager, Pam Busch, thinks this new service will help lighten the load for some of the more county-wide services like Door 2 Door and Door County Connect.

 

 

The service is free to riders and run by volunteer drivers and driver aides. Those interested in volunteering or seeing the route schedule can click here.

 

No positives in Door County

Door County had a good day in their fight against COVID-19 on Tuesday. There were zero positive cases in the county out of thirty-one tests conducted in Tuesday’s report. Door County had zero hospitalizations or deaths, and the number of active cases dropped by six. Door County also reached sixty percent of residents with a vaccine dose and 54.7% of residents completed the series. 

 

In Kewaunee County, 37.4% of residents have received a dose of the vaccine, and 34.3% of residents are fully vaccinated.

 

Firefighters prevent more spreads than normal

Fire departments in Wisconsin spent this last year combatting more than just the emergencies they normally do. Even though their training is for high-stress tasks that may not be conducive for social distancing, Luxemburg Fire Chief Lew DuChateau says COVID mitigation measures were still at the front of their minds. 

 

 

Virtual options became popular as well for off-site training, such as the officer training through NWTC. When called to scenes this past year, fire departments like Luxemburg’s also kept COVID-safe practices in mind if possible. 

 

 

It also became standard, especially before personnel was vaccinated, for firefighters to ride in their units with face coverings on. This was important as there may be six people in the unit at times. DuChateau says they are getting their typical amount of calls so far this year. They most recently completed training when they artificially smoked out an old farmhouse.

 

Flea and ticks pose danger for pets

As a reportedly higher number of ticks are being found on dogs this spring, pet owners should be proactive in protecting their furry friends.  Animals are susceptible to the hazards from certain insects in the outdoors, primarily wooded areas. Dr. Jordan Kobilca from Door County Veterinary Hospital recommends heartworm prevention year-round and that flea and tick prevention be done through at least the late fall. He suggests some tips on keeping your pet safe.

 

 

Common signs of flea and tick presence on your pet can include excessive scratching, licking or biting at the skin, hair loss, scabs, and pale gums. You can find more information on the recommended flea and tick prevention for your pet here.

Marquette School property stirs up conversation

The City of Kewaunee is inviting the public to discuss the future of the former Marquette School property. The conversation started late last month when developer Jeff Welhouse pulled his letter of intent to purchase the property due to health concerns. He pursued a certificate of appropriateness from the Kewaunee Historical Preservation Committee more than five months for a proposed “twindomonium” project but denied by a vote of 6-2. At the public information meeting on Monday, Welhouse will discuss his proposal before Seth Hudson discusses how tax increment financing works. Mayor Jason Jelinek will discuss the history of TIFs in Kewaunee including the possibility of TIF #3 which would include the Marquette School parcel as well as the former Hamechek property. Jelinek says the meeting is important for residents to learn and to ask questions.

The public information meeting for the development proposal for the Marquette School property is May 17th at 6 p.m. inside the Kewaunee Elementary School Gymnasium.

Sevastopol prepares for senior farewells

Fighting through the adversity of the last 16 months will be how Sevastopol Principal Adam Baier remembers the 45 members of this year’s senior class.

 

The class of 2021 saw the last few months of its junior year wiped out due to the onset of the pandemic. Their senior year has also had challenges as they bounced between different models of hybrid learning and other COVID-19 related issues.

 

Despite that, Baier says the seniors refused to let the pandemic steal another year. The class boasts an average 3.4 GPA and still had its senior trip and prom, albeit a little differently. Baier says it will be a class that is remembered.

Sevastopol will host its commencement exercises inside the Sevastopol Elementary School Gymnasium at 2 p.m. Jenna Engeldinger, Kylie Newton, Noah Tomaszewski, McKenzie Wiesner will be recognized as Sevastopol’s valedictorians with all four earning perfect 4.0 GPAs.

Maritime tower filling up

Monday was move-in day for new exhibits at the soon-to-be-christened Jim Kress Maritime Tower in Sturgeon Bay.

 

Alabama-based Southern Custom Exhibits used one large semi-truck to deliver the materials for three of the tower’s 10 floors. The company will install the exhibits over the next two weeks and will outfit the first-floor maritime theater and gift shop, the stewardship area, the 10th-floor working waterfront exhibit, and the Baumgartner observation deck.

 

It has been four years since the Door County Maritime Museum announced the capital campaign for the project and Deputy Director Sam Perlman says the next two weeks will be among the most significant in the organization’s history.

The christening of the Jim Kress Maritime Tower will be the first of three such events for the new structure over the next year. It will host a ribbon-cutting when the tower’s other seven floors exhibits are unveiled and a grand opening celebration will take place next May. The 11 a.m. event also coincides with National Maritime Day on May 22nd, which will also feature a salute to health care workers and merchant mariners at noon with three loud blasts from the Tug John Purves.

 

Photo courtesy of the Door County Maritime Museum

L-C masks up again

Students at Luxemburg-Casco School District will have to mask up and follow quarantine rules once again after the school board voted unanimously to switch back to the COVID-19-era rules.

 

The 7-0 vote reversed the school board’s 4-3 decision last Wednesday to make masking optional, drop quarantine protocols, and end some of its COVID-19 mitigation strategies. Approximately 300 people watched the proceedings via Zoom while local television stations estimate another 100 people were in the high school’s auditorium. The meeting’s first two hours were primarily for public comment for community members, parents, and students. People in favor of returning to masking and quarantining argued that the decision was forcing the postponement of athletic events for the school’s track, baseball, softball, and girls’ soccer teams. Others supportive of the board’s decision last week say parents and kids should be allowed to make their own choices on what they want to do. At times, the moderator of the Luxemburg-Casco School District Zoom account reminded viewers that their comments using the chat function would be part of the public record.

 

Monday’s decision will be in effect until June 3rd, which is the last day of school for the high school. The district’s other grades will have their last day of school on May 28th. Students will still be allowed to take masking breaks behind barriers and will not be forced to wear one when they are outside. Masking will be optional during summer school after the school board voted 6-1 in favor. 

 

Currently, 15 students and one staff member are considered to be active COVID-19 cases. Another 22 students and staff members are considered to be close contacts as of May 10th at 3 p.m. according to the district's COVID-19 page. 

Dangers of grass clippings on streets

Public works officials in Door and Kewanee County remind property owners to be mindful of maintaining their yards this summer. Lawns should be cut regularly, and grass clippings should not be blown or left on roadways. Severe injuries to bicyclists or motorcycle drivers can result from grass clippings on streets. Algoma Public Works Director Matt Murphy explains the maximum length of grass allowed and the other issues associated with blowing grass clippings on the road.

 

 

Murphy adds that grass clippings can make street surfaces dangerously slick, causing bikes to fishtail.    City and county ordinances allow law enforcement to charge individuals with misdemeanors for not following the law.  

Active cases going down

Active cases continued to decline in Door County as only a handful of positive tests for COVID-19 were reported since Friday.  On Monday, Door County Public Health noted five more coronavirus cases out of 49 tests performed.  The number of active cases went down five to 53.  No hospitalizations or deaths were reported. 

 

The State of Wisconsin continued to see a decline in COVID-19 activity with 205 positive test results on Monday, with 23 hospitalizations and no additional deaths.

 

On the vaccination front, over 60 percent of Door County residents have received at least the first dose of the vaccine and 54.7 percent have finished the series of shots.  Kewaunee County has vaccinated 37.3 percent of its residents with at least one shot and 34.1 percent have completed the vaccine series.

 

Sevastopol holding STR public hearing Tuesday

Sevastopol residents will have a chance to weigh in Tuesday on a proposed “Short-Term Rental of Residential Dwellings” ordinance.  The Town of Sevastopol, which has been looking at the issue for over a year, is hosting a public hearing inside the Town Hall starting at 5:30 pm.    A notice by the town states that the intent of the ordinance is to ensure the operation of STRs is adequate for protecting public health, safety, and the general welfare of the community.  One key element of the ordinance is the minimum six-night stay requirement for STRs. An alternate site for watching the proceedings will be at the Institute Saloon.  Anyone interested in speaking should sign up in advance by calling the city clerk at 920-746-1230.  No formal action will be taken on Tuesday and the public hearing will be for comments only and no discussion.  You can find the draft of the Short-Term Rental Ordinance here. 

 

Notice of Public Hearing for STRs

States look to get people to work

Getting businesses more job applicants will be the goal of Wisconsin Republicans when they caucus this week in Madison.

 

The April jobs report released last week showed non-farm payrolls increase by only 266,000, just over a quarter of the one million new jobs that were expected. The unemployment rate crept up to 6.1 percent when it was expected to trickle down to 5.8 percent. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce greeted the jobs report with a rebuke of the $300 per week federal jobless benefit that it alleges is rewarding people to stay at home. Forbes Magazine estimates that Americans are being paid the equivalent of $17.17 to stay at home.

 

States like Montana and South Carolina are looking to withdraw from the federal program by the end of June, citing the impact the jobless benefit has had on hiring. Rep. Joel Kitchens says reinstating the requirement that people must be actively looking for a job to receive a benefit is just part of what needs to be done.

 

 

Kitchens says they need to look at the options when it comes to following the path of other states who have already pulled out of the federal jobless aid program. He adds that it is crucial people get back to work for the sake of the local economy.

 

 

The impact of child care on the employment situation in the state is something Kitchens believes will also have to be addressed as a new biennial budget is formed.

Waning vaccine interest worries health officials

Door County Health and Human Services Director Joe Krebsbach is worried about what a drop in vaccination rates could mean for the area.

 

The Associated Press reported approximately 57 percent of the adult population has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccination rates have slowed to a point where states are asking the federal government to send less of the vaccine. Door County Public Health is seeing approximately a third of the people request appointments through its web portal compared to just over a month ago when hundreds were attending drive-thru clinics.

 

As tourism season starts to ramp up, Krebsbach believes more vaccinated individuals can be helpful.

Door County Public Health is providing walk-thru clinics for the Pfizer vaccine by appointment, which can be scheduled online. Kewaunee County is hosting Johnson & Johnson vaccine clinics on Tuesday and Wednesday this week by appointment, but they will also accept walk-ins as well.

 

 

Moneypenny leaving top tourism post

The search is on for a new president and CEO for Destination Door County after it was revealed Monday morning that Jack Moneypenny is moving on.

 

According to the release from Destination Door County Board Chairperson Todd Trimberger, Moneypenny is leaving the organization after 14 years due to changes within its structure and direction. Since being hired as the President/CEO in 2007, Moneypenny has helped the countywide room tax receipts more than double from just over $2.3 million to $5.1 million in 2019. He was also instrumental in helping the county grow its network of electric car charging stations.

 

Both Trimberger and Moneypenny expressed their appreciation for each other in the release show below. Destination Door County will be working with a nationwide search firm to help find a new President/CEO before Moneypenny departs July 14th.

 

RELEASE FROM DESTINATION DOOR COUNTY

Destination Door County Board Chairman Todd Trimberger announced today that President/CEO Jack Moneypenny is leaving the organization. Moneypenny’s last day will be July 14, 2021.

Moneypenny stated that due to the structure and direction change of Destination Door County, he believes it is time to part ways with the organization.

 

Destination Door County, the county’s longtime destination marketing and management organization, hired Moneypenny as President/CEO to lead the tourism organization in 2007 when the countywide room tax was just getting started. During his tenure, countywide room tax receipts more than doubled from $2,362,655 in 2007 to $5,139,717 in 2019.

 

He spearheaded a countywide car charging network and watched it grow into a network of more than 30 stations around the county. He was also instrumental in crafting a plan to build a new Welcome Center next to DDC’s existing building in Sturgeon Bay. Those plans were put on hold due to the pandemic a few months before the scheduled groundbreaking in May 2020.

 

Moneypenny said he’d like to thank all current and former board members who have been on this 13+ year journey with him in Door County.

 

Trimberger said he’d like to thank Moneypenny for his many years of service to the organization during a time when substantial changes have taken place, with more to come. He stated that organizational leadership will be working with a nationwide search firm to help find a new CEO in the coming months.

 "Relaxation Reponse" can help provide stress relief

Relaxing in troubled times can be challenging, but Sturgeon Bay Psychologist Dr. Dennis White says you can learn to use your mind not only to relax but to improve your health. Dr. White says research shows that you can lower your heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen consumption by relaxing and using your mind. You can alleviate symptoms of disorders like arthritis, insomnia, and depression. He shares a technique called relaxation response that can be a learned skill.

 

 

Dr. White says there are many other ways to achieve a positive response, but one must be committed to doing it daily. You can listen to Dr. White’s entire Mental Health Minute on relaxation response below.

 

 

County Park getting overdue improvement

For the first time in two decades on Monday, Chaudoir’s Dock County Park’s boat launch will see major improvement. The park and launch will be closed from Monday until Wednesday as the boat launch parking lot will be getting resurfaced. The launch sees nearly as much action as the launches at Carmody County and Pinney County parks, says Door County Parks Manager Burke Pinney. He adds the amount of usage it gets paired with high water levels have been main factors in the parking lot wear and tear.

 

 

Pinney says people brought up the issue of potholes at the launch regularly last year and that patching them became a band-aid. The money for the permanent fix will come from the boat launch fund that consists of launch user fees, and no tax levy money is being used for the project. Over the duration of resurfacing, Pinney suggests people use Carmody County Park to launch if they’re coming from the north and Bay Shore County Park in Brown County if they’re coming from the south. 

 

DMV renewal extensions ending

Drivers on the peninsula over sixty years old, who had their drivers’ license expire in or since March of 2020, now have to renew theirs within the next couple of weeks. Since March 12th of last year, there’s been a renewal period extension to protect those at higher risk of COVID19, but that ends on May 21st.

 

The Wisconsin Department of Motor Vehicles estimates that 20,000 drivers in the state over sixty have yet to renew licenses expired in the last year. Residents between ages sixty and sixty-four are eligible to renew theirs at wisconsindmv.gov, and that aged sixty-four and older are required to visit a DMV by May 21st to renew their license. 

 

Destination Sturgeon Bay planning full slate of events

The Fine Art Fair later this month will be the first of many of the planned events scheduled in Sturgeon Bay this year.  The Fine Arts Fair will have 65 vendors spaced out by ten feet compared to 110 vendors that usually participated in the past.  The two-day event on May 29th and 30th will now be held at Martin Park and on some downtown streets.  Destination Sturgeon Bay Marketing Director Carly Sarkis says the organization is excited to return to the long-anticipated celebrations that were canceled last year due to the pandemic.  She says COVID-19 safety protocols will remain in effect for the outdoor events.

 

 

A new event this year, the Bloody Mary Social will be on August 15 and will coincide with the Sikaflex Boat Race during the Maritime Festival.  The Fourth of July fireworks will return as well as Harvest Fest in September. 

Historical Society project wheeling along

The Kewaunee County Historical Society is over halfway toward a goal to continue making their building more wheelchair accessible. The organization’s goal is to replace their entryway with an incline ramp that will lead to a single door into the building. The historical society is $8,000 short of the $20,000 goal. So far, plenty of people and other organizations have donated to the project. Over time, the historical society has had to slightly increase their fundraising goal to keep up with construction costs. The ramp will replace a six-inch drop at the building entrance. Historical Society Vice President Richard Dorner also notes it’s a hazard with how slippery their current entryway can get when wet, and that they’ve needed this upgrade for some time.

 

 

The project is expected to be completed in mid-July. This is part of an ongoing effort to make the Historical Society’s building more user-friendly to people of all ages. In recent years, the society has added a handicap-accessible restroom and there is also a chairlift to get up to the building’s second level. 

Sevastopol grad looking forward to return home

Having spent eight years with the NCAA’s Horizon League, most recently as the Assistant Commissioner of Competition, Branding, and Sponsorship, Sevastopol graduate Cam Fuller made a hard decision to leave his post at the Division I conference. Recently, the opportunity came knocking to serve as the Athletic Director, overseeing the athletics and physical education departments at St. Norbert College. The more Fuller talked about it, the more he knew it was the right spot for him. One of the things that clicked for Fuller in his pursuit of the position was that he admired President Brian Bruess’ vision for the college. 

 

It wasn’t just athletics that drove Fuller’s decision to return to his northeast Wisconsin roots. Fuller gets to return to the area he grew up in and is passionate about. His wife is also a Sheboygan native, making the move to the area enticing for both. Fuller does have connections to area athletics that go back several years. A former golfer at UW-Green Bay, Fuller is also the son of a former Sevastopol girls basketball coach and his brother played baseball for the St. Norbert Green Knights. 

 

Though Fuller didn’t manage a specific university’s athletic department, he sees the competitive nature of his position with the Horizon League to be similar to the role he’ll step into on June 1st. What Fuller looks forward to as much as anything, is the chance to be on campus interacting with the nearly 600 Green Knight athletes. 

 

One thing that is important for Fuller is the emphasis on academics that he expects the student-athletes to have. He wants to make sure they are focused on being students and graduating with a meaningful degree. Fuller understands the history of St. Norbert athletics and thinks any leader should have respect for the history of where they’re at. He strives to mix his appreciation for the rich tradition with his vision moving forward, through what he calls the four pillars of success. 

 

 

With family and some of his closest friends being people he played sports with growing up as a Pioneer, he thinks that helped him learn the value of sports and the relationships that come with it.

 

Kewaunee County libraries trying new approach

Beginning in June, people of all ages will no longer see fines accrue on children and teen print materials they’ve checked out from the Algoma and Kewaunee public libraries. Both libraries are following a trend with libraries around the nation to move away from requiring late payments. Algoma Public Library Director, Cathy Kolbeck, shares that overdue fines don’t work the way people think they do, according to studies. 

 

 

Kolbeck hopes this gets patrons they haven’t seen in a while back into the libraries. Kolbeck says studies show that libraries who’ve gone fine-free are still getting return items at the same rate. The American Library Association passed a resolution in 2019 that recognized fines as a form of social inequity and urged libraries to eliminate them. Kolbeck also thinks this will combat the “summer slump” that can be experienced between school years. 

 

Southern Door scores education boost

The Southern Door School District will get to focus a $25,000 grant toward hands-on learning. The district was awarded the grant to expand their equipment in their fabrication laboratory facilities. The grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation aims to prepare students with the necessary skills for today’s economy. The WEDC formed the grant to support hands-on education in science, technology, engineering, art, and math. Other public schools who’ve also received these same grants have purchased items like 3D printers, laser engravers, plasma cutters, and other high-end technology for educational purposes. 

 

Southern Door Superintendent Patti Vickman showed appreciation in a press release, stating that their support from the WEDC has helped bring the engineering and design process to students at all levels. Fabrication lab grants were awarded to twenty-eight school districts this year. 

 

Crossroads taking in Global Big Day

On Saturday, Crossroads at Big Creek hosted the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology’s Global Big Day, holding a range of activities centered on observing nature. One of the highlights of Crossroads’ Big Day was taking part in the county-wide Big Plant. For the project, Crossroads is planting 480 trees. Crossroads Executive Director Laurel Hauser notes that those trees will contribute to a restoration project taking place all year. 

 

 

Hauser said that Saturday’s sunny skies felt like a reward for the Crossroads Habitat Healers, who had spent a lot of time this year planting in tough conditions. The restoration project was described as being for the birds. As Hauser says the project is about restoring wildlife habitat. 

 

 

Finding help for seniors' mental health

The pandemic has only added to the stress of poor mental health for seniors in Door County. Door County Medical Center announced it was partnering with Senior Life Solutions last November as it developed a group therapy option for older residents struggling with symptoms of depression and anxiety. They are certainly not alone when it comes to mental health concerns as nearly 20 percent of the adult population suffers some form of mental illness according to the National Alliance on Mental Health. Senior Life Solutions Program Manager Shannon Kanter says there are reasons some older Americans may not ask for help addressing their mental health concerns.

Kanter adds that many seniors also do not associate some physical ailments with undiagnosed mental health issues. May is National Older Americans Month and National Mental Health Awareness Month. You can listen to our full conversation with Kanter on our podcasts page.

Fire breeds generosity in Kewaunee

A family of five in Kewaunee has lost their home due to a Thursday fire, but has gained the support of an entire community during a trying time.  

 

On Thursday, the Kewaunee Fire Department responded to the scene near Wisconsin Avenue and Vliet Street at approximately 11:30 a.m. when flames were already visible.  About half of the first floor is severely damaged because of the fire that eventually reached the home’s second level.

 

In the days since, community members have created drop-off sites at businesses like Next Level Salon in Kewaunee for items for the two parents and three kids that are now displaced. Through efforts of the Salvation Army of Kewaunee County, Sheriff Matt Joski was able to provide money for lodging for the next few days and gift cards for essential items while the family gets back on their feet. Joski says he is thankful for the response the community has shown in the family’s time of need.

 

The American Red Cross also helped out in the aftermath of Thursday's fire. As of Friday, the cause of the fire had not been determined and two members of the family transported to the hospital for smoke inhalation have released. You can find more details on how you can help below.

 

Donate to the Salvation Army of Kewaunee County

 

List of clothes and shoes needed provided Heather Hansen's Facebook page

Letting your children serve themselves

Children are born knowing how much to eat. You don’t need to tell them how much to eat. They will eat when they are hungry and stop eating when they are full, all on their own. Let them learn by serving themselves! Teach them to take a small amount at first. They can get more if they are still hungry.

 

Listen to your child. If they say they are full, don’t force them to eat more. When children are given large amounts of food or are encouraged to clean their plates, they cannot stop eating when their bodies tell them they are full. Over time, they may learn to ignore when their bodies tell them that they are full and eat more than they need to. By letting children serve themselves, it allows them to decide what to eat from the healthy options you provide and decide how much to eat.

 

A good rule of thumb: You decide what, when, and where foods are offered and let your children decide whether and how much to eat. If your child doesn’t want to eat when the rest of the family is eating, have them sit with the family while everyone else eats. Make the food they would have eaten during the meal available for later if they get hungry. 

 

L-C school board to revisit COVID decision

The Luxemburg-Casco School Board will host its second special meeting in a week on Monday (May 10th) to discuss its COVID-19 restriction decision.

 

On Wednesday, the board decided to revert to pre-pandemic restrictions. The decision was effective immediately and made masking optional and curtailed quarantine rules. In the days since, the high school's student-athletes have several sporting events canceled. The district's principals were meeting on Thursday to discuss their next steps, including the removal of hundreds of barriers from classrooms.

 

Monday's meeting begins at 7 p.m. and can be accessed at the district's website.

Door, Kewaunee Counties remain wildfire risks

Door, Kewaunee Counties remain wildfire risks

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is stressing vigilance as much of the state remains in mid to very high fire danger this week, according to the latest fire danger index. Door and Kewaunee County follow suit with the rest of northeast Wisconsin, being in the high fire danger category. The DNR also reported that burning debris is the leading cause of Wisconsin’s wildfires and have even been attributed to forty percent of the state’s wildfires this year. The DNR will also be paying attention to high-risk areas as they point out the peak of fire season is near. So far 556 wildfires have been reported in the state this year. 

Residents are urged to check fire danger and burning restrictions as they can change on a daily basis. Below is Friday’s fire danger index from the DNR as well as tips for those who choose to burn. 

 

  • Obtain proper burning permits from DNR
  • Check fire restrictions before burning
  • Make sure fires out before leaving
  • Put off burning a debris pile until the vegetation “greens up.”

Door County Reports three new cases, Kewaunee admits one to hospital

In the weekly Kewaunee County COVID19 report, one hospitalization was reported this week as well as seventeen new cases. There were no new deaths in Kewaunee County. Kewaunee County is nearing the forty percent vaccinated mark, as 37.2% of residents have received at least one vaccine dose and 33.6% have completed the vaccine series. 

 

In Door County’s daily update on Friday, they had three positive cases out of eighteen tests conducted. There were no hospitalizations or deaths. Door County has 59.7% of residents with at least one vaccine dose. 53.8% are fully vaccinated. Nearly 115,000 Wisconsin residents were vaccinated this week, as 4.5 million residents have at least one vaccine dose. 

 

Destination Door County celebrates adaptability

Destination Door County capped off National Travel and Tourism Week by applauding the area’s adaptive approach in the last year and outlining its sustainability plan. DDC President, Jack Moneypenny, shared that the organization has shifted some of its focuses for long-term improvement. 

 

 

Broken down, lodging made up the largest share of Door County visitor spending in 2020 with 44%. Food and beverage sales amounted to 22%, retail made up 18.2%, recreation and entertainment totaled 10.2%, and transportation was responsible for 5.7%. DDC released a video detailing its initiatives over the last year. The full Tourism Week release can be found here.

 

 

(Via Destination Door County)

Volunteers honored for their Golden Hearts

The Door County community took time Thursday evening to honor area volunteerism during the Golden Hearts Awards. Held virtually over YouTube, Pam Seiler of Destination Sturgeon Bay and Dan Tjernagel of Sturgeon Bay School District emceed the program that paid tribute to 33 individuals and organizations making an impact in the community.

 

One of those winners is NEW Radio intern and Southern Door senior Brady Tooley. He was recognized for his efforts supporting the Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Southern Door Haunted Mansion, Chop and Shop with a Cop, and USDA Farmers to Families Food Box Program

 

You can find a list of the other winners below and watch the ceremony here.

WPS Environmental Service Award: Mark Holey, Crossroads at Big Creek Fish Tales
Youth Volunteer of the Year Award: Brady Tooley, Southern Door High School
Group Volunteer of the Award: Door County YMCA Food Program Volunteers
Adult Volunteer of the Year Award: Jennifer Thompson Northern Door Children’s Center
Karl May Lifetime Achievement Award: Patti Vickman, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Brussels Lions Club.

Home destroyed in Kewaunee fire

A family of five has been displaced after a fire ripped through their Kewaunee home late Thursday morning.

 

The Kewaunee Fire Department responded to the scene near Wisconsin Avenue and Vliet Street at approximately 11:30 a.m. when flames were already visible.  About half of the first floor is severely damaged because of the fire that eventually reached the home’s second level. Fire departments from Algoma and Carlton as well as emergency responders from Kewaunee and Luxemburg also provided support. Kewaunee Fire Chief Joe Nemecek says there are some details to figure out still.

Two people had to be transported to an area hospital due to smoke inhalation but they have since been released. The scene was cleared at around 3 p.m.

 

 

(Video courtesy of Jake Heffernan)

 

 

History saved at Alpine Resort

For the first time in over 100 years, the Alpine Resort in Egg Harbor has a new owner.

 

True North Real Estate represented the buyer Alpine Resort Acquisition Company in the sale that was a year in the making and includes 165 acres of open green space and nearly a half-mile of Green Bay shorefront. It also includes the resort’s lodge building, golf course, and cottages.

 

Originally put on the market in 2018, the sale represents the first time the property has been owned by someone other than the Bertschingers since brothers John and Paul opened Alpine Resort in 1922. Broker Jacinda Duffin told DoorCountyDailyNews.com that the buyer has deep ties to the property and is interested in preserving the resort’s history. She added that Renovations on the lodge and some of the cottages have already begun, though it will likely be awhile before family vacations, weddings, and conferences will return in earnest.

 

The Alpine Resort’s golf course and clubhouse will open for 2021 season.

 

Duffin confirmed that the village of Egg Harbor still plans on purchasing a portion of the Alpine Resort property that is contiguous with its current beach.

 

Photo from True North Real Estate

 

 

DCEDC chooses broadband assessor

The quest to cover Door County with high-speed internet moved to the assessment phase on Thursday. With the goal of getting fiber broadband to all Door County households and businesses where feasible in the next few years, the Door County Economic Development Corporation selected Finley Engineering in Altoona to do an assessment. DCEDC Executive Director, Steve Jenkins, feels that they selected one of the top broadband consultants in the country to study ways and costs to provide these services. Jenkins also expects the study to conclude no later than October. 

 

After the assessment, there could be a bridge, or “interim” program, in place before the goal of county-wide fiber is achieved. Jenkins says patience from the county will be critical, especially where there are factors, especially in northern Door, where there can be obstacles such as the number of trees and rolling terrain. 

 

Jenkins felt that this last year also highlighted the growing importance of reliable broadband access, especially with tel-e-health visits becoming increasingly common. 

 

 

Jenkins also sees this as useful with more people working remotely. He says there are a number of people who are interested in Door County as a place to live, but would need to be afforded broadband access to do so. Jenkins added that the next step after completing the study is finding out what the delivery of fiber services will look like. Jenkins vows that the DCEDC will be aggressive in solving broadband issues in both the short and long term. 

 

Legislation aims to boost shipyards

Fincantieri’s Bay Shipbuilding and Marinette Marinette could stand to benefit from a bipartisan piece of legislation introduced in Congress last week. The Supplying Help to Infrastructure in Ports, Yards, and America’s Repair Docks (SHIPYARD) Act would provide $25 billion to make investments needed to improve the facilities and infrastructure at the country’s shipyards. Rep. Mike Gallagher is part of the bipartisan group of House representatives and Senators proposing the measure. The Green Bay Republican points to China as a big reason for his support at a time when the country commissioned three ships in a single day. He says strengthening America’s shipyards would be good news for the area.

The SHIPYARD Act would provide all funds via the Defense Production Act to make it easier for the Secretary of the Navy to award contracts. Approximately $4 billion of the funds would go towards repairs and new construction at shipyards, subcontractors, and suppliers that help maintain the U.S. Navy Fleet. Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding will be assisting Marinette Marine’s efforts to build some of the new ships for the U.S. Navy.

 

Picture courtesy of Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding from Rep. Gallagher's visit last August

Door County keeps positive cases low

In Thursday’s COVID19 report, there were three positive tests confirmed in Door County out of eighteen tests conducted. There were no new hospitalizations or deaths in the county. Door County currently has 58 active cases. Door County is nearing sixty percent of residents with at least one vaccine dose and 53% of county residents are fully vaccinated. Kewaunee County has 37% of residents with one vaccine dose and 33.2% are fully vaccinated. In Wisconsin, 43.9% of residents have received at least one vaccine dose, and this week 76,000 residents have received the vaccine. 

 

Door County reducing pollutants

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is using May as a month to share their message on air quality and how residents can take part in improving it. With May being Clean Air Month, Wisconsin is also celebrating two decades of steadily improving air quality according to the most recent Wisconsin air quality trends report that’s released each fall. The most recent reports is that 95% of Wisconsinites live in areas that meet FDA Air Quality standards. 

 

The Public Information Specialist for the DNR’s Clean Air Program, Craig Czarnecki, says that Door County and the Lake Michigan shoreline are seeing improvements in air quality as well. These areas have experienced an average reduction of ozone concentrations of about 25% since 2001. While this is good news, ozone concentrations do remain a concern in Door County and other communities along the Lake Michigan shoreline. 


 

 

Door County attained the ozone standard in 2019, but in 2020 the air quality monitor exceeded it, which required the DNR Air Program to implement an improved maintenance plan for the area. Czarnecki said that these air quality challenges in Door County and on the shoreline will require help with reduced ozone emissions from upland areas outside of the county and state. Recognizing Door County as a popular destination, Czarnecki mentions this mission as a collective effort.

 

 

Resources to help people learn more about what they can do include going to the Clear Air Month webpage. The interview with Czarnecki in its’ entirety can be found on the News Podcasts page.

 

(Photo via LinkedIn)

 

L-C schools unmasked

Luxemburg-Casco School District will be one of the first school districts in the state to drop its masking requirement and other COVID-19 protocols.

 

The school board passed a motion 4-3 on Wednesday during a special meeting to have the district operate in a pre-COVID-19 environment effective immediately. The decision will make masking optional, end the current rules regarding quarantine, and remove some of the other mitigation strategies over time.

 

Superintendent Glenn Schlender says the district’s principals will meet later on Thursday to discuss next steps.

 

Schlender compared the new rules to what has been in place for students and staff suffering from the flu. Luxemburg-Casco School District currently has 14 active cases and 62 out for being close contacts for COVID-19 among its student population.  Its staff has one active case and one additional member out for being a close contact.

 

The school board also voted to end the school year early for its students with grades 4K through eighth stopping on May 28th and June 3rd for the high school students.

Doc encourages herd immunity chase

Door County Medical Center Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jim Heise wishes everyone who can get vaccinated for COVID-19 does so in the near future.

 

Close to 60 percent of Door County residents have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, but that rate has slowed down in recent weeks. Since reaching a high of over 3,000 doses administered the week of March 28th, the number of vaccinations has tumbled almost 50 percent to 1,777 last week. Similar trends across the country along with new variants have made national health experts wonder if herd immunity is possible.

 

Heise hopes residents take advantage of the return of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and the possibility of kids getting shots in the future.

He adds that he does not feel like the state will see surges in positive COVID-19 cases, but rather just “blips” like what Michigan and Oregon have had to weather this spring. Heise hopes people would reconsider their thoughts on not receiving the COVID-19 vaccines, saying the science behind the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines dates back five years as scientists looked for ways to battle HIV.

Construction season begins in Kewaunee County

Motorists traveling through Kewaunee County will have to get used to the sight of traffic cones and construction equipment over the next several weeks. Preliminary work has already begun in Luxemburg on Main Street as a part of an ongoing paving and utility work projects. The street is not expected to completely close during the work, but it could be cut down to one lane with flaggers on duty. Repaving parts of the roadway near County AB and County A will begin in earnest on May 17th with work expected to be finished in early June. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation announced Wednesday it would start repairing the bridge approaches over the Kewaunee River between County AB and County C beginning on May 10th and running through May 14th. DOT official Mark Kantola says it is nothing out of the ordinary.

Detour information for the bridge approach projects are below. Major work on Highway 42 from south of Kewaunee city limits to the Manitowoc County border is also scheduled to begin later this summer. Traffic in Luxemburg will be slowed down Thursday morning due to a house moving down Main Street beginning at 9 a.m.  The house will have to cross Highway 54 and parking will be restricted on Main Street north of Ash Street until after the move.

 

 

 

 

WIS 54 closure begins next week in Kewaunee County

Repairing bridge approaches

 

(Kewaunee County) The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) Northeast Region announces traffic impacts on WIS 54 between Luxemburg and Casco in Kewaunee County to repair a bridge approach over the Kewaunee River.  

Kewaunee County

Maintenance crews will be repairing bridge approaches on WIS 54 between County AB and County C in Kewaunee County beginning at 7 a.m., Monday, May 10 through 4 p.m., Friday, May 14. Traffic impacts are as follows:

Westbound and eastbound WIS 54 will be CLOSED to traffic between County AB and County C. A detour will direct eastbound WIS 54 motorists north on County AB to County K, take County K east to County C and south on County C to WIS 54

Westbound WIS 54 motorists should take County C north to County K, head west on County K to County AB, take County AB to WIS 54.

Motorists are urged to slow down and be mindful of workers near highways.

Golden Heart Awards celebrate volunteers Thursday

The Golden Heart Awards will be adding two new categories to the annual ceremony Thursday evening in a hybrid event.  The 19th edition this year will include a Health Care Workers of the Year and Essential Workers of the Year awards.  The four other awards will be for the Karl May Lifetime of Service, the Environmental Stewardship, Youth Volunteer Scholarship Award, Group Volunteers, and the Adult Volunteer of the Year.  United Way nominee Peter Kerwin, who is resident voice of the Sturgeon Bay Clipper Soccer broadcasts on NEW Radio Sport Network, says he is honored and that volunteering is so very important.

 

 

The Golden Heart Awards will be live-streamed on the program’s YouTube channel and Facebook page.  Emcees for the event will be Destination Sturgeon Bay Executive Director Pam Seiler and Sturgeon Bay Schools Superintendent Dan Tjernagel.  The awards ceremony will begin at 6 pm on Thursday.  DoorCountyDailyNews.com’s student intern Brady Tooley is nominated for the Youth Volunteer Scholarship Award.  You can find the complete list of 2021 nominees below.

 

Congratulations to the 2021 Nominees for Golden Heart Volunteer Awards! We appreciate you!

Posted by Golden Heart Awards Door County on Saturday, April 24, 2021

Congrats to the Essential Workers of the Year Nominees!

Posted by Golden Heart Awards Door County on Saturday, April 24, 2021

Congrats to the Healthcare Workers of the Year Nominees!

Posted by Golden Heart Awards Door County on Saturday, April 24, 2021

Door County adds two new cases

Just a pair of new cases of COVID-19 was reported in Door County on Tuesday.

 

Twenty-seven test results came back negative with no new hospitalizations or deaths reported. Wisconsin reported 639 positive cases on Wednesday with 49 new hospitalizations and 13 deaths.

 

On the COVID-19 vaccination front, 385 doses have been administered in Door County as the area closes in on 60 percent of the population receiving at least one shot. Kewaunee County has administered 123 doses this week with close to 37 percent receiving at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

 

The Kewaunee County Public Health Department is administering the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine on Thursday from 1 to 4 p.m. at its headquarters in Kewaunee. You can make an appointment, but walk-ins are also welcomed. 

 

Door County 

Tests Performed: 17,574 (+23)
Positive: 2,594 (+2)
Probable: 220
Negative: 14,760 (+27)
Active: 61
Total Ever Hospitalized: 92 
Death: 22  
 

Wisconsin 

Tests Performed: 3,464,996 (+5,026)
Positive: 600,936 (+639)
Negative: 2,864,060 (+4,387)
Active: 8,628
Deaths: 6,863 (+13)
Total Ever Hospitalized: 29,600 (+49)

Governor talks tourism, vaccinations during Door County stop

Governor Tony Evers applauded the resiliency of the tourism industry during his stop in Door County on Wednesday.

 

After visiting an Appleton art museum, Evers visited a pair of businesses in Fish Creek and Baileys Harbor before stopping by Cave Point County Park. His visit coincided with National Travel and Tourism Week as he spoke about the importance of outdoor recreation to Wisconsin’s tourism economy. Last year, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources showed double-digit percentage increases in fishing license sales, state park stickers, and recreational vehicle trail passes. With approximately 1 in 3 adults fully vaccinated in Wisconsin,

 

Evers said it is important for visitors to know they can be safe while traveling around the state.

 

Direct visitor spending saw a 28 percent drop in 2020 due to the pandemic, which amounts to approximately $4 billion. Evers previously pledged $50 million for the tourism industry and $600 million to support businesses affected by the pandemic as a part of the over $3 billion received from the latest federal government relief package.

 

 

Methner to leave Gibraltar

Gibraltar Secondary Principal Gereon Methner is saying goodbye to Gibraltar Secondary School after six years on the job.

 

Methner accepted the position of principal with Freedom Middle School last month after also being a finalist for the Florence County School District Superintendent position. He resigned his current post during last month's Gibraltar School Board meeting. The move to Freedom will bring Methner and his wife closer to family as their young son grows up. He says it was a hard decision for him to leave Gibraltar, but he also believes his successor will inherit a school that is in great shape.

Methner says he will look back fondly on his time at Gibraltar, especially when it comes to the staff and the families he interacted with during his tenure. He will finish out the school year as Gibraltar’s principal while the district and its school board look for his replacement.

 

The decision also means that the Ephraim Business Council will likely have to begin its own search for a new tourism coordinator as Methner’s wife Lane also departs.

 

METHNER'S ADVICE TO HIS SUCCESSOR

 

Kewaunee confirms key hire

The Kewaunee School District has a new superintendent after Scott Fritz accepted the position on Monday. After a lengthy interview process, Board President Brian Vogeltanz showed confidence in the hire, stating that the board was impressed with Fritz’s educational work history and dedication to smaller school districts, as well as his willingness to become part of the Kewaunee community. 

 

Fritz will be coming to the district after serving eleven years as the high school principal at Howards Grove. He was drawn to the family feeling of the small-town atmosphere and school district. Fritz begins the role on July 1st. 

 

Local traffic gets defined

The words “local traffic only” can seem loosely defined, and those three words came up at Tuesday’s Sturgeon Bay Common Council meeting. There, City Administrator Josh VanLieshout gave a definition to the phrase and the limitations along with it. 

 

 

VanLieshout added that not doing so unnecessarily puts workers at risk and delays project finish times. Issues with people not permitted to drive through work areas doing so is something city workers deal with each year. City Engineer Chad Shefchik said the issue requires a yearly public service announcement. He also said some drivers have a tendency to not use an alternate route unless something is “hard-closed.” VanLieshout expressed that he was happy with Shefchik making the city aware of the projects so far. VanLieshout said that the curb and gutter work happening around the city is in preparation for upcoming resurfacing. He highlighted Michigan Street as one area that he will be getting surfacing work started in the coming weeks.

 

"Direct communications" key to resolving Rodgers-Packers rift

A former Sturgeon Bay mediation expert says that both sides need to address the situation immediately for the Green Bay Packers to rectify a strained relationship with quarterback Aaron Rodgers.  Rodgers, who has reportedly told some within the organization that he does not want to return to Green Bay next season, has not publicly commented about the situation since the story broke on draft day last week. However, the Packers organization has said they will not trade Rodgers and believe he will be their starting quarterback this year.  Colleen Crocker-MacMillin, who practiced mediation for 20 years and was the mayor of Sturgeon Bay, shares what she would recommend resolving the conflict.

 

 

MacMillin adds that it is too easy for messages sent through social media and texting to be misconstrued.  She suggests that both parties tune out the outside “noise”.

 

 

Rodgers is reportedly upset with the Packer organization, namely General Manager Brian Gutekunst, for not renegotiating his current contract, drafting quarterback Jordan Love last year, and releasing wide receiver Jake Kumerow last fall.  

City council approves donation for picture point

As Sturgeon Bay continues to expand so does opportunities to add to the city’s beauty. Sturgeon Bay residents Chris Kellems and Beth Renstrom have been catalysts behind an idea to bring a Woolly mammoth sculpture to Sturgeon Bay’s leg of the Ice Age Trail. The Sturgeon Bay Common Council approved the donation of the sculpture upon funds being met. Kellems was attracted to bringing the mammoth to Sturgeon Bay, because the mammoth is a symbol of the Ice Age Trail. Kellems originally spotted the mammoth at the Edgewood Orchard Gallery in Fish Creek. She also knew as she laid eyes on the mammoth that she wanted to raise the money to buy the mammoth and move it to Sturgeon Bay. 

 

 

To begin fundraising, Kellems had to gain approval from multiple boards. While the project doesn’t yet have capital or a set spot behind it, Kellems said the idea has received overwhelming support including people pledging to donate. Destination Sturgeon Bay is even willing to handle the project’s funding. The city’s role is not confirmed yet, but will likely revolve around affording the mammoth with a site and site preparation. Common Council member Helen Bacon, who made the motion to approve funds, spoke about the fun that the mammoth sculpture will give people passing by.

 

 

The motion to approve the donation unanimously passed. Destination Sturgeon Bay is the recipient for all monetary donations.

.

Peninsula State Park getting updated

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources announced on Tuesday upgrades that will be noticed at Peninsula State Park this season. Improvements include new facilities, property upgrades, and reopening certain attractions. There will be four restroom additions or upgrades and a new sanitary station. There also will be an addition of a nature center. The campsites have also been given a makeover. The Eagle Bluff Lighthouse will be open for tours within two weeks and the Northern Sky Theater is opening June 14th. A complete list of upgrades and additions can be found below.

 

Three new COVID-19 cases

Door County Public Health confirmed three COVID-19 cases on Tuesday from the 23 tests performed.  The number of active cases remained at 61 with no new hospitalization or deaths reported. 

 

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services disclosed 721 positive tests of COVID-19 on Tuesday with 86 more hospitalizations and 11 deaths. 

 

On the vaccination front, 59.4 percent of Door County residents have received at least the first vaccine and 51 percent have been fully vaccinated.  In Kewaunee County, 36.7 percent of the residents have received at least the first vaccine and 32.1 percent are fully vaccinated.

 

J-1 Visa program at uncertain point

When it comes to the J-1 Visa Program, there are reasons for and against optimism says Door County Membership Director, Phil Berndt. After the pause on the J-1 Visa program was not extended earlier this year, hope grew that Door County businesses would get to fill their staffs with J-1 Visa students. Over fifty organizations, including Destination Door County, have petitioned for President Biden to direct the Department of State to immediately add J-1 cultural exchange applicants to the Department of State’s national interest priorities and to waive personal appearance for returned participants applying in the same category. Berndt shares that some countries have already started moving on J-1 appointments, creating careful optimism. 

 

 

Area businesses are optimistic that more consulates will open interview slots. However, Berndt notes there are still hurdles to clear.

 

 

Berndt hopes that more interview slots in time for the Summer. 

 

Technology aids rosary marathon

Catholic followers in northeast Wisconsin can pray right along with the Pope and other clergy members with a couple of clicks of the mouse. Pope Francis kicked off the month-long “Marathon of Prayer” on Saturday as believers recite the Holy Rosary in hopes of ending the COVID-19 pandemic. The Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization invited shrines around the world to join in the effort. It is nothing new for the National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in Champion, which has used its web presence to lead believers in the Holy Rosary while keeping particular intercessions in mind. The Shrine’s rector Father John Broussard says live-streaming their group rosary has been a great way to not just connect with pilgrims but to introduce people to the rosary.

The National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help hosts its group rosary on its Facebook page at 10:30 a.m. Monday through Saturday and at 6:30 p.m. A United States Conference of Catholic Bishops survey shows only 44 percent of Catholics pray the Rosary, most of which do it alone.

 

Picture courtesy of National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help

Weather cools down planting progress

Farmers in Door and Kewaunee counties are in a familiar spot when it comes to asking Mother Nature for a little help. Temperatures in the region have been eight to ten degrees below normal for this time of the year according to Wisconsin Farmer. The weekend warmup was a welcome sight, but it was short-lived as the cooler weather returned to start off this week. While it is still too cool for some crops to be planted, Adam Barta from Rio Creek Feed Mill says farmers are still taking advantage of the time and weather they have had so far.

The United States Department of Agriculture reports that 45 percent of the oat crop has been planted with 18 percent already emerging, which is a week earlier than last year. Barta says crops like triticale, winter wheat, and alfalfa overwintered well thanks to the milder than usual weather. He expects area farmers to hit full-throttle on their planting efforts in the coming weeks as things warm up.

Planting in to take invasives out

Over 250 trees and perennial plants were given out by the Door County Land Trust at Main Street Market last weekend with an ulterior motive in mind. The giveaway was the first of three weekends where the Door County Land Trust is celebrating “The Big Plant.” The Village of Egg Harbor and Crossroads at Big Creek have held similar events already this year. Cinnamon Rossman from the Door County Land Trust says the trees will hopefully replace the thousands of ash trees that have had to be removed due to Emerald Ash Borer infestation. She adds the removal of the ash trees has caused some unintended consequences that could be addressed by planting the trees and perennials.

The Door County Land Trust will be giving out additional trees and plants on May 8th at Southern Door School District and May 15th at their Sturgeon Bay headquarters. The events run from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

 

Photo by Dave Heilman and Door County Land Trust. The yellow coneflower is one of the options of plants people can choose from as a part of DCLT's Big Plant Initiative.

Increased awareness of motorcycles being stressed

With more motorcycles cruising on the roads in Wisconsin this spring, local law enforcement reminds drivers to be alert for the two-wheel vehicles, especially at intersections. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (Wis-DOT) reports that motorcycle crashes often occur when a car or truck driver changes lanes, turns left, or pulls out in front of a motorcycle. According to the DOT, motorcycle fatalities increased 40 percent in 2020 over the previous five-year average. There were over 2,000 motorcycle crashes last year in Wisconsin, resulting in 112 motorcycle-related deaths. Door County Sheriff Deputy Pat McCarty says all drivers must be aware and share the road equally.

 

 

May is National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.  More information from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation is below.

 

 

 

State Patrol reminds motorists to look twice, share the road with motorcycles

 

 

Motorcycle fatalities increased 40% in 2020 over the previous five years average. May is national “Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month” and the Wisconsin State Patrol is asking motorcyclists and all other motorists to share the road, be alert and safe. 2020 preliminary data for Wisconsin shows there were 2,095 motorcycle crashes, 1,788 motorcyclists injured and 112 motorcycle fatalities.

 

As warm weather returns, more motorcyclists will be on Wisconsin roads. “Drivers must be in the habit of looking for motorcyclists,” Wisconsin State Patrol Captain Ryan Chaffee said, “and motorcyclists should watch for other vehicles and get properly trained and licensed. Together we can save lives.”

 

Motorcycle crashes often occur when a car or truck driver changes lanes, turns left or pulls out in front of a motorcycle. Motorcycles are smaller and more difficult to see, especially in your blind spot. Failure to yield the right of way to another vehicle (state law 346.18) can result in a $175 citation, but penalties are much more severe if the violation results in someone getting injured or killed.

 

Motorcyclists can do their part by getting properly licensed, wearing visible and protective equipment, and carefully scanning ahead for potential hazards such as gravel, debris or wildlife in the roadway. 

 

Motorcyclists have two options to get the required Class M license: pass a motorcycle driving skills test after making an appointment at a Division of Motor Vehicles service center or successfully complete a WisDOT-approved rider education course. Motorcyclists who successfully complete an approved safety course earn a skills test waiver used to obtain their Class M license.

 

“Whether a person is brand new to motorcycling or a returning rider, a safety course is a wise investment,” Captain Chaffee said. “Safety along our roadways requires all drivers to share the road, watch their speed, eliminate distractions and be alert.”

Peninsula Title celebrates groundbreaking

The groundbreaking for a new building on Sturgeon Bay’s west side will take place on Tuesday morning.  Peninsula Title will be celebrating the building of a new office at the former Mandarin Garden Restaurant site.  Peninsula Title is a division of Bay Title & Abstract and is accommodating for additional growth.  Owner Jack May says the new location will offer more office space and additional parking.

 

 

The formal groundbreaking will be held at 11 AM Tuesday at 512 South Lansing Avenue in Sturgeon Bay.  Mayor David Ward will be on hand to make opening remarks before the ceremonial first shovels go into the ground.  Peninsula Title is currently operating business at 1242 Green Bay Road.

 

(photo submitted)

L-R:  Henry Isaksen, Mayor David Ward, Paul Shefchik, Jack May, Holly Tlachac, Joel Daoust, Jon May, Justin May, Jamie Albert, front row: Brinkley

Five more COVID-19 cases

Door County Public Health reported five positive cases of COVID-19 out of 43 tests performed on Monday. The number of active cases went up three, with two probable cases noted. There was one new hospitalization but no deaths. In Door County, 59.3 percent of residents have had a dose of the vaccine, and 50.9 percent are fully vaccinated. 

 

Kewaunee County has 36.7% of residents with at least one vaccine dose and 32 percent are fully vaccinated.

 

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services showed a decline in new positive tests of the coronavirus with 349 on Monday and no deaths reported.  

 

Littering hits Algoma park again

A new form of pickup basketball at Perry Park in Algoma will be needed soon to keep the hoops available at the park.  A littering problem has put that recreational sport in jeopardy.  Sara Robertson, Director of Parks & Recreation, says garbage issues have plagued the park the past few years, especially in the spring.  Last year the parks department locked the gates for two weeks and the littering got better.  Robertson says the solution is quite simple, just pick up after yourself or others. 

 

 

Robertson adds that if the trash problem does not improve, the basketball hoops will be removed for a period of time.  Placing cameras in the park has been discussed as a possible solution in the past but funding has been an issue. 

 

(photo courtesy of Algoma Parks & Recreation)

Pandemic takes bite out of tourism

Counties across the state saw up to 30 percent less direct visitor spending in 2020 due to the pandemic. Direct visitor spending in Door County dropped 18.77 percent from 2019 to $304.2 million. It also saw double-digit percentage declines in other tourism indicators such as total business sales and taxes collected. Door County still was a top seven destination according to the state’s numbers. Jon Jarosh from Destination Door County says despite the dip, the numbers show the importance of tourism to the area.

Kewaunee County saw a 10.22 percent drop in its direct visitor spending in 2020 over the previous year to $22 million. Kewaunee County Director of Tourism Jennifer Gonzalez says outdoor recreation opportunities helped keep the area afloat.

Both Jarosh and Gonzalez are encouraged by what 2021 could bring to their respective counties as more people get vaccinated and some popular attractions and events return after a pandemic-riddled 2020. As a state, Wisconsin saw a 28 percent drop in direct visitor spending in 2020, down to $8.8 billion.  May 2nd-8th is National Travel and Tourism Week.

New Agropur permit gets public hearing

The general public will get their opportunity to weigh in on the re-issuance of a pollution discharge permit for Agropur’s Luxemburg cheese plant.

 

According to the permit’s fact sheet on the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ website, Agropur has applied for a multi-discharger variance (MDV) for phosphorus for the upcoming five-year term. Under the variance pre-approved by the DNR, Agropur will be required to report the total amount of phosphorus it discharges into a tributary of the East Twin River each month and at the end of the year. The company would have to pay $54.99 per pound of phosphorus discharged during the previous year in excess of the target value of 0.2 mg/L to Brown, Manitowoc, and Kewaunee counties.  The East Twin River is listed as an impaired waterway by the DNR.

 

The public hearing for the re-issuance of the pollution discharge permit for Agropur will take place virtually on May 10th at 10 a.m.

Final food box distribution this week

Door County residents will be able to take advantage of the Farmers to Food Box events one final time this week. The United States Department of Agriculture is ending the program nationwide as it looks to the next stage of handling the needs brought on by the pandemic. Events at the Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Station and the Door County Fairgrounds will start at 4 p.m. on Friday and at the Washington Island Fire Department a little bit later that day at 4:30 p.m. With assistance from the Door County Food Pantry Coalition, the Door County Fire Chiefs Association, and Feed America, the program has distributed thousands of boxes to families in need. United Way of Door County Executive Director Amy Kohnle is thankful for the volunteers that showed up to help make sure local residents got what they needed.

Until the USDA develops another program, Kohnle reminds residents that they can visit any of the nine members of the Door County Food Pantry Coalition to donate or pick up items when they are in need.

 

 

Live Algoma meets their biggest fan

Representatives from the 5 Healthy Towns Foundation in Michigan left the Algoma School District facilities last month in awe and hopes to do more.

 

Much like Live Algoma, the Five Healthy Towns Foundation is a group representing Stockbridge, Chelsea, Dexter, Grass Lake, and Manchester in search of improving the overall health of their communities. The representatives got to see firsthand many of the businesses and organizations Live Algoma partners with such as The AbiliTees Project and MCC Color Label. Algoma School District

 

Director of Improvement & Community Engagement Teal Van Lanen says the organization has been following Live Algoma’s work for some time.

 

 

Van Lanen says representatives from Algoma are already planning a return trip later this month. She hopes the two organizations can team up for initiatives that could include youth exchange programs.

 

 

 

Watering key for early spring plant care

The planting in flower beds and gardens of annuals may be a few weeks away, but homeowners can start getting their perennial plants looking better right now. Larry Maas of Maas Floral & Greenhouse in Sturgeon Bay shares a few tips on tending to perennials to help them thrive and grow this spring.

 

 

Maas adds that watering plants is essential in early spring for perennials especially considering how dry weather conditions have been lately.  He notes that fertilizing is best done when plants show a little growth on them.  

Closures heading to Sturgeon Bay

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation will be fully closing separate bridges this week. On Monday, May 3rd, the Michigan Street Bridge will have a full closure from 7 AM to 4 PM. Beginning Tuesday and going through Thursday, the Bayview Bridge will be under daily full closures from 7 AM to 3 PM. Traffic will use signed detours and the bridges will be open to marine traffic. 

 

There will also be street closures from Monday until Thursday. At 7 AM on Monday gas line construction will close South Neenah Avenue between East Pine Street and South Oxford Avenue until 5 PM on Thursday. The area will be open to local traffic only during that time. Travelers are asked to avoid these blocks when possible and to be mindful of workers.

 

SBBT adopts new release method for fishing tournament

The catch-photo-release method utilized last summer in national fishing competitions held in Door County has the Sturgeon Bay Bass Tournament implementing the practice for their upcoming event. The immediate release of the fish consists of measuring and weighing the catch on the boat using bump boards and weigh scales and uploading a photo to a mobile app before putting the fish back into the water. The old catch-hold-release format required the fish to be transported after hours in live wells and then released after being weighed on land. That method caused fish to be taken off their spawning sites and create more stress before their release back into the water. SBBT President and Tournament Director Gary Nault says the new weighing procedure was an easy decision for the committee to enact this year.

 

 

The Sturgeon Bay Bass Tournament begins next Thursday with a first-ever practice competition that will payout the top three positions. Nault says event organizers estimated that the economic impact of the two Major League Fishing tournaments held in Door County last year was about $5 million over two weeks.  You can listen to the entire interview with Gary Nault on the podcast page at DoorCountyDailyNews.com. 

 

(photo courtesy of NPAA.net)

YMCA, DCMC merging for senior event

The Door County YMCA will be taking a day to specifically address the health and wellness of senior citizens in the coming week. To keep people safe, the YMCA will be offering the annual Senior Health and Wellness Day virtually on Wednesday. The day will cover several topics, with programs ranging from memory and mindfulness, joint replacement, diabetes prevention, livestrong program for those who’ve battled cancer, fall prevention, and their arthritis program. Senior Director of Healthy Living at the Door County YMCA, Mary McHugh, was appreciative of Door County Medical Center’s willingness to sponsor the May 5th event. 

 

 

Another benefit is that the program is free of charge. 

Heeringa Honored

This Crossroads at Big Creek announced that they founded the Coggin Heeringa Research and Education Endowment Fund to honor one of Door County’s influential members. The endowment funds will be used to contribute to ongoing research. 

 

While Crossroads has other endowments through their community foundation, they wanted one specifically for their research and education, and wanted to honor Heeringa in some way. They were able to merge these two ambitions, and Executive Director Laurel Hauser appreciates that the endowment will be a permanent fixture with Heeringa’s name forever attached to it. Hauser also appreciates the mark Heeringa has left so far at Crossroads. 

 

 

Heeringa spent two decades as the Executive Director until last year when she moved into the role of Program Director and Naturalist. People can visit the fund here.

 

Gunman, two others dead at Oneida Casino shooting

Three people, including the gunman, are dead and one person is seriously injured after a shooting at Oneida Casino in Green Bay Saturday night.  An active shooter was reportedly called into the Brown County Sheriff’s Office at 7:28 pm Saturday evening.  According to the Brown County Sheriff’s Office, the suspect has employment ties to the Oneida Casino and the shooting was targeted.  Two of the three victims are reportedly employees at Oneida Casino.  The critically injured person was airlifted to a Milwaukee hospital, according to Fox 11 News.  The shooting remains under investigation and more details will be released on Sunday.  

 

 

 

Gov. Evers Releases Statement Regarding Shooting at Oneida Casino Complex

 

MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers tonight released the following statement regarding the shooting at the Oneida Casino complex:

“Kathy and I were devastated to hear about the shooting at the Oneida Casino complex tonight. Our hearts, thoughts, and support go out to the Oneida Nation, the Ashwaubenon and Green Bay communities, and all those affected by this tragedy.

“While we are waiting for more information, we hope and pray those who were injured will recover and are grateful for the first responders who quickly responded to the situation.”

Digital coupons impacting local supermarkets

The redemption of coupons at grocery stores is prominently going the way of digital in the past year.  According to Inmar’s Promotion Industry Analysis, online coupons in 2020 were redeemed more than the traditional printed paper inserts for the first time ever.  Tadych’s Econofoods Store Manager Jon Calhoun says the convenience and efficiency that digital coupons and apps offer are reasons he expects the trend to grow in the future.  He says the process can occur before shoppers head to the checkouts.

 

 

Calhoun adds that coupon redemption has remained strong throughout the pandemic and that people always enjoy saving money.  Consumers are becoming more digitally savvy and 69 percent of shoppers reported that using a coupon changed how they decided to purchase items during the last quarter of 2020.  

Brussels Lions recognized

This week, the Brussels Lions Club was paid a visit by District Governor Lion Amy Quig as she presented multiple awards. The top honor a Lions Club member can receive was awarded to Brussels Lions Secretary, Penny Wautier. She was presented the Melvin Jones Fellowship, named after the Lions Club founder, which goes to a club member who has gone above and beyond in their role. Wautier said she doesn’t like to be a bragger, but she did feel honored. 

 

 

At the presentation, Ron Delwiche was also awarded a 55-year membership chevron for his years of serving with the Lions. Wautier referenced the history of the Lions, saying it’s a big reason she tries to get younger generations involved. Wautier also showed gratitude for the presence of Quig, who made the trip from Pickerel to speak to the Lions Club. 

 

Senate candidate speaks on clean water, tourism

U.S. Senator Ron Johnson has a new opponent who’s recently thrown her hat in the ring. Wisconsin Treasurer Sarah Godlewski is running for the Senate seat, and has spent the last two weeks making stops around the state, including the northeast end. While discussing the great lakes, she discussed her and Johnson’s opposite viewpoints on the climate change argument. 

 

 

She also discussed her high regard for public education. Godlewski talked about her firsthand experience seeing the digital divide in public schools when schools went to remote learning. Godlewski also touched on Door County and Wisconsin’s tourism industry. She mentioned that she felt like the tourism industry has been underfunded, even through the CARES Act. 

 

 

Godlewski has been the treasurer since 2019, and resides in Eau Claire.

 

New "surf rake" purchased for Crescent Beach

The Algoma Public Works department took care of cleaning up Crescent Beach this past week as it waited for a new piece of equipment called a “surf rake” to arrive.  Workers gathered and burned a considerable amount of driftwood on Tuesday that had washed up on the beach this spring due to higher lake levels.


Algoma Public Works Director Matt Murphy says the city purchased a new beach cleaner thanks to a grant.  The pull-behind “surf rake” grooms a six-foot path that takes care of all types of debris on the beach.

 

 

Murphy adds that the City of Two Rivers is currently using the same surf rake model Algoma purchased.  The unit costs roughly $50,000 and will be used approximately two to three times a month to maintain Crescent Beach throughout the year.

 

 

(photo courtesy of galvanizeit.org) 

SeaPerch swims on at Washington Island

Students at Washington Island School are depending on robots like Bubbles and Pablo to help them earn a berth in an international competition.

 

With support from the Door County Maritime Museum for the second year in a row, Washington Island School competed in a virtual SeaPerch competition over Zoom on Friday in hopes of qualifying for the international challenge in June.

 

SeaPerch is an aquatic robot students build before unleashing them into the water where they have to navigate an obstacle course and complete a mission.

 

Washington Island expanded the program to involve more students this year, which allowed members of last year’s team to mentor the others. Teacher Miranda Dahlke says it was great to see that they applied what they learned last year to their new robots.

 

 

The SeaPerch program emphasizes science, technology, engineering, and math concepts. Technology education teacher Matt LeBrun says the students also learned a lot about problem-solving as they experimented a little more with some of the robot’s different features.

 

Washington Island is the only local school competing in this year’s SeaPerch competition. Last year, Sevastopol won the regional competition at Southwest High School in Green Bay. The pandemic prevented them from competing in the international competition at the University of Maryland.

 

Screenshot is from Friday's competition on Zoom

Church continues to provide service options

No matter how you choose to worship at Tanum Forest Lutheran Church, Pastor Peter Mannoja is happy you are simply choosing to do so. The Sturgeon Bay area church opened its door for services in the beginning of April, one of the last congregations to do so. Opening those doors did not mean Tanum Forest Lutheran Church began abandoning its members who did not feel comfortable returning.

 

Mannoja still celebrates drive-in services in the church’s parking lot on Saturdays and his message is still streamed online. He believes the success of the church as a sense of normalcy continues to grow is because his congregation has options.

 

 

Mannoja is happy members have been able to return so he can see in real-time how the church’s message resonates with them. He credits the church’s task force with developing a plan that is flexible with how the pandemic impacts the community.

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