News Archives for 2021-06

YMCA getting artistic

The Door County YMCA is getting diverse with children’s art offerings this summer. The YMCA is starting their Youth Art Camp series which is held on Fridays. The camp attempts to reach multiple age cohorts, as it’s available to children ages four and up. Marketing Director for the Door County YMCA Amy Gamble said that there are activities to reach people with all sorts of artistic interests. 



The Friday sessions last a half day. Gamble pointed out that the YMCA website will show guardians more information on Art Camp. According to the series, sessions are held until August 27th. 


Northern Door County road construction completed

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation announced that finishing touches were put on a $2.68 million project to make northern Door County transportation smoother. According to a press release from the DOT, all major construction on Wisconsin State Highway 42 from Scandia Road to Wisconsin Bay Road in the town of Liberty Grove and the village of Sister Bay has been completed. The project also reached goals, finishing on time and within its budget. The 9.6-mile project included milling and resurfacing, and added gravel to shoulders and pavement markings.

Bald Eagle numbers soar

One of the most prevalent symbols for the United States has made a strong comeback in the last forty years across the country and in northeast Wisconsin. Bald Eagles, which remain protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, have seen their population grow in the state since 1974. The last time the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources got to fully survey the numbers was in 2019 and there were 1684 occupied nests in the state and 21 in Door County. DNR Biologist Jacob Koebernick states that the public plays an important role in nest watching and reporting efforts. Koebernick says they’ll have a couple new nests in Door County to check out next year. 



Koebernick credits public awareness and waterway clean-up efforts for going a long way in improving the eagles’ ecology as well as eliminating use of certain pesticides like DDT. He adds that it’s not just symbolism that makes Bald Eagles important to Wisconsin’s ecosystem



Other ways the public can help are by being an Adopt an Eagle Nest Program donor or by being an Endangered Resources License Plate holder, in which some proceeds go to eagle habitat conservation.


Communities and government continue to support families in need

Throughout the past year, Door and Kewaunee county communities have shown their generosity through continued donations to their pantries. Ken Marquardt, the director of the Kewaunee County Food Pantry describes the difference donations have made.



Similarly, Estella Huff, the director of Feed and Clothe my People Door County says the impact of donations on their pantry has been a positive one.



In addition to the widespread donations of both counties, both federal and state governments have given support to families through increased food stamps as well as increased amounts on Quest cards. With this support from the government and local food pantries, it has become easier for families to get the food they need.

City of Sturgeon Bay quickly takes care of business

Tuesday’s City of Sturgeon Bay Common Council meeting began with a different face calling the meeting to order, as Council President Dan Williams sat in for Mayor David Ward who was not in attendance. The meeting’s first item was taken care of when the consent agenda was approved.


The council passed the first reading of an ordinance repealing and recreating Section 5.01 of the Municipal Code -- Composition. This ordinance would put in code the Sturgeon Bay Police Department restructure, adding an Assistant Chief of Police position and erasing the Lieutenant position. 


The Council approved the first reading of an ordinance repealing and recreating Section 10.02 of the Municipal Code -- Carrying a concealed weapon prohibited. This is to help the city clean up their current ordinance to be more in line with the state statute. If this ordinance is signed it would officially read “No person, except a peace officer or concealed carry permit holder, shall carry on his/her person any dangerous or electronic weapon.” 


In the City Administrator Report, Josh VanLieshout said that garbage collection times have been altered because the city’s garbage truck has experienced mechanical issues. This has caused the city to rent a truck from Green Bay. VanLieshout asked city residents to bear with the city as they await their new truck that is expected to come in the fall. He also mentioned that the Otumba Park project is moving along as hoped and is expecting it to be finished at the end of the month. He added that he hopes to have a ribbon cutting ceremony after the project is finished. VanLieshout also gave an update on the potential lodging tax increase that the city approved. He said that he visited with other Door County communities to speak about the tax, and feels there’s a good chance the increase from a 5.5% rate to 8% will move forward. 


There was no Mayor’s report. 


Area marinas vow cleanliness

Marinas in Door and Kewaunee County have been recognized by the Wisconsin Clean Marina program in the last two weeks. SkipperBud’s Harbor Club Marina in Sturgeon Bay was recertified this week as a Wisconsin Clean Marina, showing that it has maintained clean-boating techniques since its initial certification in 2010. Harbor Club Assistant Manager Taylor Eggener said in a press release, “The biggest improvement we have made is trying to educate our fellow boaters and water enthusiasts on what they can do to help protect our waterways.”  The Wisconsin Clean Marina Program is a voluntary program, committing to adopting the best management practices in order to reduce pollution and improve water quality.


The program’s first step is to sign the pledge to become a Wisconsin Clean Marina program and then employ best practices. The City of Kewaunee Marina took the pledge last week. 


For staff to be fully certified as a Wisconsin Clean Marina, ports must get checked and meet a certain amount of qualifications on a checklist. Other Door County marinas have taken the pledge. This is the program’s first expansion into Kewaunee County. Wisconsin Clean Marina Program Director Theresa Qualls hopes they continue both on the shoreline and inward.



Some practices that gained popularity in recent years are constructing pollinator gardens, rain gardens, and reducing plastic wastes. The list of pledged and certified marinas in Kewaunee and Door County can be found through this link


New look and more runners needed for the Crossroads Annual Trail Run

This year’s Crossroads Trail run will look a bit differently from previous races. The run will be taking place this weekend on June 19th beginning at 9:00. Gretchen Schmelzer, the director of the race, describes why this year’s race will be different from past years.



In addition to those changes there will also be a staggered start time for the people who chose to run on location. This difference will make it easier for those who want to social distance during the race. All people who complete the race between 8:00am and 12:00pm on June 19th will receive a native  tree sapling at the Collins Learning Center. Schmelzer said that in normal years this event brings 400 people in, however this year they are only expecting 300. There is still time to register for people interested. Registration is open online, people will also be able to register in person on the 19th before the event begins. More information is available at the crossroads trail run website.

Door and Kewaunee County pose fire dangers

You will have to be extra careful before burning in Door and Kewaunee County for the time being. Both counties are considered to be in moderate fire danger. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has responded to 765 wildfires just this year, which has burned over 1900 acres. Precautions include checking recent debris burns for smoldering embers and to be mindful of breezy conditions that can cause flames to rekindle. Gibraltar Fire Chief Andy Bertges stresses the need for burners to prepare their burn site.



He adds that if the county hits high or extreme danger they’ll limit open burning. Fire conditions change daily and are typically posted to the DNR website at 11:00 AM daily. The majority of Wisconsin counties are considered to be high fire dangers as of Tuesday. Other precautions as listed by the DNR are listed below.


  • Operate equipment (chainsaws, off-road vehicles, lawn mowers, etc.) early in the morning or late in the day to avoid sparks at peak burn hours.
  • Secure dragging trailer chains.
  • Delay having campfires until the evening hours as fire conditions tend to improve; keep them small and contained.
  • Report fires early, dial 911.


(Photos from Wisconsin DNR)

Algoma green lights ATVs and UTVs

Just as summer is getting into full swing, the city of Algoma has officially updated their legal transportation methods. ATVs and UTVs can now be driven in city streets with posted speed limits of 35 mph or lower. Drivers must be at least 16 years old and have a valid drivers licence, have liability insurance and drivers born after January 1st of 1988 must finish an ATV safety course. Algoma Police Chief Randy Remiker urges drivers to display awareness. 



Exceptions to the new rule apply as ATV/UTV vehicles aren’t allowed at city parks, Crescent Beach, and the marina. Details of the city’s ATV/UTV ordinance passed by the city council can be found in the Algoma Municipal Code section 44-61. 


Birch Creek prepares for first concert

For the first time since August 2019, music will fill the air for a concert at Birch Creek Music Performance Center in Egg Harbor. After the pandemic canceled their in-person programming in 2020, students and staff attending Birch Creek’s percussion and steel band session began coming in on Sunday for two weeks of instruction and concerts. Birch Creek Music Performance Center Executive Director Mona Christensen says they are taking precautions to make sure their campers stay safe in accordance with current guidelines.

This week has already been a reunion for staff members and students, but Christensen says she has already heard from visitors excited for live music once again.

Birch Creek’s opening night performance on Thursday for the percussion and steel band session is sold out, but space is still available for its five other concerts as well as their symphony and big band jazz shows. You can hear our full discussion with Christensen online on our podcasts page.

Liberty Grove to consider short-term rental ordinance

The Town of Liberty Grove will make its decision on how it handles short-term rental properties when its board meets on Wednesday. The ordinance is one of many that has circulated through different county municipalities as the number of property owners listing their homes on tourist rooming house platforms like Airbnb and Vrbo increases. The ordinance would require anyone renting their homes for more than 10 days a year to acquire a license from the Door County Tourism Zone and meet all related state statutes. Town chairperson John Lowry says the biggest difference between their ordinance and one currently under discussion in Sevastopol is their approach to a home’s septic holding tank.

If approved, Lowry would likely hire Granicus to help oversee the town’s short-term housing properties to make sure they are complying. The Town of Liberty Grove will also be looking to update its masking policies when it meets on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at its town hall.  The Town of Sevastopol will discuss its STR ordinance at a meeting to be held on June 21st.

Bridge closure begins Wednesday

Motorists using County Highway C over the Kewaunee River will have to find a different route beginning on Wednesday. The Kewaunee County Highway Department is closing County Highway C between County Highway FF and County Highway L to perform bridge rehabilitation work for the span that crosses the Kewaunee River. Motorists can use County Highways B and F as detour routes during the construction work, which is expected to last about two months.

Missing boater found dead

A Green Bay man that went missing after a Sunday night storm caused his boat to capsize has been found dead. According to Green Bay media reports, the body of 28-year-old Jorge Bautista was discovered by two kayakers at approximately 4 p.m. Monday after he went missing late Sunday night. Strong winds and heavy rain caused Bautista's boat to capsize near Vincent Point in the Bay of Green Bay at approximately 9:30 p.m. Sunday night, causing him and six others to go overboard. The other six individuals were rescued late Sunday night before the search for Bautista was called off at 1 a.m.

Protecting yourself from Swimmers Itch

As the area beaches become even more of an attraction this summer, public health officials remind people to take added precautions to remain healthy after swimming in lakes and other bodies of water. An itchy rash, known as swimmers itch, can be caused by an allergic reaction after leaving the water. Door County Sanitarian and Health Educator Chelsea Smies notes the easy way to prevent the condition.



Swimmers itch is also known as cercarial dermatitis and is most common in freshwater lakes and ponds. Smies notes that the medical condition may be uncomfortable but usually clears up in a few days. Swimmers itch shows up as itchy, red welts, and the level of irritation can vary on the number of flatworms that get into your skin.

Kewaunee County looks to approve park repair funds

The replacement of the damaged roadway and parking areas at a county park near Dyckesville will be one of the main agenda items at Tuesday’s Kewaunee County Board meeting.  Acting on a committee recommendation, the Kewaunee County Board of Supervisors will be discussing the transfer of funds to address the Red River County Park repairs.  Board Chair Dan Olson credits Park Director Dave Myers with bringing forward the plan to resolve the damage caused by Green Bay's record high water levels.



The Promotion and Recreation Department is seeking $31,700 from the contingency fund to make the repairs to the roadway and parking area.  Other resolutions covered Tuesday include increased County Child Support Funding and Approval of the sale of Tax Deed Parcels to the City of Kewaunee.  Tuesday’s meeting begins at 6 pm at the Kewaunee County Administration Center.         

Door County highways avoid "heat buckling" damage

The extremely high temperatures experienced last week in the area did not cause any road damages caused by heat buckling, according to Door County Highway Commissioner Thad Ash.  The Wisconsin Department of Transportation reported last week that 68 roadways around the state had experienced partial or full road closures due to crumbling pavement brought on by the heat.  Ash believes that area roads have been spared any buckling because of the relatively dry weather conditions.



Ash adds the first sign of a road buckling is when the “tenting” effect causes pavement to heave up due to moisture from under the concrete and subsequent high temperatures.  The DOT reported 163 cases of pavement buckling in 2020. 

Eagle Bluff Lighthouse, historical society renew lease

A long-standing relationship between the Eagle Bluff Lighthouse and the Door County Historical Society will continue until 2036 after a new 15-year lease was announced on Monday.


The Door County Historical Society has partnered with the United States Coast Guard, Bureau of Land Management, and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources in preserving the over 150-year-old structure ever since it was saved from an uncertain fate in 1960. The lighthouse has since been an attraction inside Peninsula State Park thanks to restoration efforts and guided tours. With grand plans for the lighthouse on the horizon, Door County Historical Society Executive Director Bailey Koepsel says she is happy the relationship will continue.

The site operates as a museum between May and October and still serves as a functional navigational aid for those crossing the Strawberry Channel.


Picture of Executive Director Bailey Koepsel at Eagle Bluff Lighthouse, courtesy Cody LaCrosse

Chester comes home

After over a week of searching, a lost dog and his Sturgeon Bay owner have finally found each other again. Chester was found early Monday morning on the Bay View Bridge by Abby Heimbecher’s mother on her way to teach classes at the Door County YMCA. Heimbecher’s mom opened the door to her car and Chester jumped in willingly. It was a happy ending to a stressful time for Heimbecher, who had posted signs up around town and went to social media in hopes of help. She says with help from Finding Toby Inc., a Suamico-based missing dog organization, they were able to fine-tune their search efforts.

Heimbecher says there were times when she and her family almost gave up, but she stressed the importance of sticking with it.

As for Chester, he was back home sleeping as of Monday morning after a big welcome home meal. Chester is also preparing for a visit with the vet to make sure he is ok after his week traveling across the city. Heimbecher added that Chester has always been a bit of a runner and says a GPS tracking chip is in his future.




Storms knock out power, cause fire calls

A storm that rolled across Door County Sunday evening made for a busy night for local fire departments and Wisconsin Public Service. According to the Door County Dispatch report released Monday morning, there were approximately a dozen reports of trees and wires down due to the storm that packed with it high winds and heavy rain. The Egg Harbor Fire Department attended to three different fire calls between 6:15 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. all related to the storm. Fire Chief Andy Staats says their work was primarily to secure the scene until WPS could arrive.

Staats reminds residents that if they do see a downed power line to avoid the area and to call the authorities since the wire could be live. The storm is also to blame for a boat that capsized south of Bay Shore Park in Brown County. One person was still missing as of early Monday morning.



Boater still missing in bay

Emergency personnel will likely head back to the Bay of Green Bay on Monday in search of one last boater after rescuing several others Sunday night.


According to several Green Bay news media outlets, a boat capsized near Vincent Point located south of Bay Shore County Park at approximately 9:30 p.m. Crews from the Brown County Sheriff’s Office, Green Bay Police Department, Green Bay Fire Department, New Franken Fire Department, and the United States Coast Guard responded to the incident. Six of the seven people on board have already been rescued including five adults and one child. The boat has also been recovered. Search and rescue crews stopped their search at approximately 1 a.m.


The National Weather Service advised boaters at around 7:30 p.m. to head to safe harbors as 50 mile per hour winds accompanied a line of thunderstorms. 


Picture from Pixabay

Storm to bear down on Door County

The  National Weather Service is asking boaters on the bay and Lake Michigan to head to safe harbors due to a line of thunderstorms hitting the area Sunday evening. Isolated storms are heading southeast along the Wisconsin/Upper Michigan border at 50 miles per hour. Strong, gusty winds and hail could be a part of the storms. The National Weather Service states the severe weather pattern could also affect other parts of Brown, Door, and Kewaunee counties until midnight on Sunday.



Door County Humane Society continues pet health initiative

The Humane Society is holding an event at the Humane Society campus in Sturgeon Bay for just the second time this year to help people get their pets up to date on shots. On June 24th, there will be a low-cost pet vaccination clinic at the Door County campus where they’ll offer a variety of routine shots and even a microchip for pets. The Marketing Coordinator for the Door County Humane Society campus Shaina Allen said they decided to set up the clinic in Sturgeon Bay after the first one went well earlier this year. Allen hopes the effort continues to be well received so that they can continue these types of events. She says it also serves as a reminder for others to update their pets vaccinations. 



The Humane Society is asking appointments to be made in advance. More details can be found following this link.


YMCA peaking north

A kids program that has evolved into a popular class over the years for the Door County YMCA is heading north this summer. Three days a week the Northern Door YMCA will have the Peak Performance strength and conditioning clinic for the season. Member Service Director Megan Schneider says the addition to the summer regimen will benefit kids who haven’t found their preferred fitness method. She adds that it can be an educational tool for those who are new to finding a workout routine.


The Northern Door YMCA will also be exploring with off-site courses. They’ll conduct beach yoga in Ephraim and Sister Bay in the summer.


Public asked for directional input by DDC

Board members with Destination Door County are doing their due diligence in finding a replacement for departing CEO Jack Moneypenny, but on Friday went outside the board and Executive Committee for help. The organization is asking residents to share their thoughts on the directions they could go. The public's input is especially valued as DDC tweaks their identity. The press release states they are changing from a Destination Marketing organization to a Destination Management and Marketing organization. The input from the public will contribute to internal discussions, which the head of the search committee, Todd Trimberger, notes are very active.



There is no set deadline for a hire to be made. Door County residents can fill out the form here.


Dry weather causing worry

Farmers are looking to the sky for a little extra help as northeastern Wisconsin continues to go through its dry spell. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, farmers were able to work in the fields on average six of the seven days last week thanks to dry weather, which allowed some farmers to cut hay and replant some crops damaged by cooler weather late last month. Now farmers in some parts of Wisconsin worry things may be too dry. UW-Madison climate researcher Christopher Kucharik told PBS Wisconsin recently that the state is running a three to a seven-inch deficit of precipitation going back to the spring. Parts of southern Wisconsin are currently in some stages of either moderate or severe drought according to the U.S. drought monitor website. Door and Kewaunee counties are currently listed as being abnormally dry. As a result, some operators like Aissen Tree Farm outside of Luxemburg are irrigating their crops for the first time in years.



Hillside Apples owner Bill Roethle says his trees are still in good shape, but they could use a little help.

Roethle suggests that even though some varieties may be shorter in supply this year that the warm weather will help the crop progress nicely. Farmers may get a little help with at least a 20 percent chance of rain on Saturday and Sunday according to the National Weather Service.



Mentor Door County launches new program

Mentor Door county has partnered with We are HOPE Inc. to launch a program for young women between 18 and 30. This program will support these young women in educational opportunities, career support, online programs, and one-on-one mentoring. The hope for this program is to help young women in Door County find their strengths and give them support from mentoring relationships. Dina Boettcher, a member of the advisory team, explains that this program is designed for women seeking guidance for their future and need resources to go into the next steps of their lives.



For more information about this program or to register for events as a mentor or mentee, visit Mentor Door County’s Facebook or Instagram page. People interested in this program can reach out through social media or directly email Mentor Door county at

Traffic to be altered for new asphalt

Another leg of road work will impact your commute in Sturgeon Bay beginning on Wednesday, June 16th. City Engineer Chad Shefchik said that they are in the home stretch of the city’s road work for the season. Wednesday marks the start of asphalt pavement replacements to select roads. Crews will be removing existing roadway asphalt, final grading of the existing roadway base, adjusting heights of manholes and water valves, and installing new asphalt pavement at the locations listed below. 


Shefchik made a tentative order of the roads that will be worked on in a letter to residents.



Shefchik also stated that starting Wednesday access to the roadway from certain points will be limited from 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM. He also asked that people needing to get out of their driveway during those times plan to park on other streets in the area. Traffic and parking restrictions will be in place until new asphalt pavement is installed. The project times are subject to change based on weather conditions. 


Algoma celebrating boardwalk birthday

Twenty-five years ago Algoma received a boost of beauty with the Crescent Beach Boardwalk, and things are getting more normal just in time to give the boardwalk a proper celebration. On June 22nd, Friends of Crescent Beach and the public will celebrate its 25th anniversary. It will be a celebration with speakers and an ice cream social. It will also be the first chance since the pandemic began that people can listen to the Algoma Community Band, which made FOCB feel even more honored. 


The original project cost six digits to complete, and FOCB Event Committee Coordinator Sarah Krouse appreciated the efforts by those who began the venture.



Krouse found it amazing that little maintenance has needed to be done in its 25 years of existence, and they also have continued to raise funds so the city can keep the boardwalk in good condition. If the anniversary party needs to be rescheduled, the built-in date is the 23rd. 


Help of Door County shares concerns surrounding elder abuse

With Door County having the fastest growing elder population in the state, Help of Door County is reaching out as Elder Abuse Awareness Day approaches next Tuesday. Executive Director Milly Gonzales says that with one-third of Door County residents aged 65 or older, the area is more susceptible to elder abuse issues. She shares examples of ways the elderly can be abused.



Gonzales adds that she has seen situations where pets or money were taken away from the elderly. In addition, elder abuse can be done by someone else in the home outside of the family, like a caretaker. She notes that red flags can include signs of depression, including less social involvement and personal upkeep. Suppose you suspect someone is a victim of elder abuse. In that case, Gonzales recommends you to reach out to Help of Door County or Adult Protective Services at the Aging & Disability Resource Center in Sturgeon Bay.

Downtown Sturgeon Bay stays busy with movies in the Park

The city of Sturgeon Bay held the first Movie in the Park for 2021 showing an audience full of families the film Yogi Bear. The weather cooperated for the event bringing sun and a full crowd as Friday’s film event kicked off a biweekly series. The next park movie will be shown on June 25th.


Recently Martin Park was the host venue for the first Fine Art Fair in two years and the host venue for the in-person Harmony by the Bay series. 


Shibler chases cheese success

Even with a few accolades already to his credit, Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy Cheese Manager Ben Shibler says there is still plenty for him to accomplish. Shibler was helping package cheese at a plant in Denmark before he decided to give cheesemaking a try. In 2016, Shibler joined Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy shortly after constructing its on-site cheese plant. What stood out to Shibler was the ability to be on the ground floor of something new and working with milk being produced approximately 60 feet of pipe away.

Since coming aboard, Shibler has been a part of nine award-winning cheese entries, its most recent win at the 2019 U.S. Cheese Championship for its Farmstead Fiesta String Cheese. Shibler is now actively working on his Master Cheesemaker designation in mozzarella. The Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker course is one of the few such programs in the world and takes approximately three years to complete. Joining the ranks of other local cheesemakers like Roger Krohn, Pat Doell, and Chris Renard means a lot to Shibler.

In addition to finishing his Master Cheesemaker designation next spring, Shibler hopes to one day craft a cheese recipe unique enough to be considered an original to not just the United States but also to Wisconsin. Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy will have a number of cheese varieties get judged at the Wisconsin State Fair Dairy Products competition, which will be judged later this month.


Pictures courtesy of Pagel's Ponderosa Dairy

Best Places to Kayak in Door County:  Everywhere!

Last week on the Kayaking in Wisconsin Facebook page, someone asked where the best places to kayak in Door County.  I answered, “everywhere”, and then gave some of my favorites.  Yes, I’m kayak fishing for smallmouth bass much of the time, but Becky and I get out for recreational kayaking on a regular basis.


On the lakeside Moonlight Bay is great and so much fun to head out around the Cana Island Lighthouse.  You can launch on County Q at Rieboldt Creek.  Heading north there’s a kayak launch by the Rowleys Bay Resort and paddling the Mink River is not to be missed.  There are three inland lakes in Door County and our favorite to paddle is Europe Lake at the north end of Northport State Park, with a very nice launch.


Heading across the to Green Bay side, to the north is Garret Bay with a great launch and shipwreck nearby.  Kayaking under the bluffs is one of our favorite things to do.   I’d suggest Ellison Bluff in Ellison Bay and Eagle Bluff in Peninsula State Park.  We also love kayaking in Sturgeon Bay itself launching at Sunset or Otumba Parkes and paddling by the huge ships, under the bridges, and getting up close with the tugboats. 


Do a little research with Google Maps or find out where the shipwrecks are.  Many are close to shore like the City of Glasgow, a short paddle from County Roads TT or T.  It’s only about 4 feet under the surface in fairly shallow water and about 75 yards from shore.  There are many roads in Door County that dead-end at the water.  These are nice places to launch, just as long as you park off the road.


These are just a few of the truly amazing places to kayak in Door County and as I responded to that question about the best places to kayak in Door County, it really is everywhere!  If you have any questions, please email me at





Supply chain issues hit collision repair industry

Fawning season and supply chain concerns are already hitting the collision repair industry hard this summer.


This is usually the time of the year when does are looking for safe places to have their fawns and younger deer are venturing out for the first time as adults. That has led to one of the busiest springs in recent memory for Sahs Auto owner Randy Sahs in terms of repairing damaged vehicles from collisions with deer. Complicating the repair process is the lack of available parts. Many manufacturers are still trying to catch up from COVID-19 related shutdowns to make sure new parts are made, especially if they are used for new technologies. Once they are ready to go to stores and auto shops, the nationwide driver shortage is causing those parts to be shipped slower and more inefficient. Sahs says auto body technicians and customers will have to be patient for a while.

Making matters worse for consumers is if they need a rental car. According to the Washington Post, rental car companies had to sell some of their fleet just to make ends meet during the pandemic. The subsequent rental car shortage has caused rates to go up until new vehicles can be added. Sahs recommends people drive a little bit slower during dusk and dawn when deer are the most active.

Midsummers decides on violinist

After being a trio since 2020, the Griffon String Quartet became whole again on Friday. Midsummer’s Music and the Griffon String Quartet made their selection on who would fill the fourth part of the quartet. Violinist Ji-Yeon Lee, who is an award-winning musician and educator is the selection, and can first be heard in concert on June 25th. Midsummers Music Executive Director Allyson Fleck shared excitement for their new musician. 



Lee has held positions with prestigious orchestras like the Rochester Philharmonic, Buffalo Philharmonic, and Columbus Symphony. Ji-Yeon holds a bachelors and masters degree from the Eastman School of Music and a Professional Studies Diploma at the Cleveland Institute of Music. 


One hospitalized in Door County; cases down in Kewaunee County

Door County had more activity on the COVID front on Friday than it typically had the past few weeks. In Friday’s COVID19 report from Door County, one was hospitalized and there were three positive tests out of 42 tests performed. There were no new deaths in Door County. Kewaunee County’s weekly COVID19 report came out on Friday and showed no new hospitalizations or deaths this week, and just six new cases. Since Friday, June 4th, active cases went down by three in Kewaunee County and down by eight in Door County. 


Door County remains one of the state leaders with vaccinations as 60 percent of residents are fully vaccinated. 64.5% have one dose of the vaccine in Door County. In Kewaunee County, an even 40 percent have one dose of the vaccine and 38 percent are fully vaccinated. In Wisconsin, 64,000 people were vaccinated this week.



Children's theatre returns to Kewaunee for a one-week production

Since 1997, Missoula Children's Theatre has been coming to Kewaunee every year to put on their traveling musical productions, with last year as the only exception. This year, they are back and in full swing and they are producing a musical rendition of Emperor's New Clothes. Forty-seven students auditioned on Monday, and they immediately began rehearsals. Rebecca Krueger, a Kewaunee Young Peoples Theatre member and the coordinator of Missoula's production in Kewaunee, is proud of the student's efforts this year to put on the best show they can.



The performances will be on Saturday, June 12th at 2 pm and 5 pm. Costs for admittance are $2 for adults and $1 for students, and children under 5 are free. The fees involved in this production are paid for by Kewaunee's Hooray for Hollywood charity organization. 


School closures no longer up to health department

On Friday, Wisconsin’s Supreme Court made a decision that could impact future health emergencies. The Associated Press reports that the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled in a 4 to 3 vote that decisions to close schools due to emergencies similar to the coronavirus pandemic will no longer come from local health departments. The vote also pairs with the ruling that a shutdown of private schools in Madison and Dane County by their local departments overstepped religious rights. This is another order that was challenged in the courts and was rescinded or deemed unconstitutional, joining indoor capacity limits and mask mandates. 


The four votes in favor of stripping local departments' ability to close schools came from Chief Justice Annette Ziegler, Justice Patience Roggensack, and Justice Brian Hagedorn. The dissenting votes came from Jill Karofsky, Ann Walsh Bradley, and Rebecca Dallet. More information on Friday’s Supreme Court opinions can be found here.

Committee approval includes Door County projects

Improvements are coming to two Door County state parks after the legislature’s Joint Finance Committee approved earlier this week $1.5 billion for state construction projects. Under the approved plan, a new shower house at Peninsula State Park and a welcome center at Potawatomi State Park would be completed. Close to $630 million of the budget is going towards improvements at UW schools like Green Bay’s planned multi-use technology and education center. It is good news for Friends of Potawatomi State Park President Scott Bader, who says a new structure was needed.

Bader added it also allows the Friends group to focus on other projects like the pavilion they are building near the recently opened all-accessible fishing pier. The organization is approximately $25,000 shy of making the pavilion a reality. It was also another dose of good news for Potawatomi State Park, which last month learned that $5 million was being committed towards the restoration of its observation tower.


Picture courtesy of Friends of Potawatomi State Park

Crime down, calls up in Kewaunee County

The Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department is busier than usual this year, and it is not because of a crime spree.


Sheriff Matt Joski says the area has seen a reduction in most areas of crime, but dispatch staff is still fielding plenty of 911 calls. The majority of calls now are more for “keeping the peace” when deputies are requested to standby while people exchange property or children. The deputies are there to make sure the two parties are peacefully interacting with each other and not turning what should be a civil matter into a criminal one.


Joski says they are happy to assist, but it does stretch their staff thin for something that often puts their deputies in an awkward place.

Joski compliments his deputies for sometimes serving the role of a counselor to help keep a situation from escalating. You can read more about how Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Deputies “keep the peace" below:


As I look at the calls from the previous days, there appears to be a steady flow of calls relating to a specific nature; Keep the Peace. These calls are typically a request to have a Deputy stand by while individuals are transferring property, or in some cases children which the two parties have had in common, but are now unable to peacefully interact so as to make these transactions. These calls are not involving criminal behavior but rather for the most part, civil law.


The topic of civil laws versus criminal laws and the extent to which we are able to assist in a matter which is civil in nature continues to cause some confusion, and places law enforcement officers in unnecessary circumstances in which they feel obligated to assist, but cannot.


I have been asked many times about how busy we are in law enforcement recently. I am assuming that people are curious as to how many major crimes take place, or what the trend is in comparison to past years. In recent years we have seen a reduction in most areas of crime; however, our calls for service continue to increase. Some of the most frequent calls for service relate to civil matters. These calls involve things such as child custody, property disputes, eviction orders, and restraining orders. I would like to focus on these civil calls, as they not only seem to be increasing, but they bring with them some misunderstanding of law enforcement's role in regards to them.


Generally, there are two classifications of legal process; criminal, and civil. Those of us in law enforcement focus on criminal, as that is our primary purpose. We do however assist in civil calls in support of court orders. Primarily this is in the capacity of keeping the peace. We may keep the peace as one party removes their property in response to an eviction, or recent separation. We may keep the peace as property is being recovered as part of repossession. We may also keep the peace as children are being transferred from one parent to another.


You may notice a theme running through these and that is our obligation to keep the peace. Many times officers are asked for advice, opinions, or recommendations. These unfortunately put the officers in a tough situation, as they may in fact have opinions, or good advice to give. It is best we stick to the purpose for which we are there for, and that again is to keep the peace.  


If you find yourself in a situation where law enforcement is summoned to respond in support of a court order, or just to keep the peace, please understand and respect the capacity, in which that officer is serving.


Steel Bridge Songfest plays on

Music lovers from across the country can once again tune into a Door County tradition Saturday when Steel Bridge Songfest kicks off again virtually. Dozens of artists have been collaborating for weeks writing new original songs over Zoom while engineers work diligently to make sure all of the tracks line up correctly. Many of the performances were recorded ahead of time, but live hosts from across the country and Sturgeon Bay’s Holiday Music Motel and Tambourine Collaboratory will guide the evening along. Event organizer melaniejane is amazed by how much musicians have had to adapt during the last year without being able to perform their music in front of live audiences.

She adds that one thing is for certain: not even a pandemic was going to stop the Steel Bridge Songfest.

melaniejane says Steel Bridge Creative Foundation, which organizes the Steel Bridge Songfest, is hopeful it will be able to hold next year’s event and this fall’s Dark Songs in person. You can click on the links below for more information on how you can enjoy this year’s Steel Bridge Songfest.


Podcast with melaniejane

Ways to Watch on June 12th at 7 p.m.: Facebook YouTube

Sturgeon Bay earns another round of alcohol in public

A lot of things in Sturgeon Bay will look how they did prior to 2020 this summer, except for seeing the use of alcohol in public. Adults aged 21 and over will have more chances to utilize an entertainment area where they can choose to responsibly consume alcohol from 9:00 AM to 10:00 PM. The resolution allowing drinking from unbreakable containers in the space went into effect last summer. The move is to help match the growing list of experiences in Sturgeon Bay, and 2020 was a successful trial run. City Administrator Josh VanLieshout says the city found that it worked well without major issues. They consequently choose to further suspend an ordinance prohibiting public consumption in Sturgeon Bay this year. 


VanLieshout credited law enforcement, residents, and business owners with having a clear understanding of the rules and following them, helping ensure longevity. 



VanLieshout adds that he thinks it will benefit the community and businesses. He notes that the resolution will be ideal for people who want to stroll the waterfront while enjoying an alcoholic beverage. Pictured below is the designated area where alcohol consumption is allowed. 



Area Counties Preparing for 2021 Lighthouse Festival

The annual Lighthouse Festival is taking place this weekend, from Friday to Sunday people are able to take in the sights of the shoreline’s treasured lighthouses. Chances to view the eleven Door County lighthouses will be offered as usual, and the festival is even expanding. Door County Maritime Museum Deputy Director explains that two lighthouses in Kewaunee County and one lighthouse in Brown County will be included.



The Kewaunee Pierhead Lighthouse is one of the sites where tours are offered for the first time. Robin Nelson, a chairperson of the Lighthouse Committee, says the tours will allow people to see the new updates that have been recently added to the lighthouse. 



Algoma will also get in on the action, as people can head to their visitor center to take part in that portion of the festival. People can’t physically get up and close to the lighthouse, but Algoma Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Ken Weinaug points out the stop into the visitor center is worth it.



Although many tours are sold out, you still can find some spots open for other excursions online

You can also find a full schedule of the weekend tours on the Door County Maritime website or at this link

Public Health thanks residents; two positives in Door County

Door County Public Health continued the fight against COVID19 on Thursday, but also took time for reflection. Door County Public Health released a video thanking Door County residents and emergency personnel for how they responded to all the adversity in the last year. 


In Thursday’s COVID report, there were two positive tests out of seventeen tests performed in Door County. There were no new hospitalizations or deaths. Door County continued their high vaccination marks, with 60.2% of residents having received a dose and 64.4% completing the series. In Kewaunee County, 39.9% of residents have one vaccine dose and 37.9% completed the series. 


The entire video from Door County Public Health is below. 


Returning concert series takes center stage

The first in-person Harmony by the Bay concert in two years rocked a crowd at Martin Park on Wednesday night. Glas Hamr kicked off the summer series where food and beverages were served at the outdoor venue. Destination Sturgeon Bay and the city of Sturgeon Bay teamed up to put on the event that won’t miss a Wednesday until mid-october as long as weather permits. Taking the stage just before the band was Sturgeon Bay Common Council member Dan Williams, who shared excitement for the series return and what’s to come for the city.



The series that has fostered community engagement for years drew a large crowd on Wednesday, and Destination Sturgeon Bay Executive Director Pam Seiler took notice. 



One of the continued COVID19 mitigation precautions this summer is that there is no indoor venue for concerts that get rained out. You can keep up with the season of concerts on the Harmony by the Bay Concert Series Facebook page. 


Air travel taking flight

Green Bay’s Austin Straubel Airport is showing signs of the rebounding air travel industry. CNBC reports that the Transportation Security Administration screened an average of 1.78 million people a day over Memorial Day weekend, which was the highest it has been since before the pandemic. As vaccinations have rolled out, Austin Straubel Airport has seen its numbers grow at a steady clip. Austin Straubel Airport Director Marty Piette says they are seeing between 500 and 1000 passengers a day during the course of the week. It is still down 25-30 percent from what was being experienced in 2019. Piette says while business and international travel are still lagging, leisure trips are soaring again.

Helping in that has been Austin Straubel Airport’s ability to get new carriers to its terminals to offer non-stop flights to places like Orlando and Denver. In the coming days, Piette says they will announce additional direct flights to NFL cities so local fans can watch the Green Bay Packers play. He adds that they have kept many of their COVID protocols such as masking inside planes and buildings and disinfecting high-touch areas.


Picture courtesy of LinkedIn

Wisconsin Legislature votes to end federal unemployment benefits

The decision to end the $300 federal unemployment benefit is now in the hands of Governor Tony Evers after both branches of the Wisconsin Legislature approved the measure on Wednesday. Both the Assembly and the Senate voted along party lines to end the untaxed benefit that was in addition to what was already being received by the state. Recent polling data showed that over 70 percent of Wisconsinites approve of ending the federal program, siding with Republicans and chambers of commerce that say it is incentivizing people to stay at home rather than going to work. State Rep. Joel Kitchens voted in favor of ending the benefit, adding many business owners in his district have told him how hard it is to find employees.

Opponents to ending the benefit say there are other factors to why people are not going back to work with the state’s unemployment rate below four percent. Kitchens does not refute that point, but believes something needs to be done.

Evers has already indicated he will likely veto the measure. Wisconsin could have been the 25th state to turn down the extra federal unemployment benefit.

Vehicles catch fire in Ephraim, Liberty Grove

A pair of vehicles one hour and a few miles apart caught fire on Wednesday evening in northern Door County.


In Ephraim, it was a mini-van that caught fire just after 6 p.m. and caused a gaper’s delay on State Highway 42 for a short time. The minivan’s owner was traveling with a second vehicle that was parked close behind and it suffered minor cosmetic damage from the heat. Ephraim Fire Chief Justin MacDonald says the cause of why the mini-van burst into flames is still unknown.


MacDonald says the scene was cleared and the vehicle was on a tow truck by 7:30 p.m. A couple of hours later, the Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Department responded to a truck fire near North Bay Road and County Highway ZZ. The owner of the truck was gone just a few moments when he returned to his vehicle smoking. Fire Chief Chris Hecht says it moves quickly from there.

MacDonald expressed his appreciation for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the Wisconsin State Patrol that were also in the area with many emergency personnel attending the funeral of Sheriff’s Deputy Timothy Fuerst.



Photos of Ephraim fire by Tad Dukehart


YMCA Hits campaign goal to help fund annual services

The services you can enjoy at the Door and Northern Door YMCA are going strong thanks to meeting an over half-million dollar goal. Their annual campaign for the 2020-2021 fiscal year reached its $525,000 benchmark. The campaign helps to run their summer foods program. With that they can give free lunch to children 18 and under at their facility and also provide food for camps. The funds even help advance communication by strengthening the ELL classes, and widen the YMCA’s accessibility. The campaign provides financial assistance to over 1100 individuals who otherwise could not afford a membership. To the Northern Door YMCA Member Services Director Megan Schneider, meeting the campaign goal is reflective of the Door County community.



The staff at both facilities are already working on the campaign for the 2021-2022 fiscal year. 

Law enforcement honors late officer

Dozens of law enforcement and emergency personnel in Door County came out in force Wednesday to honor one of their own who died last weekend. Door County Sheriff Deputy Timothy Fuerst, 55, passed away unexpectedly at home in Sister Bay from a sudden illness. A nearly 30-year veteran of the Door County Sheriff’s Department, Fuerst was scheduled to retire on July 1st. Chief Deputy Pat McCarty says Fuerst had an incredible impact throughout the department and Door County community.



According to his obituary, Fuerst was a long-time member of the Door County SWAT team and managed the reserve deputies for many years. A graduate of Sevastopol High School, Fuerst began his career in law enforcement in Dunn County after pursuing a Police Science degree at Chippewa Valley Tech. Funeral Services were held at 6 pm Wednesday at Huehns Funeral Home. You can read Tim Fuerst’s obituary here.




Public Health creatively finding unvaccinated

Door County Public Health is leaving no stone unturned in getting COVID19 vaccine shots into people’s arms. On Friday people can get vaccines at the Egg Harbor Farmers Market. Just a few days later on Thursday, June 15th, vaccines will be provided at the farmers market in Jacksonport. Door County Public Health Manager Susan Powers says that the department feels there are people who have the vaccine in the back of their minds but are still iffy on it. Powers hopes to put clinics in places like farm markets where a lot of people will see it will drive up interest. 



Powers says they’ll gauge the interest and possibly plan for future similar clinics. She has put in requests to the state mobile vaccination team, inviting them to come for the Fourth of July and to the Door County Fair. As more of the Door County population is vaccinated the clinics will be less frequent. There is also a strong supply of doses and vaccine providers in the community have been active. Powers says it is great and they are encouraging younger age groups to get vaccinated as that’s where the most work needs to be done.



Powers understands hesitancy in getting the vaccine to people ages 12-18. To remedy that she suggests that hesitant parents and eligible people talk with healthcare professionals on the benefits. Public Health also holds clinics each Wednesday at the ADRC Building in Sturgeon Bay and every third Thursday at the Sister Bay Fire Station. 


In Door County’s COVID19 report on Wednesday, there were no positive tests out of 17 tests performed. There were no new deaths or hospitalizations. 64.3% of county residents have a vaccine dose and 59.6% completed the series. In Kewaunee County, 39.9% have a dose and 37.6% have completed the series. 


Grant allows local library to enhance African literature

The Kewaunee Public Library is one of 34 Wisconsin libraries receiving funds from the 2021 Read Africa Grant Program. To receive this grant, local libraries submitted a proposal to the program at University of Wisconsin-Madison. The $20,000 grant will be distributed between these 34 libraries to help fund the expansion of titles that are about Africa or written by African authors. Carol Petrina, director of the Kewaunee Public library, describes what their proposal entailed.



The story walk that they will be organizing will be at the Kewaunee Public library, and it will include the book Ostrich and Lark by Marilyn Nelson. They will be adding titles for all ages. There will be titles for young children, such as Baby Goes to Market and young adult novels like When Rain Clouds Gather, Transcendent Kingdom. These books and others will soon be at the Kewaunee Public Library for those who want to learn more about Africa. 


Survey being used to evaluate broadband approach

A critical step in the opening stages of enhancing broadband services is underway, but needs help from Door County residents. The Door County Economic Development Corporation is asking for business owners and residents to offer their perspectives on their broadband capabilities and needs through a survey. The results will be assessed by Finley Engineering, who is tasked with observing the county’s broadband access. The consultants will take input from the surveys and use it to assist them in identifying challenges and developing a long-term strategy for delivering county-wide broadband. DCEDC Executive Director Jenkins also notes that there will be high standards for connection.



There is a separate survey for residents and business owners. The DCEDC hopes people fill out the survey for either category they fall into, even if they are under both. Jenkins hopes to see a geographically dispersed response by the end of June. 


Here are the survey links for business owners and for residents. 


Destination Door County putting pledge into action

Volunteers and community members spread out near the Ridges Sanctuary in Baileys Harbor on Tuesday to put Destination Door County’s mission into motion. A group helped pick up trash and cut down on invasive species along Highway 57 and Ridges Road as part of Destination Door County’s Leave No Trace Tuesday monthly series. The initiative is new to DDC and pairs with the member mixers that the organization is excited to be having again. Destination Door County Membership Manager Morgan Rusnak talked about easing back into community events like this since May, utilizing the outdoor space to bring people together while being spread out. Because they’ll be going to a new location for Leave No Trace Tuesday once a month, Rusnak is hoping for people’s input on where to go. 



People are also able to get briefed on the Door County Pledge as well as sign it, which is an oath to best protect Door County’s natural resources.


Lake levels dramatically drop

After a record-setting May 2020 for high water levels on Lake Michigan, people may be surprised at just how much lower the mark is a year later. The pattern of increasing water levels switched as a result of a very dry winter and spring. Data collection for the month of May 2021 shows the month's level is 17 inches below the May 2020 measurement. Chief of the Watershed Hydrology Branch with the Detroit Corps of Engineers Keith Kompoltowicz says the current levels are still not low. 



Though May’s lake levels were a foot and a half above average still, the coastal flooding and erosion impacts along the shoreline may not be as pronounced this year, says Kompoltowicz. He adds that the lake levels weren’t a surprise to him as they’ve remained consistent with weather patterns in winter and spring. He says that the forecast for the near future indicates the lake level could even get lower next year. Complete data on great lakes levels can be found here. 


Annual Tractor Ride celebrated in Baileys Harbor

A traditional tractor ride honoring one of Door County’s most famous tractor drivers, Freddy Kodanko, was held in Baileys Harbor on Tuesday.  Kodanko was remembered as the Door County Polka King who drove his tractor in local parades while playing polka music.  Nineteen tractor drivers participated in the 19th annual Freddy Kodanko Tractor Rally.  Organizer Greg “Fuzzy” Sunstrom shares his story behind Freddy K’s Massey Ferguson vintage tractor and the yearly rally.



Sunstrom purchased Kodanko’s orange tractor after Freddy passed away in 2003 and began the annual tradition.  Tuesday’s tractor rally covered five different stops beginning at 11 AM, with the final stop in downtown Baileys Harbor behind the Blue Ox.



Door County tests all negative

Door County continues to be one of the state’s examples in the fight against COVID19. Door County’s Tuesday COVID19 report showed that no positive tests were conducted out of the fourteen performed. There were no new deaths or hospitalizations. Door County has 64.1% of its residents with a vaccine dose and 59.4% that are fully vaccinated. The only county in Wisconsin with a higher vaccination rate is Dane County with 67.2%.  Kewaunee County has 39.8% of its residents with a vaccine dose and 37.5% who’ve completed the vaccine series. 


Door County issued a press release encouraging all to get the vaccine if they haven’t yet, especially ages 12-18. They are currently offering the vaccine for free to people ages 12 and up. The press release also states that appointments are encouraged but not required.




Workforce Development taking advantage of virtual discoveries

As some area businesses struggle with employee shortages, the Department of Workforce Development is broadening their accessibility to get employers adequately staffed. On June 1st, the DWD opened for walk-in customers across the state. This will help with the DWD’s newer, adapted way of doing business, which is blending virtual and in-person options.


Brian Pelon from the DWD spoke of the adjustments saying, “the pandemic taught us many lessons last year. As we begin to open up our Job Centers and welcome customers into our facilities, we will continue to offer some of our services in a virtual format to accommodate those not able to come to our facilities.” Some of the services that will still be encouraged online include career counseling appointments and re-employment sessions.


Pelon noted that the trends they are seeing with area residents are that they are often doing the prep work to reenter the workforce such as updating resumes and researching local hiring conditions. Pelon also urged Door County residents to be aware of the DWD resources. Door County’s DWD Job Center is open from Monday through Thursday. 


Below is a complete list of expanded and continued services:


  • Supporting customers in-person with online job search, Job Center of Wisconsin registration, resume writing, and other career development activities
  • Conducting re-employment sessions remotely via phone
  • Co-locating at strategic partner locations (e.g., libraries and community-based organizations)
  • Continuing virtual workshops with topics such as resume writing, interviewing skills, LinkedIn, job searching for mature workers, and more
  • Offering virtual job fairs to connect job seekers with immediately available career opportunities
  • Providing in-person and virtual career counseling by appointment
  • Meeting with Trade Adjustment Assistance clients in-person and virtually
  • Expanding work with open job centers in correctional facilities (virtual and in-person)
  • Scheduling mobile career lab promotion of health careers in select locations
  • Referrals to workforce partner employment and training resources/programs

Luxemburg Police investigating illegal entries

The Luxemburg Police Department is investigating a break-in that happened late Saturday night and into Sunday morning. It is unclear if it’s a singular suspect or more, but they were able to illegally enter a part of the Northbrook Golf and Grill building in Luxemburg. Two vehicles that were located on Mueller Court were also entered. There is no sign of entry at any residences. Officials are asking local residents with any suspicious doorbell video to call the Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department. They also remind residents to lock their vehicles and not leave any valuables in sight. 


Byway designation to be celebrated next week

Federal, state, and local representatives will converge on Jacksonport next week to celebrate a national designation for the Door County Coastal Byway. The Federal Highway Administration designated the 66 miles of Highway 42/57 as a National Scenic Byway in February. Next Thursday’s ribbon cutting will be the formal dedication of the Door County Coastal Byway as a National Scenic Byway. It was also the culmination of years of waiting and work by the Door County Coastal Byway Council. The program stopped in 2008, was reintroduced in 2017, and the paperwork was filed early last year. Door County Coastal Byway Chairperson Ann Miller says it has been worth it.

The ribbon-cutting for the Door County Coastal Byway’s designation as a National Scenic Byway will take place on June 17th at 1:30 p.m. at Jacksonport’s Lakeside Park. The designation makes the Door County Coastal Byway one of two in the state, joining the 70-mile Wisconsin Lake Superior Byway.

Sevastopol says good-bye to 1924 building

Thursday marks the beginning of the end for the oldest section of Sevastopol School. June 10th is when the demolition of the school’s original 1924 three-story building will begin after crew completed the asbestos abatement process in recent days. Since the district hosted its last in-service days prior to Memorial Day, the building’s 1946 addition and a connector hallway have already been completely demolished. Sevastopol Superintendent Kyle Luedtke says the demolition of the 1924 building will take approximately 4-6 weeks to complete not just because it is a bigger building, but some of the other extra steps that need to be taken.

People are allowed to watch portions of the demolition take place, but are asked to stay behind the fence set up by the construction crews and to be considerate of other drivers and property owners near the school. Luedtke added the entire construction project remains on target so the first day of school can take place on September 7th. The district will sell the demolished building’s old bricks for a dollar apiece at a later date.

Heat tightens grip on area

Unseasonably warm temperatures are forcing people to find any way they can to stay cool in northeast Wisconsin.


Last week, temperatures touched 90 degrees for the first time this year with an over 80-year-old record high of 95 degrees reported in Green Bay on Saturday. The average high temperature in June is 72 degrees in Sturgeon Bay, 71 degrees in Kewaunee, and 76 degrees in Green Bay.


That has kept businesses like Ultimate Air in Luxemburg busy with calls of air conditioners not working properly. Owner Jeff Blemke says many of the outdoor units they have serviced in recent days had some component failures, but others were just dirty or infested with bugs and rodents. Once your air conditioner is serviced, he recommends you keep it at a consistent temperature so you do not put extra stress on the unit.

He also recommends making sure your filters are cleaned or replaced as another way to save your air conditioner from some extra work. The Weather Channels reports that Door County will see some relief when forecasted highs do not touch the 80-degree mark. Parts of Kewaunee County will have to wait a little longer with temperatures close to 90 this weekend and only two days below forecasted below 80 degrees over the next 12 days.

Retail theft reported in Luxemburg

The Luxemburg Police Department is asking for the public’s help in finding a suspect in a theft at a retail store on Monday. At approximately 3:45 p.m. The department posted pictures of a woman walking out of the village’s Family Dollar store with merchandise she did not pay for during her visit. They also captured images of a white truck she drove to the store. People with information about the incident can call the Luxemburg Police Department.



Major street work underway in Algoma

The Algoma Public Works Department started a three-month project on Sixth Street last week. Public Works Director Matt Murphy says the job calls for replacing all water, storm sewer, and sanitary sewer mains covering a four-block area. The construction will be from Fremont Street to Jefferson Street. He shares what the complete rebuild will entail.



Murphy notes that local traffic will be allowed to get in and out of their driveways. The city will notify homeowners in advance of the sidewalk construction to park their vehicles on the street. The Sixth Street project is projected to be completed by the end of August or early September.

Open intoxicants in vehicles, legal or not?

With major events and gatherings happening this summer, local law enforcement reminds people to follow the open intoxicant laws when traveling.  Door County Deputy Sheriff Pat McCarty emphasizes that no alcohol is allowed in the driver’s compartment of any vehicle.  He says there are exceptions to having open containers in larger motorhomes or chartered buses.



According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, open container laws apply to all motor vehicles except motor buses which are vehicles designed to transport people and have a passenger capacity of 16 or more person and chauffeur-driven limousines.  RVs, Limos, and buses must have a hired or designated chauffeur responsible for driving   Fines for open intoxicants can amount to $212 for the driver and $150.50 for a passenger.  For smaller groups traveling, McCarty encourages people to have a designated driver or utilize driving services to get home safely if they have been drinking. 

Single case in Door County

The number of tests and cases of COVID-19 continues to dwindle in Door County. On Monday, Door County Public Health reported just one confirmed case out of the eight tests performed over the weekend. Active cases of the coronavirus in Door County went down to 25, with no hospitalizations or deaths reported.


Door County is at 64.1 percent of their residents having received at least one dose of the vaccine on the vaccination front, while 59.3 percent have completed the series of shots. Kewaunee County residents are at 39.8 percent had received one dose, and 37.4 having been completely vaccinated.



New Fish Creek Beach opens soon

The finishing touches of the Fish Creek Beach improvements are being completed this week. Town of Gibraltar Chair Steve Sohns says the three-year project included new bathrooms completed two years ago and positioned closer to the water than first planned. He says the beach’s landscape is much more user-friendly.



A platform pier is wheelchair accessible with a crescent beach area.  Sohns says it is not visible from the highway but offers a pleasant surprise when you walk down to the sandy beach. The fresh sod needs to take hold, and concrete sidewalks were being poured on Monday, so the Fish Creek Beach is expected to fully open to the public in the next week or two.  


(Photo courtesy of

In search of Door County's Fairest

The Door County Fair is searching for its newest Fairest before its 150th annual event this summer. The Fairest program dates back to 2018 when Claire Olson was selected as the first Fairest. Sisters Katie and Michaela Guilette are the most recent Fairests, although Michaela’s reign was primarily virtual due to the pandemic. In a normal year, the Fairest of the Fair crisscrosses the county promoting the Door County Fair at a number of different events. While the $1,000 in scholarship dollars is nice, Olson says she gained useful skills that have helped her advance in her post-Fairest life.

The Door County Fairest of the Fair has to be 18 years of age before January 1st, 2023, and be a local resident. Fairest judges make their selection in July before the winner is crowned on the first night of the Door County Fair, which runs July 28th-August 1st. You can click on this link to apply.

Gibraltar's "resizing" causes change

Gibraltar Area Schools’ declining enrollment may be part of the reason why three administrators have left in recent weeks.


The Gibraltar Area School Board held a special meeting last week to discuss a path moving forward after Gibraltar Elementary School Principal Brian Annen announced he was resigning from his post. That followed the resignations of Gibraltar Secondary School Principal Gereon Methner and Director of Learning Tim Mulrain. The district entered the school year down an administrator after Shaun Young resigned at the end of the 2019/2020 school year.


Gibraltar Area Schools Superintendent Tina Van Meer says when Young resigned, the board opted not to hire a replacement. A similar idea was brought forward when Methner announced his resignation. She believes that possibility led to Annen and Mulrain not feeling comfortable with what the workload could be moving forward before they ultimately found other opportunities. Van Meer says her challenge now is to determine what the administration structure will look like so it has the best impact on its staff, students, and parents.

The Gibraltar School Board will discuss what the resized administrative team will look like and the strategy moving forward to fill the open positions on June 14th. Van Meer believes it will be an evolving process to make sure that any strategy they adopt can be tweaked to best fit the district’s needs.

Local solutions for international cybersecurity woes

The cyber-attacks that have taken down a gas pipeline, a major meat processor, and some municipalities could have some local businesses wondering what they can do to protect themselves. The White House warned small businesses last Thursday to take the proper security precautions against ransomware and other cybercrimes. Purplesec, a Washington D.C.-based cybersecurity firm, estimates the cost of ransomware attacks in 2020 was approximately $20 billion. Many computers have some kind of virus protection built-in, but it is worth the investment to overprotect.

Drager added that in many cases, cyber-attacks could be mitigated with a good set of back-ups.

He recommends having your back-ups saved in a couple of different places just in case one gets lost or encrypted as well. You can listen to our full conversation about cybersecurity with the team at Quantum PC on our podcast page.

The musical sign of summer in Door County

When cherishing signs of normalcy returning in Door County, it’ll be hard to find a more telling sign than music being performed in town squares again. Door County is gearing up for free concerts in the parks that will be back up and down the peninsula this summer. Concerts will take place five days a week starting on Wednesday, June 9th in Sturgeon Bay. Destination Door County Interim CEO and Director of Communications Jon Jarosh says the concerts have always been a really popular activity, because of the togetherness and for the businesses helped by the atmosphere. He does think the county retained much of its’ spirited atmosphere in 2020, but music being back along with other favorites returning will escalate its morale. 



Jarosh also credited the communities for making an effort to keep a consistent schedule and limit overlapping of days they hold performances. He also shared positive thoughts on Memorial Day, saying it seemed like people were excited to be out and he predicted that it set the trend for the summer. The current schedule for free concerts in the park can be found here. 

Senate hopefuls to address Kewaunee County

Many eyes will be on the 2022 U.S. Senate election in Wisconsin, and though it’s not for a while, voters can get their first look next Sunday, June 13th, at candidates aiming to unseat Senator Ron Johnson. The Kewaunee County Democratic Party will be hosting a few of the aspiring Senators at Algoma’s Heritage Park from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. So far, three have confirmed they will make the trip. Those will include the state treasurer, Sarah Godlewski, Outagamie County’s executive Tom Nelson, and Gillian Batttino, a radiologist from Wausau. Candidates will speak to the crowd on hand and then get a chance to mingle with voters and answer their questions. 


With the primary and election over a year away, candidates won’t be asked to address anything specific but rather introduce themselves, their campaign and touch on the issues they choose. It’s the first in-person event the Kewaunee County Democratic Party has held in a long time, and Kewaunee County Democratic Party Chair Mary-Ellen Dobbins wants people outside the county also to feel welcome.



Dobbins is looking forward to hearing all the candidates speak, as she says she thinks all three confirmed speakers would be better for the state than Senator Johnson. 


(Photo courtesy of the Democratic Party of Kewaunee County)


Youth finance course makes "cents"

Being frugal with money can be a skill that takes practice, and Leslie Boden of Money Management Counselors aims to mitigate the trial and error part. One way to do that is to equip elementary and junior high-aged students with critical knowledge before getting to a point of financial independence. This year, Boden and the team at MMC gives kids the chance to enhance their financial literacy with a nine-week program that’s centered around understanding different forms of currency, making money choices, and long-term strategizing. Boden finds it to be a way to keep kids in the learning pool without the school year stress level. 



The program is geared toward fifth through eighth-graders 


Artists able to make their mark on hunting season

The Door County art scene has a chance to merge with the Wisconsin hunting landscape. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is accepting entries to the 2022 wild turkey, pheasant, and waterfowl stamp design contest. Local artists can submit their paintings of each species, and the winning designs will be used on stamps that authorize one’s right to hunt it. While many buy their stamps online now, the painting would be displayed on physical stamps, the DNR website, and publications like press releases and regulation pamphlets. Assistant Upland Biologist for the DNR Alaina Gerrits discusses how the stamp sales help keep Wisconsin outdoors thriving. 



The competition is for Wisconsin residents and open to non-hunters as well. Submissions are due on July 15th, 2021. More information on entry can be found here. 


(Photo featured is last year's duck stamp winner. Artwork by Caleb Metrich of Lake Tomahawk) 

More animals find forever homes in last year

People experienced a lot of downsides to the year 2020, but for some pets in Door County, it was the year they became part of a family. Marketing Coordinator for the Humane Society Door County campus Shaina Allen says the demand for pet adoptions in 2020 was strong and carried into the early part of this year. Allen says the percentage of animals adopted was the most it's ever been and added that volunteer numbers even reached new heights. Allen exclaimed that their successes were a silver lining to a 2020 that was tough on most everybody. 


With summer coming their animal intake is starting to go up a bit, especially for cats and kittens. This is largely attributed to stray cats being more active in the summer. There’s a lot of reasons a person may need to part with a pet, and Allen discusses the need for people to know the commitment they are making before becoming a pet owner.



Allen encourages being open to all different types of pets, as it can help find the best lifestyle fit. 


YMCA introducing programs for body and soul

With more people freely enjoying the Door County YMCA, much of the attention has been focused on programs being brought back. A lot of excitement is about the things people can finally do indoors at the facility again, but Campaign Director Alyssa Dantoin also shares excitement outside the building. 


The YMCA has also used the lifted restrictions to show off new programming as well. Programs that pay attention to body output are introduced like Raise the Bar, a total body fitness course and an outdoor yoga program Peterson Park. As the YMCA has partnered with a licensed nutritionist for nutrition coaching, body input is also highlighted. The courses they are introducing can help people stay physically active, but can also help nurture their mind, as the book club will also restart.

Evers seeking reelection

Wisconsin’s governor took to a virtual convention put on by the Democratic Party of Wisconsin on Saturday to confirm his plans for 2022. Governor Tony Evers stated, “Wisconsin, I’m in. I’m running for re-election.” He went on to list key topics in his bounceback plan, mentioning job creation, fixing infrastructure, supporting small businesses, and widening access to quality healthcare. 


A press release from the governor’s office stated, “Governor Evers acknowledged that there is more work to do as we ensure Wisconsin bounces back stronger than before. His current budget continues to improve state investment in infrastructure, public education, and broadband expansion. He is also committed to passing an expansion of BadgerCare, which would expand coverage to tens of thousands of Wisconsinites while saving state taxpayers $1.6 billion.” Evers is currently in his first term as Governor. 


Below is a video from the governor’s office recapping Evers remarks on Saturday. 



Main construction to shut down Sturgeon Bay stretch

Improvements will make a temporary travel obstacle for some Sturgeon Bay drivers. Monday, June 7th marks the beginning of gas main construction at East Walnut Street. As early as 7:00 AM, East Walnut Street will be closed and open to local traffic, but only with access from South Lansing Avenue. South Neenah Avenue, however, will be open to thru traffic while work takes place. Construction is expected to be done by Tuesday evening, and drivers are asked to help ensure that by avoiding the area whenever possible. Staying away from barricades and closed roads has been a point of emphasis from the city, and doing so can help prevent a hard road closure. 


No time wasted getting ready for market

Vans, trailers, and tents accompanied by the aroma of food being prepared filled the parking lot at 421 Michigan Street for the first time this year. Also joining in from the start of the market season were artisans and crafters showing off what they spent the off-season creating. Sturgeon Bay Public Works Director Mike Barker said it’s nice to be back and to be as close to normal operations as they can be this year. Last year, the market started out as produce only and this year Barker was excited that there was produce and more from the beginning. He also mentioned that the produce only gets better throughout the season. 



Business even started happening before the official start time. Barker explained that it wasn’t unordinary, as sellers typically flock into the market quarters around 5:30 AM to set up. Once they are set up, they can part with their merchandise before the actual opening time. Also excited for the first market of the year is one of the craft vendors, Martha Bennett. She talked about last year’s season and the varied times throughout the summer that certain communities allowed art and craft vendors back in. At the markets she was able to sell at, masks were the big-ticket item. 





This year the Sturgeon Bay Farm Market won’t skip a Saturday up to mid-October unless there is inclement weather. 





Heat advisory for pets

With temperatures and humidity soaring to record highs this weekend, area veterinarians warn pet owners to take every precaution to keep their furry friends cool and safe. Extreme exposure to sun and heat can lead to your dog experiencing dangerous health effects. Dr. Jordan Kobilca from the Door County Veterinary Hospital shares some signs your pet may be suffering from heatstroke.



Dr. Kobilca says you should take your pet to a veterinarian if they experience any symptoms of heatstroke. Animals should never be left alone in vehicles, and pet owners should keep any outdoor activity to a minimum during high daytime temperature and humidity. Early morning or later evening hours are best for taking your pet for walks or exercise. You can find more tips to keep your pets safe in extreme heat here. 

Cheese consumption continues to rise

Cheesemakers in Door and Kewaunee counties are seeing more people buying their products, and not just because it is June Dairy Month. According to the International Dairy Foods Association, per capita cheese consumption has gone up 19 percent over the last decade, running opposite of where beverage milk has gone. A recent study by Tetra Pack, which packages food items, also showed that 36 percent of global consumers admitted eating a lot more cheese during the pandemic. Krohn Cheese Store manager Sally Vandermoss says people spending more time at home experimenting with different recipes has led to a wider variety of cheese being bought.

Supermarket Perimeter says total cheese sales totaled $3.4 billion in 2020, seeing overall category sales grow by more than 18 percent.



Soderberg to head up Baileys Harbor tourism efforts

A familiar face from around Baileys Harbor will be taking over the community association’s coordinator position. Ellie Soderberg is transitioning into the role as she looks to follow in the footsteps of Brynn Swanson. Previously working in commercial real estate in Minneapolis, Soderberg has more recently served as a catering manager and a bartender for a pair of Baileys Harbor businesses. After a pandemic-riddled year, Soderberg is happy there are events to help plan for the community in 2021.

The Baileys Harbor Community Association will still shut down Highway 57 for its Fourth of July celebration this year, but not for a parade. It has opted for an afternoon-long block party complete with vintage cars, food trucks, and selfie stations before fireworks take over the night sky at dusk. Soderberg says other events like its farmers' market and concerts in the park are going on as planned.   

Dollar General fate to be decided Wednesday

The third time could be the charm for Dollar General to get its Door County location. The Brussels Town Board will meet on Wednesday to go over the final paperwork for the store to be located on County DK.


Town Clerk JoAnn Neinas is expected to notify the board then that the paperwork is in order and work could soon begin. The town operates under county zoning rules, so if everything checks out it legally cannot do anything to stop it, unlike similar attempts to build Dollar General stores in Sister Bay and Egg Harbor.


While the store could be direct competition for at least one local business, Town Chairperson Joe Wautier notes there are also some positives to the project.

The town board will also discuss Door County’s lodging tax increase and upcoming road projects when it meets on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. inside the Brussels Community Center.

Senior farm market program ramps up

With the popular return of farm markets in Door County, qualifying seniors can begin applying for assistance in getting their fruits and vegetables. The Aging and Disability Resource Center of Door County is coordinating the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program, offering vouchers for low-income older adults to buy produce at Door County farm markets. 


Each county gets alloted a certain number of $25 vouchers in June every year. Vendors will typically have signage to tell whether or not they take the vouchers. ADRC Assistant Director Jenny Fitzgerald notes that the only changes people may notice are annual income guidelines that can fluctuate. She adds that options to apply for the program in person or over the phone exist like they did last year, and the purpose of the program is still the same. 



The program goes through October. 


Kewaunee sees hospitalization; one Door County positive

In Kewaunee County’s weekly COVID19 report, there was one person who was admitted to a hospital and six positive cases throughout the week. There were no new deaths in the county. As of Friday, Kewaunee County has nine active cases. In Door County’s COVID19 report on Friday, there was one positive test out of 28 administered for the day. There were no new hospitalizations or deaths. 


Door County is at 63.9% of residents with a vaccine dose and 58.9% that are fully vaccinated. In Kewaunee County, 39.7% have one dose and 37.1% have completed the entire series. This week, Wisconsin vaccinated over 47,000 people, which is the lowest of any week in 2021. Wisconsin has 48.2% of its population with at least one vaccine dose.


Sheriff's focus on mental health creates staff change

The Door County Sheriff’s Department has taken steps to be more aware of people’s mental well-being, and now they get to show those steps in the form of a title. The department formed a Mental Health and Community Engagement Deputy role and filled it with Deputy Chris Ott. The position is nothing Ott thought he would seriously consider until within this last year. It wasn’t until a week-long training on crisis intervention that the possibility of taking a role like this piqued his interest. 


Ott began the role on June 1st, and thinks it will be interesting to experience the new differences in his work. He will take on the role while maintaining patrol duties. The position is not one that is universally utilized, and Ott says he realized how essential the position can be after talking to people who’ve held similar posts. Ott adds that it’s important to realize not everyone is affected the same by each circumstance. 



As the leader of the department’s Crisis Intervention Team, Ott looks forward to building rapport with people in the community and learning their backgrounds. He notes that this could help him in certain high-stress situations involving these people. Much of the Door County Sheriff’s Department has experienced crisis intervention training, and Ott hopes one day the initiative expands. 


(Photo courtesy of the Door County Sheriff’s Department)


Coast Guard holding event to ensure boating compliance

Boaters can find peace of mind on Saturday with a free service being offered by the US Coast Guard. Three vessel examiners from the Coast Guard Auxiliary will be checking people’s boats at the Harbor Club Marina by Sonny’s Pizzeria in Sturgeon Bay. One of the examiners, Jeff Feuerstein, says that this check is especially useful for boats traveling on Lake Michigan and Green Bay.



Feuerstein adds that those who pass will get a decal for their boat and if they don’t they will get a list of things needed to pass the check next time. Not only does Feuerstein admire the educational aspect of the checks, but it’s a chance for boaters to stay ahead of the game with compliance. He adds that transient boats can also schedule to be examined at the transient dock. They can also call an examiner to schedule a time that works for both parties outside of Saturday. 


Another plus is that boaters won’t have to worry about being cited, and Feuerstein encourages people with smaller, unregistered boats to put it on a trailer and have it checked out. Some of the boats will also be inspected for the first time in two years, as the Coast Guard could not do checks last year. Depending on the size of the boat, checks are estimated to take 15 to 30 minutes. Feuerstein will serve as the contact point for those who want to sign up for a time slot and can be contacted at 920-450-6069. The event goes from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM. 


Ag traffic keeps steady as harvest begins

Do not expect traffic to change too much in Door and Kewaunee counties despite farmers taking care of planting last week.


According to the United States Department of Agriculture, corn, soybeans, and oats are all over 90 percent planted as of the end of May. All are within a few days ahead of last year’s pace and over a week ahead of the five-year average. The attention has now turned to the first cutting of hay, which is about 27 percent complete and four days ahead of last year.


Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski says that means motorists will have to remain vigilant when sharing the road with agricultural vehicles as they enter and exit the roadway and into fields.

According to the Wisconsin State Farmer, 29 percent of the 34 agricultural-related deaths in 2018 were because of collisions between passenger vehicles and farm-related equipment. Joski credits recent law changes regarding passing agricultural vehicles and better markings for farm implements for the safe planting and harvest season so far this year. You can read more about how you can stay safe on area roadways alongside agricultural vehicles below.




This past weekend, I was traveling down one of our state highways when I found myself along with other vehicles behind a piece of agricultural equipment. As we approached a passing zone, the vehicle in front of me began a passing maneuver, which I thought was risky as there were a series of driveways in the immediate area. Sure enough, as the driver pulled into the left lane, the tractor turned left into one of those driveways. Fortunately the driver observed this as well and was able to pull back into the right lane until the tractor had completed its left turn. I was glad that our newly minted 15 year old driver trainee was in the vehicle with us so that we could use this as a teachable moment. The lesson here is that even if you are in a passing zone following any vehicle, be aware of intersections or driveway access points as the unit in front of you may or may not be able to signal their intentions before making that left turn.


With June being Dairy month, I thought a quick breakdown of Agricultural equipment would be a good topic.


As the summer Planting and growing season kicks into full gear, we continue to see various types of equipment on the roads in support of the many agricultural operations which go on each and every day. Each specific operation brings with it a unique piece of equipment which may be operating on our roads and subsequently different guidelines and laws which govern that piece of equipment while it is on the roads.


There are three basic categories of equipment which you may see from time to time. The first is an IoH (Implement of Husbandry). This category includes those pieces of equipment we typically associate with agriculture such as tractors, combines, and choppers as well as the equipment they may be connected to such as plows, cultivators, and planters. There are specific laws pertaining to lighting, width, height, and weight which govern these units. One important law related to these pieces of equipment is that unlike other units on the road which you may pass in a no passing zone if they are going less than half the posted speed limit, if you find yourself behind Implements of Husbandry, you are not to pass them when in a no passing zone. Also, these units are exempt from registration so although you may see a slow moving vehicle sign on them, you will not find a license plate.


The next category of equipment is titled AgCMV (Agricultural Commercial Motor Vehicle) which may appear to be a typical commercial vehicle such as a straight truck or tractor trailer combination, but due to the modifications for agricultural use and the purpose in which they are used they too have special exemptions. While they must adhere to the various lighting and width/height limitations, they are exempt from standard registration which you would see in the next category of CMV.


The last category of equipment is that of a CMV (Commercial Motor Vehicle). These units, although being used in pursuit of agricultural business, are treated the same as any other commercial motor vehicle. They must be registered and equipped no different than their counterparts, and those operating them must have proper licensing.


In regards to who can operate various agricultural units on a public roadway, there are some varying factors. For implements of husbandry, they can be operated by any person age 16 or greater, as well as any person 14 years of age or greater that has completed an approved tractor operation safety course. For AgCMV’s the operator must again be 16 years of age and possess a valid Class D Drivers License. For Commercial motor vehicles, the operator must possess a CDL (Commercial Drivers License)


In regards to both registration and licensing of both AgCMV and CMVs, there are further differences which can change the requirements. If a unit is owned by the farm and operated by an employee of that farm in pursuit of that farm’s agricultural operations, then the operator would not need a CDL but rather just a class D license. If that same piece of equipment was hired out to another farm, then those drivers would then need a CDL. This is also the circumstances surrounding registration of AgCMVs.


In all matters pertaining to the rules of the road, all of these units must adhere to all of them. This includes abiding by speed limits and stopping and yielding right of way at controlled intersections. The only exemption is for IoH which may occupy more than their lane of traffic. These units due to their width may cross the centerline, however must still yield that lane for oncoming traffic.


It is easy to see how this can become confusing even for those of us who work in the law enforcement profession, and we are very fortunate to have our partners in the State Patrol Motor Carrier Division who assist us in enforcement here in Kewaunee County. If you have questions regarding the various rules and restrictions related to the operation of such equipment below is a great link to learn more.

Cause unknown in barn, RV fire

The Brussels-Union-Gardner Fire Department is still searching for answers regarding an early morning fire in the town of Gardner.


Crews were dispatched just after 6 a.m. when the homeowner on Claflin Park Road called 911 to report that his barn and recreational vehicle were on fire. Both the barn and the RV were fully engulfed by the time firefighters from B.U.G., Southern Door, Sturgeon Bay, Casco, and Luxemburg could start putting out the fire. B.U.G. Fire Chief Curt Vandertie says there are a lot of possibilities as to what started the fire.

Door County EMS, the Door County Sheriff’s Department, and Wisconsin Public Service also responded to the fire. Vandertie says two different insurance companies were helping sort out the details while a cause is trying to be found. In addition to the RV, two boats, tools, and other items inside the barn were completely destroyed by the fire. The blaze also caused heat damage to an ATV and another nearby structure.  No injuries were reported and crews were able to depart from the scene just before 7:40 a.m.


Picture courtesy of Curt Vandertie

Gibraltar seniors embrace change

The transition from high school to the real world may be easier in some respects compared to what Gibraltar’s Class of 2021 has already experienced. The first part of their junior year was spent in portable classrooms out the school’s gym as Gibraltar started work on its $4.5 million referendum projects that included a refurbished library and media center. Just as they were getting used to the new space, they went home due to the pandemic for virtual learning before they returned on a limited basis in January. Gibraltar’s outgoing principal Gereon Methner hopes this weekend’s outdoor ceremony is the ending the senior class deserves.

This year’s seniors will be the first to be recognized by the Laude System of Honors. Students graduating Summa Cum Laude, which is the highest level in the system, include Lexie Henkel, Jackson Hitzeman, Eliza Maltby, Molly McCormack, and Marcus Reinhardt. The graduation ceremony will take place at the football field on June 6th beginning at 2 p.m.

Garage-hopping a weekend priority for Sturgeon Bay

The city of Sturgeon Bay will truly embody the saying, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” on Friday and Saturday. The City Wide Garage Sale event with forty-nine property owners participating will be sure to inform shoppers how to get around to different sales. In May, after all the vendors signed up, the city made a map of all the participating households with the days, times, and even the types of items they will be selling. After the event was a scratch a year ago, Municipal Services Secretary Patricia Quinn feels like there is a lot of excitement, even beyond Sturgeon Bay. 



People are free to sell and shop as they choose, but Municipal Services is counting on people to be respectful of others' rules and boundaries. The garage sale map can be found on the city’s website. 


Dairy Promo recognizes Eberts

Algoma farmer Randy Ebert says he likes to work behind the scenes, but he and his wife Renee were front and center for their role in the dairy industry on Thursday morning.


The Kewaunee County Dairy Promotion Committee recognized the Eberts as their Volunteers of the Year at the organization’s annual June Dairy Month Kickoff Breakfast held at the Rendezvous of Luxemburg. Their farm, Ebert Enterprises, was the site of the Kewaunee County Breakfast on the Farm in 2003 and Wisconsin Farm Technology Days. The Eberts routinely invite school groups to their farm for field trips and donate dairy products to local causes and events.


Kewaunee County UW-Extension Agriculture Agent Aerica Bjurstrom also pointed out that many school-aged children know Renee from her time donning a cow suit while visiting local schools.  A sixth-generation farmer, a humbled Randy Ebert took the time to thank his employees for affording him and Renee the time to give back to the industry.

The annual kickoff event for June Dairy Month also included the formal introduction of Augustian Farms as this year’s host for the Kewaunee County Breakfast on the Farm Father’s Day weekend.





Meat supply at stores could be impacted from cyberattack

The aftermath of a cyberattack against all JBS USA beef plants earlier this week, including the one in Green Bay, may not be felt immediately in local supermarkets. John Calhoun, Tadych’s Econo Foods store manager, says the temporary shutdown by the plant will only lead to a slight delay in deliveries for a seven-to-fourteen-day period. Calhoun compares the current situation to what supermarkets experienced in supply chain shortages last year. He says prices may increase due to simple supply and demand.  

The cyberattack targeted servers supporting JBS facilities in North America, as well as Australia.  Production resumed on Thursday at all JBS USA beef processing plants Thursday. Calhoun notes that the supply chain for produce is being impacted this spring due to a depleted labor market.   The ripple effect hinders crops from being picked and shipped on time with the labor market. As a result, the full recovery of the sound food chain is taking longer than expected. 

Weather alert issued for Kewaunee, Southern Door counties

Residents in Kewaunee County and parts of southern Door County are expected to see some strong thunderstorms this evening. The National Weather Service has issued a significant weather advisory for the area until 5:45 p.m. due to a line of thunderstorms it has tracked from 11 miles west of Sturgeon Bay all the way down to Appleton. Winds in excess of 40 mph are possible with these storms and the National Weather Service warns that the torrential rainfall with this storm system could cause localized flooding.

Door County adds one new positive test

Door County’s single positive COVID-19 test result on Thursday follows the improving trend in the state’s fight against the pandemic.


Only eight tests were performed and no new deaths or hospitalizations were reported. The state reported only 83 new positive tests on Thursday and no additional deaths.


On the vaccine front, close to 63 percent of Door County residents have received at least one dose with 143 shots administered so far this week. Just shy of 40 percent of Kewaunee County residents have received at least one dose with 62 shots administered during the same time frame.


The public health departments in both counties are offering the vaccine for walk-ins and by appointment. Door County hosts its vaccine clinics on Wednesdays from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Door County Senior Center and on the third Thursday of each month at the Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Station.

Washington Island School honors two classes

The theme song to the television show “Friends” will take on new meaning Friday when Washington Island School hosts its outdoor commencement exercises on Friday.


The school will not just honor the six members of the class of 2021 but also its two alums from the class of 2020. While space underneath the tent will be reserved for the graduates and their families, the community is still welcomed to celebrate the achievements of the two graduation classes. In addition to their diplomas, the graduates will also be presented with quilts handmade by community members tailored especially to them.


Washington Island School Principal Michelle Kanipes says the class of 2021 is a special and hardworking class with all six students heading to college in the fall, four of which with several credits already banked. With the class’ theme song as The Rembrandts’ “I’ll Be There For You,” Kanipes is happy the community will be able to show that they are there for them.

With valedictorian Tara DeJardin and salutatorian Julia Valentincic leading the way, Washington Island School will host its graduation ceremony on Friday at 6 p.m.

Residents able to comment on conservation approach

Door County residents have a chance to influence how the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources approaches caring for the 300 miles of  Door peninsula shoreline. The DNR is hoping residents leave thoughts on their strategic analysis for existing and alternative coastal conservation practices. The DNR reported in a press release that changing water levels and the intensity of storm events have posed a significant challenge to managing Lake Michigan and Green Bay. 


The DNR also reported that the coastal erosion and flooding have led to an increase in applications for DNR waterway permits for placing stone revetment, jetties, and other types of structures along the shore. The rise in shoreland protection projects could potentially have negative environmental impacts such as the loss of fish habitat and disruption of natural resources. This analysis is an effort to educate decision-makers about current conditions and different ways to go about coastal management. People can comment on a draft outline touching on the topics discussed in the analysis and are asked to fill out an online questionnaire. 


Destination Door County names Interim CEO

A nationwide search is on for Destination Door County to find its next leader, but on Wednesday they announced former CEO Jack Moneypenny’s temporary replacement. Current Director of Communications and Public Relations Jon Jarosh, who has been with the organization since 1997, was named the Interim CEO. The head of the search committee tasked with finding a permanent replacement Todd Trimberger praised what Moneypenny accomplished in his fourteen years as the CEO but is confident Jarosh can carry the torch during the search. 



DDC and their search committee for this hire are teaming up with executive search firm SearchWide Global to carry out the hire. No set deadline for permanently filling the vacancy has been announced, but Trimberger estimates it’ll take about three months. The process will include SearchWide Global conducting a needs assessment with Door County stakeholders that will help build a desired profile. The search committee for Moneypenny’s successor also includes Tim Guckenberg, Greg Stillman, Bob Papke, Jeff Lutsey, Nedd Neddersen, Pam Seiler, and Myles Danhausen Jr. Moneypenny’s official exit is scheduled for July 14th.

Crafts return as Sturgeon Bay market opens

This weekend Michigan Street shoppers will have vendor options they didn’t have in 2020. The Sturgeon Bay Farm Market will start back up on Saturday and will have a much more normal feel than last year’s limited market. City Administrator Josh VanLieshout called it an indicator of the summer season in his Administrator’s report this week. VanLieshout did point out that while the lifting of restrictions is exciting, the market will still look different than it did in 2019. 



There will still be sanitation practices like hand washing stations, but limits on the number of vendors won’t apply anymore. This year craft and prepared food vendors are also back after last year’s market was limited to produce vendors. The first summer market will be held from 8:30 AM to noon. 


(Photo courtesy of Travel Wisconsin)

Door County negative streak ends

For the first time in over a week, Door County Public Health reported a positive COVID19 test. In Wednesday’s COVID19 report, seventeen tests were performed and one turned out to be positive. There were no new hospitalizations or deaths in the county. 


Door County has 63.5% of its residents with at least one vaccine dose and 58.5% that are fully vaccinated. In Kewaunee County, 39.5% of residents have received a vaccine dose and 36.8% are fully vaccinated. 


According to a press release from the US Department of Justice, vaccine providers must not sell or seek reimbursement for the COVID19 vaccine or any related supplies and must administer the vaccine regardless of the recipient’s ability to pay. If you feel that you have been improperly charged, you’re asked to contact the federal government. More information can be found in this Department of Health Services news release. 


Casco Marine memorialized with 11th annual softball tournament

As Memorial Day ceremonies were celebrated throughout Door and Kewaunee Counties Monday morning, a 1997 graduate of Luxemburg-Casco High School will be memorialized this coming weekend.  The 11th annual Lance Corporal Dean Opicka Softball Tournament will be held at the Casco Village Park from Thursday through Sunday.  Opicka served in the Marines and Operation Iraqi Freedom and was one of three L-C graduates who died in the Iraq War.  Annie Zelewske says Dean was always about helping children and the community. 



The softball tournament begins at 6:15 Thursday evening with the motorcycle ride on Sunday beginning with registration at 8:30 at the park in the morning.  All proceeds from the events benefit the Lance Corporal Dean Opicka Memorial Fund which has raised nearly $125,000 for local academic scholarships and local hardship gifts over the past ten years. 

YMCA honoring and welcoming CEOs

The Door County YMCA will be celebrating while evaluating on Thursday, June 10th. At their annual board meeting open to the public, they will honor former CEO Tom Beernsten and recognize his tenure. Though she’s been at the YMCA for about six months, current CEO Heidi Erickson will get a formal welcome publicly. Incoming and outgoing board members will also be acknowledged. 


The meeting can also help the YMCA moving forward, as they are encouraging both members and non-members to attend the meeting. The YMCA will celebrate all the accomplishments this past year despite the obstacles, but will also want to hear from the people in attendance. Annual Campaign Director Alyssa Dantoin discussed the appreciation for hearing what members and non-members have to say.



There are in-person and virtual options to attend the meeting, and people can call the Door County YMCA to pre-register. 


Rotary Club awards over $20,000 in scholarships

The Rotary Club of Sturgeon Bay announced this week that over $20,000 in scholarships were awarded to area students.  Fourteen Door County high school graduates were recognized across three different scholarships for their academic and personal achievements, along with volunteering.  John Swanson, chair of the Technical Education Scholarship Fund, says the scholarships have made a big impact on students realizing their career dreams.




Griffin Slezewski of Southern Door High School was the 2021 recipient of the Rotary Rising to the Challenge Award.  The award is given to an outstanding student who has overcome adversity in their personal or family lives. 


The Rotary Service above Self Award was given to Isabella Dippel, Elena LeRoy, and Lauren Alger of Sturgeon Bay and to Gabrielle Renard and Hailey Shimon of Southern Door.  The award was presented to students who wrote essays that detailed how their service to the community impacted both them and the ones they helped. 


Eight Door County students were presented the Robert Muckian Technical Education Award that is presented to outstanding students pursuing a degree or certificate from a technical college.  The 2021 recipients were Rylee Krishka, Paul Lautenbach, and Danielle Schleicher of Sevastopol, and William Koelpien, Dylan Buhr, Brooklyn Olson, Daniel Meier and Aiden Vandertie from Southern Door.


The Rotary Club of Sturgeon Bay is an organization of nearly 100 members that celebrated its 100th-anniversary last year.  

Youth organizations see return of normal

Members of youth organizations across Door and Kewaunee counties are seeing signs of normalcy after the pandemic forced many of their activities to be held virtually.


Members of Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, and Scouts USA are slowly returning to in-person meetings and outdoor activities. Both the Girl Scouts of Northwestern Great Lakes and Bay-Lakes Council BSA are looking forward to hosting camps for their members this summer with some COVID-19 considerations still in place.


4-H clubs in Kewaunee County are also returning to more in-person activities with some hybrid options also in place for those who do not feel comfortable yet. It comes at a time when kids are working hard on fair exhibits and other projects with people they may have not been able to interact with at 4-H functions in some time. Kewaunee County 4-H Educator Jill Jorgensen says their clubs did a great job adjusting to the situation along the way but adds that you can see extra enthusiasm among its members.

Jorgensen is hopeful for the fall when youth organizations like 4-H typically ramp up their recruitment efforts. Kewaunee County 4-H’s annual Time and Talent event will also look a little closer to normal compared to last year when it takes place on Sunday at the Kewaunee County Fairgrounds beginning at 10 a.m.

Sturgeon Bay recognizes Pride Month

The Sturgeon Bay Common Council made a notion of acceptance at their meeting on Tuesday. Mayor David Ward and the council made a proclamation declaring June Open Door Pride Month in Sturgeon Bay. Ward read key points in the proclamation outlining goals to take pride in the city’s diversity and to be a safe, supportive, and welcoming place. The public comment portion of the meeting was filled with gratitude from Open Door Pride. Cathy Grier with the organization spoke first. She shared her gratitude for the welcoming feeling that comes with the city government’s support. She also shared what the annual proclamation has meant to area residents. 



Grier accepted a plaque from Mayor Ward on behalf of the organization. Other members also shared sentiments about how thankful and proud they were of Sturgeon bay. Open Door Pride is in their fifth year of existence and is holding a virtual Pride Festival on June 26th. 


Lodging feeling the boom

Memorial Day weekend was just a continuation of what has been a busy 2021 for Door County’s lodging industry.


According to the Door County Tourism Zone’s records, comparative occupancy rates through March this year are not just outpacing 2020, but also each of the last five years. March’s 26.77 percent comparative occupancy rate was more than double last year and close to six percent higher than any other year dating back to 2016.

Foremost Management Services owner Denise Stillman operates lodging establishments in Sturgeon Bay, Egg Harbor, Fish Creek, and Sister Bay. She says people are still not booking as far as out as they may have done in the past, but the interest in getting out of town and coming to Door County remains

She predicts traffic to the county will only increase throughout the summer thanks part in to travelers still wanting to stay close to home for their vacations and the few opportunities currently available for international travel. With the development of newer venues for drinking and dining for young people plus all of the arts and outdoor activities available, Stillman believes Door County has become a place where there is something for everyone.


Photo courtesy of Foremost Resorts

Gas leak triggers fire call

Members of the Gibraltar Fire and Rescue squad were still on the scene early Wednesday morning after a gas leak started a fire in the home’s mechanical room. The call to dispatch came in at around 9:50 p.m. to report to the home located on White Cliff Road in the Town of Gibraltar. The homeowner closed the door to the mechanical room, which seems to have suffocated the fire before crews arrived. The responding fire departments of Gibraltar, Baileys Harbor, Ephraim, and Egg Harbor never had to spray a drop of water. The home’s gas was eventually turned off, but as of Wednesday morning, Gibraltar Fire Chief Andy Bertges says either propane or methane were still being detected even after venting the home.

Bertges says the homeowner is fine and credited his quick action to containing the fire and the smoke to just one room. Other responding departments were allowed to leave the scene at around midnight.



Sturgeon Bay approves construction bids

Positive sentiments were the theme of Tuesday’s Sturgeon Bay Common Council meeting. The meeting started off with a proclamation making June Open Door Pride Month. In other business, City Administrator Josh VanLieshout read a recommendation which was approved, awarding a contract for a project renovating the Municipal Services building reception area. The contract was awarded to RJM Construction, LLC. They made the lowest bid coming in at $76,300. The Sturgeon Bay Engineering Department reported the total costs for the project will come in well under the remaining money in the 2021 Capital Budget for City Hall improvements. 


A staff restructure with the Sturgeon Bay Police Department was unanimously approved, creating an Assistant Chief position. Councilman Dan Williams made a motion to adjust the command structure, which was an idea made by Police Chief Clint Henry. No positions will be added or subtracted, but rather the Lieutenant position, which is unfilled, will dissolve. Henry clarified the idea, saying that a 2019 wage and compensation study found that the Lieutenant position being renamed to Assistant Chief will be a more accurate reflection of job tasks. He added that it’ll help reorganize job duties in the department, especially for the Chief and Captain. The change is expected to paint a clearer picture in wage negotiations. 


The council took care of their last discussion item, and approved a recommendation from the City Plan Commission, recommending that the council work with WWP Development, LLC, regarding their development proposal for the west waterfront. WWP Development is proposing to develop the Sturgeon Bay Plaza, an approximately 5400 square foot building consisting of two stories and a rooftop patio. The funds to build the plaza come out to $2.4 million. Their proposal states that they desire to have tenants up and running in the plaza in May of 2022. 


VanLieshout said in the City Administrator’s report he’s pleased with the process of the Otumba Beach project and also stressed for people to pay attention to road construction barricades. Mayor David Ward finished the meeting touching on Monday’s Memorial Day Ceremony. He called it a nice event and was impressed with the Sturgeon Bay Fire Department preparing the event which held about 200 people. 


Residents warned of communication red flags

With times drastically changing in the last year, the opportunities for scammers to prey on those vulnerable has rapidly increased. The COVID19 vaccine rollout that is widely perceived as positive news has also created ways for scammers to get creative. Money Management Counselors Director Leslie Boden acknowledges the uptick in robo-calls and emails in the area imitating places like Walmart or Amazon. The scammer offers things like gift cards or gives false ultimatums.


Emails are a particular thing to keep an eye on as they may try to emulate a brand name in the email address but typically tweak the name a bit such as changing a letter. Boden stresses vigilance when surveying emails and phone calls. 



One group that gets preyed on more often are older adults. Boden says it's amazing the lengths scammers will go, especially when calling those who aren’t fluent with the internet or cell phones. A common example includes impersonating a grandchild or someone in jail that needs money. Boden suggests that parents with children have a “junk computer” that is only used for games or other internet play and not connected to an email or financial institution. She encourages people to have a device specifically for banking as well. 



Boden says there are places to report the fraud like the FTC,, or to call MMC to be walked through how to handle potential fraud. 


Pair hospitalized in Door County

Door County kept up their streak of days without a COVID19 case, but did not have the same luck with hospitalizations. In Monday’s report from the Door County Health Department, no new positive cases were found, but two people were hospitalized due to the virus. There were no new deaths in the county. 


Door County is nearing sixty percent of residents fully vaccinated, as 63.5% have at least one dose. 58.5% of residents in Door County completed the vaccine series. In Kewaunee County, 39.5% of residents have a vaccine dose, and 36.7% are finished with the series.


Conservation program receives heavy support

Passing the state budget is a tricky process, and some outdoor conservation organizations across the state will have their eye on a particular item when the 2021-2023 budget is worked out. The Knowles-Nelson Stewardship program, which provides funds to private and public organizations, including various ones in Door County, creates wider accessibility for land protection practices. It also includes funding for certain amenities such as boat launches. Governor Tony Evers has proposed that the budget call for a ten-year reauthorization of the program, as well as $70 million in annual funding. At their May 25th meeting, the Door County Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a resolution showing support for continuation of the program. 


Door County Land Trust, which has long been a beneficiary of the program, is one of the organizations with a sharp eye on the budget. Executive Director Tom Clay hopes the supervisors’ support echoes through to lawmakers around the area and state. Clay says not renewing the program would be a gamechanger.



Clay adds that it’s important that the program is renewed for ten years rather than just two like last time. This way the land trust would have more time to perfect the initiatives and land deals that they want to complete. 


Redistricting fight heats up

Rep. Joel Kitchens is one of three Republicans hoping to cool down a brewing battle over redistricting months before states even receive data from the U.S. Census Bureau.


Both parties have sought redistricting reform for decades, but it has been a Democratic cause since the Republican-led state Legislature redrew the maps in 2011. Democrats charge that the maps have made election races uncompetitive in several districts with Republicans reaping the benefits. Several bills have been presented in recent sessions and the People’s Maps Commission was established by Governor Tony Evers in 2020 to address the issue. Supporters of redistricting reform say by switching to a different model like what is done in Iowa takes the maps out of the hands of politicians and into the hands of a non-partisan review board. Opponents say the process is unconstitutional and it should remain a duty of the state Legislature.


For the second time, Kitchens has joined Rep. Todd Novak and Rep. Todd Tranel as the only Republicans to support a bill calling for non-partisan redistricting to take place. Kitchens does not believe it will have a huge impact on the final result, but adds that many people just do not believe in the process anymore.

Without the review board in place, Kitchens is already predicting the new district maps will be up for the courts to decide. Unlike redistricting efforts in 2001 or 2011, the state government is divided between a Republican legislature and a Democratic administration. Democrats have gone to court over the 2011 maps but have been turned away by the courts along the way. Wisconsin Republicans were told in April they could not have private attorneys to help handle redistricting issues according to the Racine Journal Times.

Ahnapee Diesel a first-of-its-kind opportunity

A pit stop in the future of Wisconsin’s trucking industry is progressing in Casco. Construction at the former Luxemburg-Casco Middle School has been going on for just over a month as it retrofits a portion of the building to a diesel truck and a fabrication lab.


When completed, Ahnapee Diesel will be a joint venture of Northeast Wisconsin Technical College and Luxemburg-Casco, Kewaunee, and Denmark School Districts. The first-of-its-kind partnership comes at a time when there is not just a shortage of truck drivers but also of the people who help keep them on the road.


Luxemburg-Casco School District Superintendent Glenn Schlender says many local businesses jumped at the chance to help make the future program a success.

Schlender added that interest has already been high with over 20 students registered to take part when the facility officially opens this fall.   

Completing the course at Ahnapee Diesel will not just help students earn credits for high school, but also get on the fast track to earning a Diesel Maintenance Technician diploma from NWTC.



Schmidt family continues dairy tradition

For a glimpse at how much the dairy industry has changed in the last century, you just have to ask the Schmidt family.


The early beginnings of S&S Jerseyland Dairy in Sturgeon Bay date back to 1902 when William and Josephine Schmidt purchased the initial 120 acres and a milking herd of 20 cows. In the years since, there have been expansions, tragedy, and even a transition out and then back into milking cows. Now the operation milks over 3,300 cows daily in addition to hosting 1,200 calves and 1,600 heifers on site.


Tanner Schmidt is now a fifth-generation farmer along with his two brothers and his parents Randy and Dena. Working as the farm’s dairy manager, Schmidt has seen the technology change drastically over the years, which includes GPS technology when it comes to planting crops in the field to the monitoring collars each cow wears in their barns. He says there is a lot of information he looks over on a daily basis.

It is the technology that excites Schmidt the most as it has allowed the farm to be more productive while also limiting its carbon footprint. He added coming back to the family farm was always in the plans, calling it a privilege to work alongside his grandparents, parents, and two brothers.

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