News Archives for 2021-07

Hellman ready to serve United Way in new role

You’ve maybe seen her volunteering for the Door County United Way before, but when you see Kelly Hellman next she’ll be the organization’s Director of Operations. Hellman was announced as the Director of Operations earlier this week. Hellman and her husband have volunteered for United Way since moving to Door County in 2003. Her admiration for the organization goes back as far as 35 years. Hellman says the Door County United Way always impressed her and when the opportunity came to join full-time she was excited. 

 

 

Hellman also applauded the United Way’s response to the pandemic. She and her husband previously owned a Sturgeon Bay business and she formerly worked at Nicolet Bank.

 

(Photo from United Way of Door County) 

Meet local artists at the Door County Arts Guild Gallery Grand Opening

If you’re in the area on Tuesday, August 3rd, make a stop at the Door County Arts Guild Gallery in Egg Harbor for their grand opening. Although the gallery has been open for the past few months, the owner and curator, Jim Riead, said this is the best time to officially open the gallery within the summer season. He also described his feelings towards the grand opening, as it is his first time doing anything like it.

 

 

The event will showcase six of Door County’s home-grown artists and their work. Among the six artists, you will find various mediums as each artist specializes in their own crafts. Brian Pier, a longstanding Door County artist, will showcase the oil-based paintings he created with the Plein air technique. Patty Degenhart has also been recognized as a Door County artist who works with many mediums like clay, bronze, and mixed mediums within her paintings. Sheila Grace O’Gara is an artist who specializes in photography of all sorts. You will also meet Ann Perrizo, who creates three-dimensional art using paper made of pure cotton. Another artist that you will meet is Seth Taylor, who uses a combined Asian and western-style painting to create vivid images of animals. The final artist you will find at the opening is Nancy Wallschlageger, who paints using oil and enjoys painting landscapes as well as farm animals. The event will take place at the gallery located at 6709 Hwy 42 in Egg Harbor. Information about the gallery and all of its resident artists can be found at the DCAGG website.

Kewaunee County sees one hospitalization this week

In Friday's weekly COVID19 report from Kewaunee County, there was one hospitalization, and there are currently five active cases. There were no new deaths this week in Kewaunee County. According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Kewaunee and Door County are at the medium virus activity level. The seven-day average for new cases in the state is at 638 as of Friday afternoon. 57 Wisconsin counties are categorized as having high virus activity currently, and none are at very high, and 15 are at medium. The seven-day average for newly reported deaths is two.

On the vaccine front, 51.9% of Wisconsin residents have at least one dose and 49.3% have completed the vaccine series. In Kewaunee County, 41.9% of residents have at least one dose and 40.8% are fully vaccinated. Door County has 67.1% of residents with one or both doses and 64.9% have finished the vaccine series. 


UW Extension offers fatherhood course

UW Extension staff in Kewaunee County is offering you the opportunity to become a better father. Focus on Fathers is a four-week series where dads can learn about the positive impact they can have on their children. Through one-hour Zoom calls, Extension staff members like Human Development and Relationships Educator Renee Koenig walk dads through how they can help their children stand up for themselves, build their confidence, and deal with others. She says there are good reasons why fathers should be more involved in their children’s lives.

You can register online for the  Focus on Fathers series, which takes place on Tuesdays beginning August 3rd. 

County fairs welcoming high numbers

The Door County Fair hopes a statewide trend occurring this summer means they will see you soon this weekend. County fair attendances across Wisconsin are surging after a year where many of them were canceled. The Northern Wisconsin State Fair broke the 100,000 mark for the first time according to the Leader-Telegram in Chippewa Falls. The Waukesha County Fair said in a recent news release that it had its highest attendance in 2005. Thad Ash from the Door County Fair Board says that is a common thread he has heard from other fairs including Kewaunee County. He is hopeful that trend continues as the Door County Fair heads into the weekend with its biggest musical acts on the horizon.

The Door County Fair runs through Sunday with some new events starting on the midway on Friday in addition to a double bill of music on Friday and Saturday and more livestock judging. You can find the full schedule for the Door County Fair by clicking this link.

Kewaunee County begins search for new supervisor

The next Kewaunee County Board supervisor could be you. District 3 Supervisor Chuck Wagner officially resigned his post on the Kewaunee County Board last week  after over 20 years of serving the people of Wards 1 and 2, which covers the Town of Red River. Wagner resigned due to family reasons and told DoorCountyDailyNews.com earlier this month that he actually came into the role under similar circumstances.

 Kewaunee County Clerk Jamie Annoye is requesting interested candidates to submit their written request for consideration by August 6th. The person who is eventually appointed to the county board will serve the role until next year’s spring elections. 


Trout limit switched again

Your bag limit for trout has now increased after an emergency rule was restored by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. The lake trout harvest season for Lake Michigan, Green Bay and their respective tributaries will go year round, with a bag limit of five trout and/or salmon. 

 

This rule was already in place from 2017 through 2020 as an emergency rule designed to increase interest and opportunities to harvest lake trout. The rule came with a sunset clause that went into effect on January 1st, 2021. This brought the limits and season dates back to the way they were before 2017, when the trout bag limit was two and the season ran from March to October. DNR Great Lakes District Fisheries Supervisor Brad Eggold explained the positives of getting the emergency rule reinstated. 

 

 

The change back to the emergency ruling was made on July 23rd. The DNR is attempting to make the emergency ruling a permanent one. 

Adopt-a-Soldier completes roof project

Your generosity may have helped a World War II veteran in Sturgeon Bay get a new roof this summer. Adopt-a-Soldier Door County recently wrapped up the project after having already replaced a sewer drain and water main there for the 7th Street home. They also teamed up with Door County Habitat for Humanity, who repaired the veteran’s sidewalks. Adopt a Soldier Door County Founder Nancy Hutchinson and the organization’s committee was eager to help him out with a new roof as well. 

 

 

After being completed on Monday, the roof withstood its first big test, surviving Monday night’s storm. Their last house project of the summer is underway. Adopt-a-Soldier has started working with Door County Habitat for Humanity and members of the Coast Guard, putting siding on another veteran’s house. That project is called “Ryan’s House,” and was made possible by a grant procured from Home Depot. 

La Crosse County murder suspects apprehended

Since the Door County Sheriff’s Office alerted people on Wednesday of suspects in a La Crosse County triple homicide that were on the run, the suspects have been arrested. One of the suspects was said to have had previous run-ins with Door County Law Enforcement. Both 41-year-old Khamthanet Rattanasack and 33-year-old Nya Thau were taken into custody between Wednesday night and Thursday morning. Rattanasack was apprehended at an Amherst residence on Wednesday at 8:30 PM and placed under custody by the Portage County Sheriff’s Office. Thau was arrested at a Wausau residence at 1:45 AM on Thursday. He was apprehended by the La Crosse County Sheriff’s Office, the Wisconsin DCI, U.S. Marshall’s Service, Marathon County Sheriff’s Office, and the Wausau Police Department. 


 

Original Story

 

The Door County Sheriff’s Office is looking in conjunction with the La Crosse County Sheriff’s Office for suspects in a triple homicide in La Crosse County. The Door County Sheriff’s Office shared a press release from the La Crosse County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday and one of the two suspects identified is said to have Door County ties. The wanted suspects are males, 41-year-old Khamthanet Rattanasack with a last known address in Wausau and 33-year-old Nya Thau, with a last known address in Holmen. A vehicle identified as a 2005 Mercedes-Benz Sedan is believed to have been used in the homicide, and was recovered east of Green Bay in Brown County this past weekend. If you have information regarding the case, contact the La Crosse County Sheriff’s Office at 608-785-9629. 

 


Presentation details potential NERR site

The city of Sturgeon Bay is now a step closer to seeing what a National Estuarine Research Reserve, known as a NERR, would look like. In a meeting sponsored by the Door County Environmental Council, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay’s director of freshwater strategy, Emily Tyner, spoke to a crowd at the Maritime Museum in Sturgeon Bay Tuesday evening. Tyner is the lead for the project, and spoke about how the NERR project was landed by UWGB and how they’ll select the city holding the physical site for the reserve. The three choices UWGB has are Sturgeon Bay, Marinette, and Green Bay. Whichever city gets the NERR will be home to the 30th coastal NERR site in the nation. The new NERR will also be the third on the great lakes. Tyner said UWGB becoming a part of the NERR network would be locally relevant and nationally significant. 

 

 

Tyner also says a NERR comes with economic benefits. 

 

 

After a city is selected for the NERR site, an environmental impact study and management plan will be done. The selection of a city is expected to be done in November or December. 

State adjusts Door County COVID death count

A backlog in the state’s health department added three deaths to Door County’s weekly COVID19 report that came out on Thursday morning. One death from the months of February, March, and April were inserted to bring the county’s COVID19 death total to 30. The county did 91 tests this week, and seven were positive. Door County added three hospitalizations due to the virus this week, which puts the overall total since the pandemic at 108. Public Health encourages those 12 years old and above to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

 

Door County has 67% of their residents with at least one vaccine dose and 64.8% are fully vaccinated. In Wisconsin, 51.7% of residents have at least one vaccine dose and last week over 3,000 more people got vaccinated than in each of the previous two weeks.


Kitchens blames politics for unemployment, school aid inaction

You will not see the unemployment benefit disappear nor more money for schools after a pair of Wisconsin Legislature sessions in Madison this week. Assembly Republicans failed to override a veto by Governor Tony Evers in efforts to get rid of the federal unemployment benefit of $300 per week before the program ends September 6th. A party-line vote defeated the measure, keeping the program in place. Rep. Joel Kitchens understands that the benefit is not the sole reason for the worker shortage, but believes many of his Democratic colleagues chose to vote against the override to appease Governor Evers.

The state Assembly and Senate gaveled into special session later in the day at the request of the governor to take another look at increasing the education budget. Governor Evers called on the Wisconsin Legislature to approve $550 million for K-12 and higher education in the state, though both the Assembly and Senate gaveled out of special session without consideration or debate. With the special session coming two weeks after Governor Evers signed the biennial budget, Kitchens questions the motivation.

Barring any other special sessions, the Wisconsin Legislature’s next scheduled floor period is not until September 28th. 


Fleck reflects on her own Olympic experience

You will not find a gold medal in her office at Midsummer’s Music, but Executive Director Allyson Fleck is an Olympian in her own right. Fleck was part of the nearly 200 dance, theatrical, and musical performances that took place during the 1996 Summer Olympics. The Cultural Olympiad has been a part of the Olympics since 1952 after several years of juried competitions. Fleck says she never knew such an event surrounding the Olympics existed until her orchestra was asked to be a part of a festival playing the music accompanying silent films. Fleck says it was a fun opportunity to be part of, especially since it was the 100th anniversary of the Olympic games.

The tradition of the cultural Olympiad continues this year as Tokyo hosts the Nippon Festival, though many of the events have been altered due to increased coronavirus activity in the country.

Rain does not scare away fair faithful

All of your favorites from years’ past were back at the Door County Fair when the 150th edition of the event kicked off Wednesday. Under threatening skies the BMX bike show and rides were underway as exhibitors filed into the junior fair and livestock barns to prepare their projects for the event’s five-day run. The night had special meaning to Door County Fairest of the Fair Michaela Guilette, who was “re-crowned” by current Wisconsin Fairest of the Fairs Cayley Vande Berg and past Door County Fairest Claire Olson and Junior Fairest Helen Parks. She said it was great to see people instead of just a camera.

Wednesday was also a special night for Wisconsin-based band Boogie and the Yo-Yoz, which made its 10th appearance at the Door County Fair. Thursday marks the first day of exhibiting with judges taking a look at the horse pleasure show, beef, cultural arts, school exhibits, foods, and horticulture. More animal judging will take place on Friday and Saturday. You can find the full fair schedule by clicking this link.

 

 

Gibraltar mandates masks for youngest students, other districts optional for now

Pick a school district in Door and Kewaunee counties and you will find a number of different policies regarding masks this fall. Gibraltar Area Schools will still require its students and staff involved with grades kindergarten through sixth grade to wear masks in the classroom. Teachers working with medically fragile students and all visitors and volunteers at the school will also be required to wear a face covering. Gibraltar Superintendent Tina Van Meer says the decision was made because children under the age of 12 are not yet eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine and she believes it is the district’s responsibility to protect them until their parents can make the decision to have them vaccinated. Students in grades seven through twelve will have the option of wearing masks. Masks will be optional for students attending Washington Island, Algoma, Luxemburg-Casco, Sevastopol, Sturgeon Bay, and Southern Door School Districts.  New Southern Door Superintendent Christopher Peterson said earlier this month that the district is committed to providing a COVID-safe setting.

Kewaunee School District has not yet made a decision on protocols for masking this school year. That could potentially be made at a special board meeting this Tuesday. The Diocese of Green Bay announced on Tuesday that masking would be up to individual schools and parents. The growth of the Delta variant has put the school districts at odds with recent guidance from the Centers of Disease Control and American Academy of Pediatrics. Both organizations are recommending that all students are masked, regardless of vaccination status.

Nature Center receives warm welcome

Your trip to Peninsula State Park can include another attraction hidden in the spotlight of the reopened Eagle Tower. State precautions allowed the White Cedar Nature Center to reopen to the public earlier this month. The Friends of Peninsula State Park completed work on it last year, but the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources kept the nature center and similar buildings across the state park system shuttered due to COVID-19 concerns. Improvements began in October 2019 and included additional space, new windows, siding, and new restrooms. Steve Strucely from the Friends of Peninsula State Park says the $300,000 investment from the group has been well worth it based on the feedback they have received.

Just because you can head inside the building now does not mean the work is done at the White Cedar Nature Center. Strucely says the Friends group hopes to start work on an improved outdoor amphitheater in October and have it finished ahead of the snowfall.

 

Picture courtesy of Friends of Peninsula State Park

 

 

COVID-19 rates continue to rise

The seven-day average and the positivity rates for COVID-19 in the state continued to climb Wednesday ahead of the weekly reports from Door and Kewaunee counties.

 

The seven-day average for COVID-19 climbed to 478 in the latest report from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. The positivity rate of tests taken also rose to 5.3 percent, which is a substantial increase from a 2021 low of 0.7 percent just over a month ago. The department suggests that 98 percent of the newest COVID-19 cases were among those not fully vaccinated.

 

Door County will release its full report on Thursday, which will be followed up by Kewaunee County on Friday.

Search ongoing for murder suspect with Door County ties

The Door County Sheriff’s Office is looking in conjunction with the La Crosse County Sheriff’s Office for suspects in a triple homicide in La Crosse County. The Door County Sheriff’s Office shared a press release from the La Crosse County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday and one of the two suspects identified is said to have Door County ties. The wanted suspects are males, 41-year-old Khamthanet Rattanasack with a last known address in Wausau and 33-year-old Nya Thau, with a last known address in Holmen. A vehicle identified as a 2005 Mercedes-Benz Sedan is believed to have been used in the homicide, and was recovered east of Green Bay in Brown County this past weekend. If you have information regarding the case, contact the La Crosse County Sheriff’s Office at 608-785-9629. 

YMCA featuring new dance classes in fall

If you want to have your kids dance themselves into shape, the Door County YMCA has more options for you with its fall dance class schedule.  Door County YMCA dance instructor Amber Novotny says more children's classes are being offered besides the traditional tap and ballet, and hip hop classes.

 

 

Novotny says plans are to add a winter recital in December besides the usual spring recital in April.   The registration for Fall I sessions begins on September 21 with the first day of classes starting on September 28.  You can find more information on the Fall I sessions that are available here.   

Sturgeon Bay dealing with illegal dumping

In the past few weeks, more improper yard waste disposal incidents have been plaguing the City of Sturgeon Bay's garbage pickup. Municipal Services Director Mike Barker reminds residents that tree branches, weeds, leaves, and grasses should be taken to the compost site. Last week, a grinder was brought in for producing wood chips that are available for residents to pick up. Barker shares the city’s primary objective at the compost site.

 

 

Barker adds that rocks mixed into the piles of yard waste can damage the equipment. Tree limbs of up to six inches in diameter can be dropped off at the compost site located at 1531 Division Road. The compost site is open to the public during the day in the summer from 8 am until 4:30 pm on weekdays, and 8 am until 2 pm on weekends. 

Utilities, area prepare for another round of potential outages

With severe thunderstorms likely to return tonight in the area, utility companies are again getting ready for potential outages dues to wind and lightning damage. Wisconsin Public Service Spokesperson Matt Cullen says crews are still restoring power from storms earlier this week.  He says crews restored service to 44,000 customers in Northeastern Wisconsin including all of Door and Kewaunee counties as of late Tuesday.  If you see a powerline that is down, Cullen warns that you should stay away from it.

 

 

Cullen says he understands the frustration that customers who are impacted by the outages are experiencing this week.  He notes that WPS monitors weather conditions year-round and has crews at the ready to respond to events that impact power service to customers throughout the area.  

Library using chalk to decorate Door County

You have permission to get the sidewalks a little messy in Door County, as the Door County Library and its locations are participating in this week’s Chalk the Door. The Door County Library will be handing you four pieces of chalk if you stop by any of their locations this week and want to get artistic either at your residence or by the library. 

 

The Door County Library has been doing Chalk the Door since 2018, back when it was Chalk the Bay. Up until 2020 it was a part of the Harvest Festival, but that was cancelled last year due to COVID19. The library adjusted by participating in “Chalk the State,” however that event didn’t happen this year, but the Door County Library started their own chalk celebration. Community Relations Library Assistant Morgan Mann has enjoyed seeing people get creative with the chalk already and send the library pictures of their art. 

 

 

Mann also says businesses are choosing to participate this week. The Door County Library has locations in Sturgeon Bay, Forestville, Egg Harbor, Fish Creek, Baileys Harbor, Ephraim, Sister Bay-Liberty Grove, and Washington Island. 

 

Three million Wisconsinites vaccinated; CDC mask guidance adjusted

The Wisconsin Department of Public Health’s COVID19 report on Tuesday shows that over three million people are now vaccinated from COVID19 in the state. While vaccination rates have declined in Wisconsin, positive case numbers have gone up, and on Tuesday the seven-day average for new cases was the highest it has been since mid-May, at 419. The seven-day average for new daily deaths is two.

 

Tuesday’s report comes on the same day the Center for Disease Control updated their mask guidance. After May’s advisory from the CDC saying vaccinated people can be without masks in most situations and places, they have now changed course slightly due to Delta variant concerns. The CDC now recommends that vaccinated individuals also wear masks in areas of substantial or high transmission when indoors. The CDC also gave guidelines for education, recommending universal masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools regardless of vaccination status.

 

In Wisconsin, 51.6% of residents have one or two doses of the vaccine. In Door County, 66.9% of residents have at least one dose and 64.8% have finished the series. In Kewaunee County, 41.6% of residents have at least one dose and 40.6% are fully vaccinated. 

Dock breaking away requires early morning response

A storm that rolled through the peninsula had an effect on an entire dock when winds that reached over 50 mph broke off Dock A from the Harbor Club Marina. US Coast Guard Petty Officer Graham Wolf says that the storm caused power outages at their station and shut their communication down. He says they were alerted of the situation through their personal phones, and they launched their boat to assist dock recovery efforts at approximately a quarter to 3:00 AM. The dock took the attached boats with it, and Wolf noted that there was one individual found on one of the boats once officials caught up to the dock. 

 

 

Dock A is placed at an angle for the time being, rather than its usual spot, parallel to dock B. Captain Steve Ross with Sarter Marine Towing said they were called out between 2:00 and 2:30 AM, and the dock had stopped drifting by the time they were on scene. Ross mentioned that enough chains holding the dock in place saved the dock from drifting much further away. This was also the first time he can remember a towing call like this. 

 

 

The dock was monitored for hours afterward by Sarter Marine Towing, who held their boats by it to ensure it stayed in place. 

Gallagher searching for COVID answers

Rep. Mike Gallagher shares your frustration with how COVID-19 has impacted Americans over the last year and a half. Speaking to DoorCountyDailyNews.com last week, Gallagher charged Dr. Anthony Fauci with lying about the government funding research into naturally occurring coronaviruses in Chinese labs. He also outlined some of the steps he would take to reprimand China for covering up the impact of their research and potentially using the technology to be weaponized in the future. He believes China should not be allowed in major international organizations until they come clean.

As for the recent uptick in cases due to the Delta variant, he says we are not at a point where major actions need to be taken because the health care system in northeast Wisconsin is not overwhelmed. He supports keeping measures like vaccinations and masking optional.

Gallagher has taken aim at China for other issues in recent weeks including a report on vulnerabilities in the supply chain. 

Kids from Wisconsin ride out the storm

You were rewarded Monday night if you stuck out the rain and the wind in Egg Harbor. Kids from Wisconsin performed in front of dozens at the Peg Egan Performing Arts Center after a storm front came through the area shortly before the show. The group did decide to forgo their usual costume changes and some of their prop usage, but it still allowed Southern Door graduate and former NEW Radio intern Brady Tooley to perform in front of his home crowd. He admits his solo during the show came with a little extra emotion because of the familiar faces and surroundings.

Tooley still has more than two dozen Kids from Wisconsin shows left in the 2021 tour, including a residency at the Wisconsin State Fair next month.

Area cleans up after storm

You will find plenty of damage from the storms that came through the area Monday night and Tuesday morning. In Algoma, emergency personnel and the public works department had to ask residents to stay off of flooded streets and stay aware of down trees and power lines after storms came through just after 5 p.m. One tree pictured by the Algoma Fire Department pried up a section of the road’s curb and damaged the sidewalk. While Wisconsin Public Service has not officially given any updates on its power outages, Sturgeon Bay Utilities estimates that approximately 100 of its customers lost their electricity when high winds came through the area early Tuesday morning. Al eight lineman were called in at approximately 1:30 a.m. where they encountered mostly broken tree limbs falling on powerlines. Sturgeon Bay Utilities General Manager Jim Stawicki estimates everything should be back to normal for everyone by Wednesday.

Between 5 p.m. Monday and 7 a.m. Tuesday, the Door County Dispatch Center received 28 calls concerning fallen trees and two wires down. As of 8:45 a.m., County Highway HH was closed due to a downed tree.

 

 

Fire destroys Egg Harbor field

Approximately 16 acres of wheat and a combine were lost in a fire Monday afternoon. According to the Egg Harbor Fire Department, they were dispatched just before 2:15 p.m. to the report of a large grass fire approximately 300 feet from a residence. The first units were on the scene nearly 10 minutes later and called in for help from the fire departments of Ephraim, Sister Bay/Liberty Grove, Baileys Harbor, Jacksonport, Gibraltar, and Luxemburg, Door County Emergency Services, and Door County Sheriff’s Department. Egg Harbor Fire Chief Andy Staats credited the quick decision-making of the farmer from preventing more damage by creating a partial break using a tractor and a disc. Other than the loss of the wheat and the combine, there was no other damage and no injuries reported.

 

 

Sister Bay exploring "generational opportunity" of Wiltse property

The discussion about developing the 56-acre Wiltse property that was purchased by the Village of Sister Bay last year will be wide-ranging.  Village President Rob Zoschke says all committee heads will have input into what the future will be for the Wiltse property.  He says his vision would include relocating village offices to the new property and selling the old village buildings that have outlived their usefulness,

 

 

Zoschke suggests ideas like the old maintenance building on Mill Road being sold to a developer who could multi-level parking structure and enters into a paid parking agreement with the village.  He calls the Wiltse Property a “once in a generation” and dynamic opportunity for the Village of Sister Bay.  He says the village will also have to take control in the future to meet housing needs for village and school personnel for affordable housing.  You can listen to the complete conversation with Sister Bay Village President Rob Zoschke on the Podcast Page at DoorCountyDailyNews.com here.   

Cases rise, nearly half in state vaccinated

The Department of Health Services reported that the seven-day average of new confirmed COVID-19 cases increased by 28 percent since Friday.  On Monday, the average went up from 274 to 351 with 312 positive tests reported on Sunday.  There were no deaths and the seven-day average of deaths was two.

On the vaccination front, Wisconsin is closing in on having half of its population fully vaccinated.  Nearly three million people or 51.5 percent have received at least one dose of the vaccine while 49.1 percent had completed their vaccine series.  

Almost two-thirds (66.8 percent) of all Door County residents have been fully vaccinated, while Kewaunee County reports 40.6 percent of their residents having been vaccinated. 

Severe thunderstorm warning issued for region

A Severe Thunderstorm Warning was issued Monday about 4:30 pm until 5:00PM CDT by National Weather Service.

...A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 500 PM CDT FOR SOUTHERN MARINETTE AND CENTRAL OCONTO COUNTIES...

 

A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING IS ISSUED FOR KEWAUNEE COUNTY UNTIL 5:30 PM.

 

At 428 PM CDT, a severe thunderstorm was located 8 miles south of Marinette, moving southeast at 20 mph.  Two-inch hail and 70 mph wind gusts are possible. 

Algoma gets $1 million for affordable housing

Algoma residents can look forward to seeing some major improvements in the city in the next few years thanks to a $1 million Community Development Block Grant (CDBG).  The City of Algoma was one of 25 small cities to receive the grant, according to a release by Governor Tony Evers on Monday.  City of Algoma Administrator Jared Heyn describes the benefits the neighborhood near Perry Park will receive in 2022 and beyond.

 

 

Heyn says Algoma also received $700,000 earlier this year from a CDBG-CLOSE grant to invest in the project.  He says the extensive application process to receive the grant included documentation of the need and financial resourcing required to complete the project.  In all, over $22 million was awarded in the state for the Community Development Block Grant.   

Kewaunee County offers school vaccine clinic

You will be able to check the COVID-19 vaccine off your Back-to-School list in Kewaunee County next week. The Kewaunee County Public Health Department will host the school immunization clinic at the Kewaunee County Fairgrounds Expo Hall in Luxemburg on August 5th, which will give students above the age of 12, teachers, parents, and other community members a chance to become fully vaccinated before classes resume in September.  Kewaunee County Public Health Director Cindy Kinnard says the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has been proven effective, even against the Delta variant that has been tougher on kids than other strains. She adds it can help kids potentially stay in the classroom.

The COVID-19 school immunization clinic will take place on August 5th with the second shot coming on August 26th. The vaccine will be available from 1-6 p.m. both days. Kinnard says the department also has other days available at their office in Kewaunee if the Luxemburg dates do not work for you.

House and Garden Walk ready for its 60th edition

You can still participate in the nation’s longest-running garden party on Tuesday in Door County.  The Door County Medical Center Auxiliary will hold its 60th annual House and Garden Walk to raise money to support the hospital’s skilled nursing center and hospice care. This year’s tour highlights five different homes and gardens including the Dome Home, Binkhaven, and Windridge. Co-chairperson Wendy Walker credits the owners of the homes and gardens for allowing the community to visit even with the pandemic still lingering.

If you buy on Monday you can still get tickets for $35 at Bliss, Destination Door County, Nicolet National Bank Sturgeon Bay, Door County Coffee and Tea Company, Main Street Market, and Jerry's Flowers. Otherwise, it will be $45 to reserve your spot when you buy tickets at the individual sites. You can click this link to learn more about this year’s Door County Medical Center Auxiliary Home and Garden Show.   

 

 

 

Featured Homes

Door County House & Garden Walk –– Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Presented by Door County Medical Center Auxiliary (Photos submitted)

 

Binkhaven—A Nordic-revival cottage with all the accouterments of a modern home, it features spectacular rosemaling by Norwegian and North American artists on the interior walls and ceilings. The home is accented by traditional folk crafts. Top Photo

 

Windridge Farm—A beautifully restored historic farm garden includes raised vegetable beds, perennial gardens, fruit trees and wildflower meadows along with a renovated migrant workers dormitory used in the 1940s. Middle Photo

 

The Dome Home—Known locally as Door County’s Hobbit house or mushroom house, the home is built into the side of a sand dune and is constructed of reinforced ferro cement. The home recently has become a residence for artists. Bottom Photo

 

Windridge—Built on a bluff overlooking Green Bay and using Door County stone and 100-year-old reclaimed logs, the meticulously restored home features a landscaped stone terrace and circular drive garden. No photo available.

 

Champfleur—Translated as “flower field,” the home is a contemporary Scandinavian cottage surrounded by gardens, while the home’s interior features an eclectic art collection from around the world. No photo available.

 

 

Same tunes, different take at Birch Creek

Even if you caught a show during the first session of Big Band Jazz at Birch Creek Music Performance Center, there is a good chance you will see something new during its second session. With the new students that moved in on Sunday comes a different faculty. The second session will play almost the same selections as the first group, but with a different approach to the music. Birch Creek Executive Director Mona Christenson says the first jazz session is typically more “in your face” than the second, which she describes as being a little more reserved. She points to the improvised sections of each song being the biggest difference.

Christenson says its summer season has featured students from more than a dozen different countries. The second session of Big Band Jazz will have its first concert on Wednesday, July 28th at 7 p.m. with pre-show music beginning at 6:30 p.m. 

 

Picture Courtesy of Birch Creek Music Performance Center

Ehlers-Kwaterski's decision to come home a family one

Come September, you’ll see a new person leading Destination Sturgeon Bay, but it won’t be someone entirely new to the city. Cameryn Ehlers-Kwaterski knew there was a chance Door County is where she would eventually wind up, but didn’t imagine the opportunity would come this early. Ehlers-Kwaterski, who accepted the Executive Director position for Destination Sturgeon Bay, was raised in Sturgeon Bay and is married to a Gibraltar graduate. While they were in no rush to leave Rome, Wisconsin, they couldn’t pass up the chance to move back with their now growing family. 

 

 

Ehlers-Kwaterski considers herself fortunate to collaborate with teammates on board at Destination Sturgeon Bay. She officially begins her new role in September. You can listen to her entire interview with Door County Daily News where she talks about the transition from her role with Visit Rome, WI and the opportunities she looks forward to in Sturgeon Bay in our podcasts page

 

League of Women Voters bringing popular car parade back

The Door County League of Women Voters is inviting you to take in a car parade again in Sturgeon Bay on August 26th, after last year’s event was so successful. Door County League of Women Voters Chair Pat Scieszinski said the parade, with costumes celebrating Women’s Equality Day and the 100 year anniversary of women’s right to vote, was so much fun that people wanted a 101st-anniversary celebration. 

 

 

Scieszinski says there is huge excitement to be doing in-person events again. Depending how well this parade goes, Scieszinski says the car parade could become an annual event.

Pelican growth visible in northeast Wisconsin

If you feel like you’ve seen a lot more pelicans around than in years past, you’re not alone. While there isn’t a formal estimate from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources for area pelican population, DNR Migratory Bird specialist Taylor Finger says they are starting to keep track of them when they’re seen. He emphasizes that the evidence for growing numbers is apparent. 

 

 

Finger says that by counting them when they do their surveys for other species, the DNR hopes to start recording long-term data on pelican numbers. A different estimate this spring says there are about 2500 nesting pairs in the area. 

(Photo by Arlene Koziol) 

 

How Are You Going to Transport Your Kayak?

I’ve talked about this before, but it’s an important consideration worth touching on again.  How do you plan to transport your kayak?

 

I’ve talked to many at events who are excited about getting a kayak, however, they haven’t thought about getting it from home to the water.  The challenge is not as big with lighter sit-in touring and recreational kayaks, which are easy to load on a roof-top rack. 

 

Sit-on-top fishing kayaks, which are usually wider and heavier, are a different animal.  Add in the even heavier and wider self-propelled fishing kayaks and the challenge is magnified.  Two people can handle most of the fishing kayaks for roof-top transport with one of the many great roof-rack systems on the market.  Much easier, especially if you are alone, is some sort of kayak trailer or a utility trailer that can easily be modified for kayaks.  For the past 10 years I’ve been using a kayak trailer, which makes my fishing outings so much easier and more fun.  At most launches I can simply back right up to the water with an easy time loading and unloading.  Also, for storage, I leave the kayak on the trailer.  Do your research and ask the outfitter you buy from for their suggestions for transport, whether a trailer or roof-rack system.

 

I’ve been out on the waters of Door County several times in my kayaks over the past couple of months and continue to appreciate using the various boat and kayak launches with my trailer.  Also, being able to use roads that dead-end at the water to launch and be sure to park off the road. 

 

Smallmouth bass fishing continues to be challenging compared to just a few years ago.  To help protect our fishery, please practice catch, photograph, and release, along with getting the bass back in the water quickly.  As always, if you have any kayak/kayak fishing questions or questions related to transporting your kayak, please email me at kayakfishingwisconsin@gmail.com

Record year for Door County Parks

It's still July, but Door County parks have already seen as much attendance this summer then all of last year.  Parks Manager Burke Pinney says the calculation is based on three indicators of boat launches, the amount of garbage produced in the park, and pit toilet pump-outs.  He says most people have been good about disposing of trash, but a few beach properties have had issues with littering.

 

 

Pinney says the last resort is to write tickets to individuals who violate the county park system rules.   He notes that no glass containers are allowed in parks and that hours are from 30 minutes before sunrise until 11 pm.  The Door County Parks Department has written fewer tickets and warnings this year than last year, despite the increased attendance at the parks. 

Climate Change Coalition diving into Ephraim swamp

You’ll have a couple opportunities to take in a northern Door County treasure full of different life in July and September. On July 31st, Lee Frelich, who is a University of Minnesota Center for Forest Ecology Director and a part-time Door County resident will discuss the current ecology of the Ephraim Swamp during a hike to a limited number of visitors. The swamp is considered a rare coastal wetland by the Niagara Escarpment, which houses a diverse list of plants and animals. Frelich will be bringing a wealth of knowledge, having authored over 160 publications with 200 co-authors from 23 countries. The Climate Change Coalition will do another hike led by Frelich and Chuck Lauter, who has lived on the edge of the swamp for years, on Saturday, September 25th. More information on the hikes can be found here

 

Lego sculptures showcased in Sister Bay

If you didn’t make it Saturday you can still get the same experience as everyone who enjoyed the views and activities of Brick Party by the Bay in Sister Bay on Sunday. Not only did kids and adults alike enjoy seeing and interacting with lego sculptures in the Sister Bay Village Hall, they also could play with bubbles and design their own t-shirts with a lakeview backdrop on the hall’s lawn. 

 

One of the event workers and a son of an exhibitor, Jacob Wagner, said he plans to keep coming back to the brick party. He says there’s all kinds of different things you’ll see inside the village hall, including his dad Kevin’s work.

 

 

The Brick Party by the Bay goes from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM on Sunday as well.

City keeping geese numbers down

The enjoyable sight of Canadian geese wandering the city parks and the nuisance they create is something the City of Sturgeon Bay is trying to balance. Municipal Director Mike Barker says the number of geese has not warranted a removal roundup the past two years. He says the high-water levels attributed to the limited nesting of geese in 2019 and 2020. The United States Department of Agriculture conducted a roundup earlier this summer that accounted for 267 geese being captured. Barker says they are trained to handle the geese properly while removing them.

 

 

Barker says the city pays extra for processing the useable meat for the local food pantry. The USDA will only show up if at least 70 geese can be corraled.  Barker notes that the decision on geese removal is made on a year-to-year basis at the beginning of summer.  

Firefighters Picnic & Parade brings Southern Door together

Mother Nature cooperated just in time on Saturday, as the 2021 Southern Door Firefighters Picnic & Parade drew hundreds of people to the small community of Forestville.  The parade featured dozens of floats and vehicles right after morning rain showers gave way to clearing skies.  Attendees were treated to demonstrations, water fights, games, and live music, along with plenty of food and beverages to keep the masses content and cool on a warm, humid day.  Southern Door Fire Chief Rich Olson said the event raised enough money last year to purchase life-saving “Jaws of Life” extrication equipment. He noted that it was great for the community to be able to celebrate together after the fundraising event was only drive-thru last year.    

Washington Island tourism booming

A variety of factors is to thank for your full ferry rides to Washington Island this summer. Dropping water levels allowed the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to open Rock Island State Park for the first time since 2019. The Sievers School of Fiber Arts and other island attractions sprung back to life after a year shuttered. The pandemic prevented many from traveling to Washington Island last year but inspired younger travelers to see what the buzz was about and experience it for themselves. Those are just some of the factors that are keeping island businesses like Joel Gunnlaugsson’s Townliner Motel busy not just on the weekend but all week long thanks to everyone wanting to come back.

He believes the number of day trips has grown just because of the island’s popularity and the shortage of rooms available some days. The only downside in Gunnlaugsson’s eyes this summer? The lake temperatures are about seven to eight degrees cooler than normal. 

Corn pest impacting crop

A tiny beetle is trying to snack on your corn before you or your animals get a chance. Some fields in Door and Kewaunee counties have found evidence of the corn rootworm beetle in their fields, especially in areas where there were saturated soils or untreated corn planted. The tiny larvae eat away at the roots of the corn plant, lessening the amount of water and nutrients it can take in from the soil. With time it limits the growth of corn stalks, making them susceptible to weather damage. There is not a lot you can do if you find the effects of the corn rootworm in your field now, but Rio Creek Feed Mill agronomist Adam Barta says you can start planning for next year.

Insecticides could help once the larvae come above ground, but in many cases, the damage is already done. Barta expects to see more damage from the corn rootworm in the southern part of the state as more fields get scouted. He did offer some good news, adding armyworms have not been found yet and the impact of pests earlier the year due to the drought was minimal.

 

Picture provided by Adam Barta with stalks arranged by severity

Internships offer road to success

Quantum PC’s Erin Helgeson has four good reasons why your kids should consider apprenticeships and internships. Curtis Barganz completed his apprenticeship at Quantum PC earlier this year before Caden Kacmaryanski, Trevor Ash and Weston Mann joined the team earlier this summer. Barganz turned his apprenticeship into a full-time role with the company while Kacmaryanski, Ash, and Mann all hope their time opens doors in the future. Ash and Mann will stay on through the school year as a part of the Ahnapee Youth Apprenticeship program. Helgeson says the four boys representing Sturgeon Bay, Sevastopol, and Gibraltar high schools are great examples of how getting your foot in the door can help you decide if you want to continue on a particular career path.

The Ahnapee Regional Youth Apprenticeship Consortium includes Luxemburg-Casco, Kewaunee, and all of Door County’s high schools to help provide on-the-job work experience for students by pairing them with skilled mentors. You can listen to our full interview with “the Junior Quantums” on our Podcast page.

Vaccines stressed as cases rise

Positive test results for COVID19 continued to rise in Wisconsin throughout the week. In Friday’s COVID19 report from the Wisconsin Department of Public Health, the seven-day average of new cases went up from Thursday by 32, as the new average is 274. The seven-day average for daily deaths remains at one. No Wisconsin counties are at very high virus activity level but 29 are labeled high and 38 are at medium. Door County and Kewaunee County are in the high category. 

 

Wisconsin is at 51.4% of its population with at least one vaccine dose. In Door County, 66.6% have at least one dose and 64.6% completed the series. In Kewaunee County, 41.5% of residents have at least a dose and 40.4% are fully vaccinated. Below is information on the next vaccine clinics from both Door and Kewaunee County’s public health departments. 

 

 

Travel around Door County with this year's Plein Air Festival

You can follow this year’s 34 artists as they make their way across Door County for the Plein Air Festival. Monday through Thursday, they will be at a different location each day. The invitations committee carefully considered the 34 artists chosen by their recognition as Plein air artists. Peninsula School of Art Executive Director Cathy Hoke says she is excited to put on this event after last year’s partially virtual version.

 

 

With forty percent of new artists in this year’s lineup, you will see new names like Suzie Baker from Texas and Zufar Bikbov from Connecticut. If you have attended this festival in the past, you will also see familiar faces like Kurt Brian Anderson from Michigan and Tara Will from Maryland. The seven-day festival will be full of free and ticketed activities and events for the whole family, such as tours of local galleries, a collector’s preview, and kid’s paint on Saturday. Tickets are in short supply, so if you are interested in attending, go to the Plein Air Festival website to reserve a spot. After the week-long festival, there will be a two-week exhibition of the artist’s work shown at the Peninsula School of Art. 

 

Follow this link to all of the Artist Demonstrations from Monday, July 26th to Thursday, July 29th.

 

Sturgeon Bay woman sentenced to life in prison

On Friday, family and friends of Katie McConkey made it to the sentencing hearing of Susan Soukup, who murdered McConkey on August 25th of 2020 at a Sturgeon Bay residence. Soukup previously pleaded no contest to first-degree intentional homicide and was sentenced to life in prison. Family and friends of McConkey gave testimonies putting into words the emotions felt by her death. One friend, Amanda Moegenburg, described McConkey as an honorary family member and talked about the concerns she and others had about McConkey and Soukup’s on-and-off relationship. Still, Moegenburg shared the disbelief that McConkey could be murdered. 

 

 

Door County Judge D. Todd Ehlers chose for Soukup to be eligible for release on extended supervision in 32 years. The number of years matches the number of years McConkey lived. Soukup will be 85 years old when eligible for supervised release. 

Tech Council to talk investments in Egg Harbor

The Wisconsin Technology Council is making its way around the state, and Door County will be one of its first stops. The Tech Council is putting on a “Wisconsin Portfolio” Tour. They’ve been putting out a “Wisconsin Portfolio” yearly since 2008, but this is the first year that the tech council will be taking it on tour to present for different audiences. An interactive presentation discussing Wisconsin’s current state of capital and angel investments will be held on Tuesday, July 27th at Egg Harbor’s Landmark Resort. 

 

Communications Director for the Wisconsin Technology Council Laura Kaiser says it’ll be a great opportunity to network and engage with others across the state. If you go you’ll also get to meet the new Investor Director Joe Kremer, which Kaiser says will have its advantages.

 

 

The free event is open to all but specifically geared toward investors, entrepreneurs, corporate representatives, and anyone interested in Wisconsin’s venture capital climate. 

 

 

The tech council’s relationship to economic development corporations in Door County, as well as the city of Sturgeon Bay Mayor David Ward, made Door County an ideal spot for the tour’s second stop. There will also be an hour-long networking “happy hour” after the presentation. Door County is a different spot than usual, as other cities the council stops in are usually more urban. It features other stops in Green Bay, Eau Claire, Beloit, Madison, Milwaukee, and La Crosse. You can register at this link

 

Judge Koehn remembered as legal scholar and gentleman

A longtime Door County Circuit Court judge is being remembered for his courtroom presence and service to the community.  The Honorable John D. Koehn passed away at the age of 84 on Wednesday.  Current Circuit Court Branch 1 Judge D. Todd Ehlers presented cases in front of Koehn as an attorney and succeed him as a judge in 2000. He says Koehn was a judge that always listened to both sides and rendered just and fair decisions.  Koehn also served as a willing mentor to Ehlers, who remembers Koehn's gracious advice on ruling from the bench.

 

 

Ehlers adds that Judge Koehn was the only circuit court judge in Door County during his first six years from 1988 to 1994 before a second branch was added.  According to his obituary, Judge Koehn retired in 2000 and was a native of Sturgeon Bay who graduated from John Marshall Law School in Chicago in 1967.  A celebration of Judge John Koehn’s life will be held at a later date.  You can read his full obituary here.

Jahnz prepared for Door County Fair stage

Richrath Project 3:13 lead vocalist and guitarist Michael Jahnz is prepared to introduce to you some of his new music next week at the Door County Fair. The journey of Richrath Project 3:13 started years ago when Jahnz teamed up with the late Gary Richrath after his exit from REO Speedwagon. The band continued even after Richrath passed away and Jahnz recently completed recording Richrath Project 3:13’s  new album L.A. is Mine. While it does have some Jahnz originals, the album features many songs he wrote with Richrath. Jahnz hopes listeners can still hear Richrath’s spirit in the songs.

The Door County Fair represents one of his first big shows he will perform at since the pandemic shut down many live events. Jahnz is excited to hit the stage again.

Next Friday’s show at the Door County Fair may have a hometown feel to it for Jahnz, who says his fiancée is from the area. You can catch Richrath Project 3:13 on the Coors Light Midway Musical Stage opening for Head East at 6:30 p.m. Our entire interview with Jahnz is available on our Podcasts Page.

Legislators await word on sanctuary oversight

Making sure your use of Lake Michigan is not negatively impacted remains the goal of three Wisconsin legislators in the United States Congress. Earlier this month, U.S. Senator Ron Johnson, Rep. Glenn Grothman, and Rep. Mike Gallagher reached out to Governor Tony Evers on establishing a state-run review of the soon-to-be finalized Wisconsin Shipwreck Coast National Marine Sanctuary every five years. The sanctuary stretches from southern Wisconsin all the way through to Kewaunee County while protecting 36 shipwrecks across 962 square miles. Under the group's proposal, the designation would be reexamined every five years to make sure the goals of the sanctuary were being met while also not having a negative effect on the communities sharing the shoreline. Rep. Mike Gallagher says three states including Michigan have oversight measures in place. He hopes Evers follows suit.


With the proper oversight, Gallagher believes the Wisconsin Shipwreck Coast National Marine Sanctuary would be a positive for the state's tourism industry. The sanctuary will be co-managed by the state and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration once Evers officially signs off on it.

 

Area businesses welcome anglers for tournament

Be prepared to experience a lot of excitement and big fish when you head to some gas stations and area businesses over the next nine days. The Kewaunee/Door County Salmon Tournament kicked off its 39th edition early Friday morning, turning several businesses in Door and Kewaunee counties into weigh stations, snack bars, and town halls for anglers. The tournament means millions of dollars in economic impact each year. Baileys 57 manager Kari Baumann expects the next week to be extremely busy stocking up on supplies and looking for that trophy fish. It requires long hours, but she loves the stories that come with them.

Fish are typically weighed in from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily as anglers chase down $50,000. Baumann says the first fish weighed in Baileys Harbor at just over 22 pounds, but there are certainly king salmon out there. Will Martin caught one salmon that weighed in at 38.58 pounds near Kewaunee on Thursday, the day before the tournament officially started. That could be one of the heaviest Wisconsin-caught salmon in over 20 years.

More jobs and smoother roads are in the future with new bipartisan senate framework

When you drive to work, the roads will be smoother and more jobs will be available for Door County, that's what US Senator Tammy Baldwin hopes to accomplish with the new bipartisan infrastructure package. Earlier this year, President Joe Biden and a group of senators from both parties got together to begin the process of introducing its framework. The package aims to give states more funds to improve physical structures such as our roads, bridges, water systems and expansion of broadband internet across the country. U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin says the physical infrastructure won’t be the only thing improving with this legislation; the package will also help with low unemployment rates in Door County and everywhere within the United States.

 

 

Although the bill did not get enough votes in the Senate to begin debate, Baldwin foresees that next week there will be a vote that will hopefully start the process of passing this package through the Senate.

Ehlers-Kwaterski coming home to direct Destination Sturgeon Bay

Destination Sturgeon Bay announced the new leader for their organization on Thursday. The Board of Directors for DSB announced the hiring of Cameryn Ehlers-Kwaterski as the Executive Director. Ehlers-Kwaterski will replace Pam Seiler, who will retire from the role at the end of the year. In a press release, Board President Barbara Pfeifer said of the hire, “Cameryn possesses the necessary talents and strengths to keep Sturgeon Bay moving forward and the best possible place to live, work and relax.” 

 

Ehlers-Kwaterski also brings relevant experience, having worked in tourism. Previously, Ehlers-Kwaterski was the first Executive Director of Visit Rome, WI, Inc. and was awarded the Governor’s Rising Star Award. She established and branded the non-profit organization, and implemented its structure and financial management. Ehlers-Kwaterski looks forward to the homecoming, stating, “I have always considered Sturgeon Bay home.” She added, “It is such a privilege to be part of the team promoting a destination so special to my upbringing.” Ehlers-Kwaterski will take over as Executive Director on September 15th. 

 

Three hospitalized; one death in weekly report

Whether you’re on the island or the mainland, Door County Public Health is urging you to get your COVID19 vaccine if you’re eligible. In Door County’s weekly COVID19 report that is released on Thursdays, Door County Public Health reported one death and three hospitalizations. Out of 63 tests performed, four returned positive results and the county is at three active cases. 

 

Door County Public Health also announced that they will be resuming their bimonthly Island vaccine clinics and will include the COVID19 vaccine. Those clinics restart on August 5th from 10:00 AM until 12:00 PM at the Community Center. Door County currently has 66.5% of residents with at least one vaccine dose and 64.5% are fully vaccinated. In Wisconsin, 51.2% of residents are vaccinated. 

 

Vaccine data and COVID19 case data can be found with these links. 

 

 

Nicolet Beach closed temporarily

You’ll have to wait before you take a dip at Nicolet Beach in Peninsula State Park. Lab results showing increased levels of E. coli bacteria on water near shore has caused the closure by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources on Wednesday. As levels above recreational water quality standards require either a swim advisory or a beach closure, you are encouraged to check the DNR’s website for updates on a beach’s status. Because bacteria levels can fluctuate over the 18-24 hour time period it takes for lab analyses to be done, the results in the online database may not reflect current levels. The database can be found with this link

 

Midsummer's Music soaking up audiences

Midsummer’s Music musicians are enjoying the return to live music just as much as you are. The chamber music organization continues this week with renditions of songs composed by the likes of Tchaikovsky, Hoover, and Beethoven. With social distancing in mind, the musicians have been playing in larger spaces and more spread out in their performance area. They have also been alternating between established names in classical music and their three composers-in-residence this summer. Midsummer’s Music Executive Director and viola player Allyson Fleck says the audiences have been great and everyone is enjoying each other’s company after a year of virtual performances.

Midsummer’s early summer series of concerts concludes with shows at the Kress Pavilion on Friday, at SWY231 in Sturgeon Bay Saturday, and the Woodwalk Gallery in Egg Harbor on Sunday. It will take a couple weeks break before performing again on August 20th in Sister Bay.

Door County Fairest Guilette excited for in-person event

You’ll find the Door County Fairest of Fair live and in-person after last year’s virtual event. Michaela Guillette was selected to be last year’s Door County Fairest of the Fair despite know she would not be able to greet visitors on the midway or pass out ribbons to proud exhibitors due to the pandemic. Guilette was allowed to stay on as the Door County Fairest of the Fair so she could have the opportunity to do such things this year. As a person who loves interacting with children at a local daycare center, Guilette is excited for her opportunity to reign over the fair.

Guilette will be officially recognized as the Door County Fairest of the Fair alongside Wisconsin Fairest of the Fairs Cayley Vande Berg when the Door County Fair officially opens next Wednesday at 7 p.m.   

 

Kewaunee County applies for more broadband grants

You may soon be able to find more reliable internet in rural areas in Kewaunee County. In a pair of resolutions approved by 16-1 votes on Tuesday, the Kewaunee County Board authorized applications for broadband grants with partners Hilbert Communications and Charter. Hilbert Communications is the parent company of Bug Tussel Wireless which is already building a network Kewaunee County Administrator Scott Feldt hopes will be at least partly ready by the end of August. Charter has proposed installing fiber to all unserved areas in the county within a two to three-year time frame. Feldt emphasized to the board that despite the over $30 million price tag proposed by Charter that the county would treat both companies fairly.

Supervisor Chuck Wagner said in his last meeting on the board that with no immediate financial cost to the county that they should consider anyone who wants to invest in their internet coverage efforts.

The Kewaunee County Board also rescinded the public health emergency concerning COVID-19 by a 16-1 vote. 

Southern Door's Peterson excited for new opportunity

New Southern Door School District Superintendent Christopher Peterson is excited to meet you ahead of the new academic year this fall. Peterson began his role this month after serving as Howards Grove’s superintendent for the last 12 years. He also previously held various positions for school districts in Little Chute, Wausaukee, and Kimberly. Peterson is familiar with the success of Door County’s schools during his work with Cooperative Educational Service Agency (CESA) 7, especially Southern Door.

His previous stop at Howards Grove featured not just great athletics but also a focus on aspects like improving test scores, addressing reading literacy, and meeting the needs of its students. Peterson is confident they will be able to do similar things at Southern Door.

He added that having young children in the district will allow him to look at school through their lens and will help him better communicate with parents and make more informed decisions. You can find our full interview with Peterson on our Podcasts page.

COVID-19 cases continue to climb

You will have to wait until later this week to learn how the recent uptick in COVID-19 cases has impacted Door and Kewaunee counties.

 

The seven-day average of positive COVID-19 tests climbed to 221, thanks in part to the state Department of Health Services reporting 345 positive tests on Wednesday. It marked the 15th straight day the seven-day average of positive COVID-19 tests rose. Both Door and Kewaunee counties are now categorized as having medium case activity levels. Door County will announce its updated totals on Thursday and Kewaunee County will follow suit on Friday.

 

On the vaccine front, over 64 percent of eligible Door County residents and 40 percent of Kewaunee County residents have completed the vaccine series. Neither county as administered more than 60 vaccine doses this week. Kewaunee County announced earlier this week it would be hosting a school immunization clinic at the Kewaunee County Fairgrounds on August 5th from 1 to 6 p.m.

Bucks fans make memories during championship run

There were plenty of “Where were you when” stories written Tuesday night after the Milwaukee Bucks captured their first NBA championship in 50 years. While some were able to grab seats at area bars in Door and Kewaunee counties, others like Brandon Stillman of Fish Creek found himself in the middle of the action. Stillman was lucky enough to attend a number of games during this year’s playoff run including all three NBA Finals games at the Fiserv Forum. His classmates at Arizona State University gave him a hard time as the Suns took a 2-0 lead in the Finals, especially since Stillman worked for the Suns for a portion of their season in guest services. Stillman bought in on “Bucks in Six” from day one and he is thankful for the memories he was able to make along the way.

The coronation of the NBA’s newest champion will continue on Thursday when the Bucks and the City of Milwaukee hosts a parade and a celebration kicking off at 11 a.m. Stillman says he has already taken off of work so he can attend.

 

Photo courtesy of Brandon Stillman

 

STILLMAN DESCRIBES THE GAME 6 ATMOSPHERE

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Milwaukee Bucks (@bucks)

 

Sturgeon Bay taps new police captain

Chad Hougaard has a new title after the Sturgeon Bay Police Department promoted him to captain on Wednesday.

 

In a post from the Sturgeon Bay Police Department, Hougaard was elevated to the new role after a competitive selection process. The 16-year veteran of the Sturgeon Bay Police Department has served a number of different roles during his career including police officer, police sergeant, and sergeant investigator.

 

He replaces Dan Brinkman, who was recently promoted to Assistant Police Chief after serving as captain since 2010.

 

Picture courtesy of Sturgeon Bay Police Department

 

 

Scandinavian photography showcased at Miller Art Museum

You will see a special exhibit about Scandinavian culture with ties to Door County at the Miller Art Museum in Sturgeon Bay beginning this Saturday.  "Scandinavian American: Photography by National Geographic Explorer Erika Skogg" will open to the public, and feature 24 photographs depicting lifestyle, celebrations, and ethnic traditions around the Midwest.  Miller Art Museum Executive Director Elizabeth Meissner-Gigstead says Skogg, a native of  Door County, received a special grant to fund the project. 

 

 

Besides the Scandinavian imagery, the exhibit will feature 14 photographs from Skogg’s travel collection from Morocco, Norway, Germany, Cuba, and Columbia.  There will also be eight other images depicting Door County’s 1933 Cherryland agritourism by National Geographic Photographer Maynard Owen Williams. The exhibition is scheduled to open to the public on Saturday, July 24 at 10 am, and an in-person opening reception will be held from 5 – 6:30 pm.

 

(photo contributed)

Door County YMCA receives $1 million gift

The Door County YMCA will have the opportunity to further their mission even more as a donor came forward in the past two weeks to make a $1 million donation.  Capital Campaign Director Tonya Felhofer and Chief Executive Director Heidi Erickson announced Tuesday that Glenn and Barb Timmerman of Egg Harbor came forward recently to pledge the money.  Felhofer says it is hard to put into words the appreciation that is felt for the Timmermans.

 

 

Erickson shares the impact of the donation.

 

 

The Door County YMCA operates program centers in Fish Creek and Sturgeon Bay and the Lansing Avenue Center in Sturgeon Bay.  

Cost of steel impacts local builders

If you are looking to build a house, the cost of overall building materials has not changed significantly with the recent lowering of lumber prices. Jeff Dorner from Van’s Lumber & Custom Builders in Dyckesvillle and Egg Harbor says although lumber prices have dropped by more than 50 percent since May, the cost of steel and vinyl products has gone up. He says that there has been an additional 10 percent increase in corrugated steel products this week alone. That, along with two earlier increases this year, has caused a 32 percent spike in prices. Dorner says builders are contending with shortages of building materials, but most of his customers have been patient to get the work done.

 

 

Dorner adds that as long as the demand remains high and interest rates remain low, the building industry should remain strong for the foreseeable future. The shortage of skilled labor has also impacted building this year, as Dorner notes that they are looking for about ten more carpenters to fill out their crews.  

City approves development agreement

The Sturgeon Bay City Council approved a development agreement for a lot on the west waterfront on Tuesday.  The WWP Development is putting up a two-story building with a deli or restaurant bar on the first floor.  The developer will make public improvements to the property that is being sold by the city for $1 and apply for a Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) grant to put in the parking lot, lights, and landscaping.  Sturgeon Bay Administrator Josh Van Lieshout says the city’s investment is initially born by the developer.  The city will reimburse the developer on the principal and interest on $625,000 for the life of the TIF district or the retirement of the note.  Van Lieshout compares it to similar development agreements that have been done in the past with the Bayloft Apartment development.  The developer will also purchase a liquor license of $30,000.  The motion to approve the development agreement was unanimous and came after a closed session to deliberate the property transaction.

Community says goodbye to Sunset School

If you went to Sunset Elementary School in Sturgeon Bay, Tuesday was your last chance to walk the halls and classrooms.  The Sturgeon Bay School District hosted an open house for the public prior to the eventual demolition of the building for a future apartment complex development.  Elementary School Principal Ann Smejkal says the 65-year-old building on North Eighth Avenue carries many special memories for a lot of students who attended the school.  Kindergarten teacher Tammy Herschleb Kroll remembers her time as a kindergartener at Sunset in the early 1970’s.

 

 

Smejkal says many of the desks and equipment that remains in the building will be sent over to Sunrise School and Sawyer School.  The building will be completely vacated by October 1 when the transfer of property is completed.

 

 

Egg Harbor sets date for the Church St. Project

You will soon be able to walk through the village of Egg Harbor on a newly reconstructed Church Street. The Church St. project is due to a one million dollar grant from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, given to the village in the spring of 2020. The plan for the main thoroughfare is to add parking on both sides of the street, sidewalks, street lighting, and bike lanes. Village administrator, Megan Sawyer, says the reconstruction will encourage visitors to spend more time in the heart of the village.

 

 

During the July village board meeting, the trustees voted towards an expedited construction schedule. The project is to begin after their annual Pumpkin Patch Festival on October 9th and is predicted to be completed in the summer of 2022. Along with the Church St. project, there is also another project in the works for the village. The section of Highway 42 that runs through Egg Harbor is set for its own construction project sometime in 2023. If you wish to learn more about the Highway 42 construction project, the village of Egg Harbor will be hosting two public information events for August 2nd at 6:00 pm, and August 3rd at 9:00 am at the Donald & Carol Kress Pavilion in Egg Harbor.

Sturgeon Bay prepares bid for Nature Reserve

The City of Sturgeon Bay recently announced that they are preparing a bid to become the home of the 30th National Estuarine Research Reserve Center. The efforts put forth by the UW-Green Bay system have resulted in the bay of Green Bay being named a National Estuarine Research Reserve. NERRs are areas that strive to conserve, study and protect coastal and estuary systems nationally, and to support the health of the reserves’ ecosystem, economy, and communities. The title of NERR is paired with a research and visitor center, and the City of Sturgeon Bay is hoping to become the official site. Sturgeon Bay Mayor David Ward initially sought this opportunity because of his long-standing relationship with UW-Green Bay, as well as his awareness of the importance of our environment. After learning more about the program, Ward put together a committee to help bid on the location of the center. The NERR Advisory Committee was hand-selected based on members’ knowledge of the county’s ecosystem. The committee has so far collected 17 Letters of Support from the area to help support their bid. Mayor Ward describes that the visitor center being located in Sturgeon Bay is a step forward in creating a better future for the great lakes.

 

 

If the research and visitor center is located in Sturgeon Bay, there would be other benefits to the county other than the environmental positives. The research and visitor center will most likely have a tour-like section, a place where schools in the area can learn about estuaries and how important they are for the lakes. The center would also help attract tourists to the area looking for an educational visit to learn about our environment and keep it safe.

Tooley excited for home show

You’ll find one of Door County’s own at Monday’s Kids from Wisconsin show at the Peg Egan Performing Arts Center in Egg Harbor. Brady Tooley graduated from Southern Door High School earlier this year and joined the performing arts troupe a few weeks later. Rehearsals started in the spring, albeit over Zoom and other virtual means. It was not until the very beginning of summer that the group of over three dozen performers began to sing and dance together. Shortly after that, Kids from Wisconsin started their 36 performance tour that will cover over 6,000 miles in just over six weeks. Tooley says the experience has only cemented his love for the arts.

Monday’s show begins at 6:30 p.m. and runs for approximately two hours. Kids from Wisconsin, which started in 1969, will head to towns like Janesville, Plover, and Lake Geneva before completing the bulk of their season at the Wisconsin State Fair August 5th-15th.  You can listen to our full interview with Tooley on our Podcasts page.

Bucks bring business boost

You never would have guessed it years ago, but the Milwaukee Bucks championship run is bringing big business to area bars and restaurants. The Bucks are on the verge of winning their first NBA championship since 1971, but prior to this year, they have played third fiddle to the Green Bay Packers and Milwaukee Brewers on the Wisconsin pro sports landscape. Stone Harbor Resort Bar Manager John Walker has been making sure the Bucks games have been on their televisions long before their run to the Finals. His Bucks fandom dates back to the days of Ricky Pierce and Paul Pressey in the 1980s. He says the crowds have been younger with many jumping on the Bucks bandwagon in time.

While a Game 7 would be good for business, Walker would rather look forward to winning football and baseball seasons while echoing a familiar refrain: Bucks in Six.

 

Book program turns page on tragedy

Emergency personnel in Kewaunee County are turning your average call to action into an important touchpoint for area children.

 

The Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department has partnered with the REACH-A-Child program since 2008 to help provide comfort to kids dealing with tragedy through books. Emergency personnel carry first responder bags full of children’s books for kids to choose from while their families deal with an accident, house fire, or other crises. What is supposed to be a distraction for the children also turns into an important moment of outreach for police officers, emergency medical technicians, and firefighters. Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski had one such interaction when the program first started with the younger sibling of a child who was receiving medical treatment. He says the moment is important in helping kids in a time of need cope with the situation around them.

Thanks to a $7,500 AT&T Foundation grant, the Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department received 25 first responder bags and approximately 400 children’s books on Friday to help the program continue into the future.

 

Photo courtesy of Jessica Erickson

 

Cave Point victim identified as investigation continues

The Door County Sheriff’s Department is still likely weeks away from knowing what may have killed a 35-year-old man at Cave Point County Park on Saturday afternoon. Emergency personnel were notified just before 2:40 p.m. that Zachary B. Nessman of Manitowoc collapsed and fell back into the water shortly after exiting. Several bystanders were able to pull him out of the water and provided life-saving efforts until emergency personnel could arrive. Members of the Sturgeon Bay and Jacksonport Fire Departments, Door County Emergency Services, and Door County Sheriff’s Department responded to the park and took over medical rescue efforts upon their arrival. Foul play is not suspected as of right now as the preliminary investigation points to it being an accidental near-drowning with medical complications. The autopsy was completed by the Dane County Medical Examiner’s Office on Monday, but the results will not be known for at least six weeks. The incident remains under investigation. 

 

 

Washington Island drowning victim identified

A 26-year-old man airlifted from Washington Island after being found unconscious at School House Beach Saturday evening has died.

 

The Washington Island Police Department, Washington Island Fire Department, and Door County Emergency Services responded to School House Beach just after 5 p.m. and arrived with several bystanders already beginning life-saving efforts. Emergency personnel learned that the unconscious man, identified as Masnoon Nafees, had been underwater for an undetermined amount of time. In a press release posted online Monday morning, the Washington Island Police Department credited the Door County Sheriff’s Department, the United States Coast Guard, and ThedaStar Helicopter for their involvement. The department also thanked the Good Samaritans who jumped in to help. On Monday night, the Washington Island Police Department announced that Nafees died in a Green Bay hospital earlier in the day. The incident has been ruled as an accidental drowning.

 

This was the second such incident this past weekend after a 35-man-old man died after collapsing near Cave Point County Park earlier in the day on Saturday.

Deadline to fill supervisor seat extended

A new supervisor will not be in place for District 9 at the upcoming Door County Board meeting next week.  A news release on Monday from Chair Dave Lienau states that due to vacations and holidays, the deadline to submit a letter of interest for the position that serves Wards 5-6 and 22-24 in Sturgeon Bay has been extended until August 16.  Supervisor Laura Vlies Wotocheck had resigned her seat on June 17.  After a vetting process, Lienau will nominate a person to the County Board for confirmation. Whoever fills the open supervisory position will serve until Wotochek’s term expires in April of 2022.

 

You can read the news release here. 

 

More grocery shoppers returning to stores

You might have noticed the aisles at the supermarket being a little more congested lately.  According to a survey by The Feedback Group, the easing of restrictions surrounding the pandemic has led to more shoppers entering the grocery stores this summer.  Over four times as many people plan to shop in-store this year versus shopping less.  Store Manager Alex Stooda from Stodola’s IGA in Luxemburg says he has noticed a trend with more of his customers returning to in-store shopping.

 

 

Stodola adds that online shoppers continue to use digital ordering to save time and effort to get more basic foods.  He notes that many of his older customers are looking to get back out and into the community to socially interact since grocery shopping was one of their few outlets of seeing people.  The Grocery Shopper Intention Monitor survey released last week showed that 40 percent of consumers plan on shopping more at a grocery store in the next year, compared with only nine percent who said they would shop less at brick-and-mortar locations. 

Salmon tournament this weekend means more local money

You should be on the lookout for additional anglers in the area this weekend as the start of the 39th Annual Kewaunee Door Salmon Tournament is this Friday.

This is the largest summer fishing tournament on the Great Lakes and it attracted a record of over 3,300 anglers last year, according to founder and co-organizer Jerry MacMillin.  He says the impact on the economy is significant because these fishermen come from all over the Midwest to participate in the event. 

 

 

The nine-day tournament runs from this Friday through July 31.  Over $50,000 in prize money is awarded, including a first-place $10,000 cash prize with a free mounting of the winning salmon and a customized ring. You can find more information about the 39th Annual K-D Salmon Tournament here on the podcast page.

 

 

 

 

Foster care a continuing battle

Your neighborhood’s foster kids could be set up for better outcomes in the future thanks in part to the work of State Senator Andre Jacque. The De Pere Republican was behind the recent passage of Ethan’s Law, a piece of legislation ensuring foster kids are placed in safer homes and out of the hands of individuals with crimes against children on their record. Jacque hopes with Ethan’s Law in place, county social workers and birth parents feel better when children are placed in foster homes. He adds there are more steps to take to help the foster care system thrive in Wisconsin.

Jacque says the next step he is taking is creating a foster care bill of rights. The bill would help identify expectations for foster parents and ensure those willing to take on the task that they will be valued and supported with the resources needed to be successful. 

Man rescued at School House Beach, status unknown

A 26-year-old man had to be airlifted from Washington Island after being found unconscious at School House Beach Saturday evening.

 

The Washington Island Police Department, Washington Island Fire Department, and Door County Emergency Services responded to School House Beach just after 5 p.m. and arrived with several bystanders already beginning life-saving efforts. Emergency personnel learned that the unconscious man had been underwater for an undetermined amount of time. In a press release posted online Monday morning, the Washington Island Police Department credited the Door County Sheriff’s Department, the United States Coast Guard, and ThedaStar Helicopter for their involvement. The department also thanked the Good Samaritans who jumped in to help. No other information, including the man’s name and his current status, is being released at this time while the incident is under investigation. 

 

This was the second such incident this past weekend after a 35-man-old man died after collapsing near Cave Point County Park earlier in the day on Saturday.

 

PRESS RELEASE FROM WASHINGTON ISLAND POLICE DEPARTMENT

PRESS RELEASE- Medical Emergency Investigation July 17, 2021

On Saturday July 17, 2021, at 5:05 p.m., The Washington Island Police Department was notified, by the Door County Sheriff’s Office Communication Center, of a 26-Year-old male that was unconscious at School House Beach, in the Town of Washington. While medical personal was in route Several bystanders immediately began life-saving efforts. It was later learned that the male had been underwater for a undetermined amount of time. Units from the Washington Island Fire (EMR Group), Door County Emergency Services Department, Washington Island Police Department arrived on the scene, within 3 minutes of the 911 call. Other agencies involved were the Door County Sheriff’s Office, USCG, and ThedaStar Helicopter. Our department would like to thank the Good Samaritans that jumped in to help.

 

No further information is being released at this time, as this incident remains under investigation. The name of the victim is not being released at this time pending the investigation.

 

Prepared by: Officer Gary Schultz

Authority: Chief Tyler McGrane

Wheat harvest underway

You will notice plenty of work going on in area fields as farmers in Door and Kewaunee counties begin harvesting their wheat. Well over 90 percent of the winter wheat crop has colored statewide, which is a handful of days ahead of last year and more than a week in front of the average. Last week, the United States Department of Agriculture rated the condition of the crop as 76 percent good to excellent. Like much of the country is experiencing, Rio Creek Feed Mill agronomist Adam Barta says the drought in June had a negative effect on much of the wheat crop in the area because of impacts the plant’s pollination. He is hoping for dry weather for farmers trying to get their wheat crop off their fields.

Barta adds that many farmers are hoping to take advantage of the higher prices for wheat this season, which would be the highest they have seen in years. Financial and Investment Newssource Barron’s suggests that the drought across the country could increase prices for grain by as much as 30 percent and futures contract prices have gone up nearly two dollars since April to $8.09. 

Sister Bay to host LEGO event

Your childhood passions could be found at the Sister Bay Village Hall this weekend.

 

The Wisconsin LEGO Users Group will once again visit the village for its Brick Party by the Bay event. The group will feature its LEGO train village exhibit along with other pieces highlighting Door County landmarks. Sister Bay Advancement Association Community Coordinator Louise Howson says the Brick Party by the Bay has turned into an intergenerational celebration over the years.

The Brick Party by the Bay takes place on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

 

Picture courtesy of the Sister Bay Advancement Association

Sheriff's Department releases report on Cave Point death

No new information has been presented since a 35-year-old man was pulled from the water Saturday afternoon near Cave Point County Park and later pronounced dead at the hospital. According to the release from the Door County Sheriff’s Department sent out again on Monday, emergency personnel was notified just before 2:40 p.m. that a man collapsed and fell back into the water shortly after exiting. Several bystanders were able to pull him out of the water and provided life-saving efforts until emergency personnel could arrive. Members of the Sturgeon Bay and Jacksonport Fire Departments, Door County Emergency Services, and Door County Sheriff’s Department responded to the park and took over medical rescue efforts upon their arrival. A name has not been released until family members can be notified.

 

 

Group effort on book shows off Door County

You can now always have a piece of Door County’s natural beauty as a trio teamed up to author a book that captures it. Director of Charitable Giving at the Door County Land Trust Cinnamon Rossman and former CEO of the Ridges Sanctuary Steve Leonard co-authored A Shoreline at the Edge: Door County’s Lakeside Forests and Wetlands. The aerial photographs in the book were done by Paul Lurie. 

 

Rossman calls the book a “coffee table” book that displays beautiful photographs from the shoreline to the bayside. Lurie actually was the catalyst behind the book idea, as he approached Leonard about being a part of it. They then went to Rossman who was excited to be involved. The book also catches Door County’s diversity, as Rossman points out how the Door County forests have changed. 

 

 

Those involved with the book hope that you take away a deeper appreciation for nature and species in Door County, leading to improved conservation efforts. You can reserve your copy of the book here, as they’ll begin shipping on Tuesday. 

 

Making sure you prioritize ATV/UTV safety

As ATV/UTV use and ordinances in Door and Kewaunee have become more prevalent, especially in the summer months, you are reminded to think smart before hopping on for a ride. The Department of Natural Resources reports that twenty people have died in ATV/UTV crashes this year in Wisconsin and that the majority of victims were not wearing helmets. The DNR’s off-highway vehicle administrator Lt. Martin R. Stone says it’s important to monitor your speed and use caution on rough terrain as some Wisconsin terrain is too steep for ATVs and UTVs. You’re encouraged to take a safety course on operating ATV/UTVs which can even be done online. Other tips are included below.

 

  • Never consume alcohol or drugs before or during your ride 
  • Wear a seat belt and a Department of Transportation approved helmet
  • Wear other protective gear like eye protection, gloves, long pants, and long sleeves
  • Review ATV/UTV laws 

Don't be stuck without a plan, here's tips for severe weather preparedness

This past week in Door County showed you have to be ready for severe weather to occur at any time. When dealing with extreme weather, it is essential that you are prepared for all kinds of storms. Dan Kane, the emergency management and communications director, says there are three things you can do to prepare for these kinds of emergencies.

 

 

When preparing for a storm, you should make sure that you know when a storm will come to your area. There are many ways that you can track severe weather, like the Code Red app, radio announcements, and weather apps. Kane also suggests that you prepare a kit for larger-scale events where you might not have access to essential supplies.

 

 

Because we rely so heavily on phones, it is vital to have a communication plan with your loved ones that details where you should go and meet up if a cell tower is down. Kane also described strategies if you find yourself stuck in a storm.

 

 

You can learn more about personal preparedness on the Door County Emergency Management website.

Beachgoers warned of blue-green algae

As you spend your sunny days enjoying the beaches on the peninsula, there is a growing awareness of blue-green algae and its harmful effects if you come into contact. The blue-green algae, also called “pond scum,” is often green but it can also be blue, tan, and even reddish-purple. It typically grows and thrives in slow-moving environments like lakes, ponds, and some streams. A rule of thumb to identify the algae is if it looks akin to pea soup. 

 

Symptoms of blue-green algae poisoning can include lethargy, loss of appetite, seizures and vomiting. For some people, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Management Specialist Gina LaLiberte says it can even cause skin reactions.

 

 

LaLiberte says that blue-green algae is usually very visible. Blue-green algae is especially harmful for dogs, and she recommends either using longer toys when you play fetch in the water to mitigate the risk of swallowing it while retrieving or avoiding the algae altogether.  Tips from the DNR on detecting blue-green algae can be found below.

 

  • Do not let children play with scum layers, even from shore
  • Do not let pets or livestock swim in or drink waters experiencing blue-green algae blooms
  • Always shower after encountering any surface water
  • Try to avoid swallowing lake water
  • Wash dogs immediately after they swim.

Making sure your pet adoptions permanent

The Door County Humane Society wants you to make sure your pandemic adoption doesn’t become a rental as restrictions have been eased and people are leaving home more. There have been reports of some shelters around the country seeing heavy increases in returned pets that were adopted since the pandemic began, but that trend has yet to hit locally. Marketing Coordinator Shaina Allen says they’re happy to report that they’re not seeing high numbers of adopted pets returned, but recommends you do extensive research and questioning at the adoption appointment when you do take home a companion. 

 

Allen says that after you adopt that animals’ behavior can be different at home than the shelter, so as they get more comfortable they often let their personality shine. This can present you with new challenges, and perhaps be overwhelming. Allen suggests you take it slow and introduce your pet to a little bit of their home at a time. 

 

While it can feel defeating to no longer be able to take care of your pet, Allen says it can be for many reasons and that it’s okay. However, you should call the humane society to learn what resources you can use to get the animal in the right hands. According to PetPoint, a database that collects data from over 1100 animal welfare organizations nationally, this April 15,906 dogs were surrendered by their owners which is an 80 percent increase from April of 2020 when many shelters reduced operations. The 2021 April number is still significantly below April of 2019, when 20,289 dogs were surrendered.

 

Ephraim Men's Club highlighting scholarship recipients

Even though they had to cancel their annual pancake breakfast in 2020 which contributes to their scholarship award fund, the Ephraim Men’s Club was still able to dish out $30,000 in scholarships for 2021. Ten Gibraltar graduates were given scholarships to help with their future endeavors in education. Vice President of the Ephraim Men’s Club, George Harmon, says that when they had to look for contributions to their fund elsewhere, local partners and individuals stepped up in great ways. 

 

The Ephraim Men’s Club estimates that they’ve awarded around $300,000 in scholarships over the years, and Harmon says it’s rewarding to see. 

 

 

Their pancake breakfast will be held this year on Friday, August 6th. The scholarship award winners are listed below:

 

  • Agne Zukauskaite
  • Makena Rose Murre
  • Maggie Mae Moroney
  • Molly McCormack
  • Marcus Reinhardt
  • Eliza Maltby
  • Sage Krause
  • Karlee Ann Kita
  • Spencer Krause 
  • Wyatt Hertwig

Pictured is scholarship recipient, Agne Zukauskaite

Walk for multiple sclerosis returning

After a year off because of the COVID19 pandemic, you’re able to walk up to 50 miles through Door County in support of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. The National MS Society announced the event’s return this week, and predicts more than 150 people will participate in the Challenge Walk MS: Door County that takes place from September 24th to September 26th. They also anticipate the walk will raise over $300,000. A press release from the National MS Society says that the walk helps fund cutting-edge research to find a cure for MS. 

 

Door County is in good company, as the Challenge Walk is part of a 3-walk series, also holding events in Cape Cod and Southern California. President of the National MS Society Wisconsin chapter, Danelle O’Neill, shared high praise for the walk’s presence in Door County, stating, “we’re continuously inspired by our participants and exceedingly grateful for their support and the strides it enables us to make in the fight against MS.” If you want to walk you’ll start at County Road ZZ in Ellison Bay. 

 

Death at county park under investigation

Several area emergency units went to Cave Point County Park in the town of Sevastopol on Saturday afternoon at 2:39 PM to perform rescue efforts. The Door County Sheriff’s Office reported that they were notified of a person who went swimming off the shore and upon exiting the water, collapsed and fell back into it. Bystanders immediately pulled the person from the water and performed rescue saving operations before medical personnel arrived to continue the efforts. Responding units include the Sturgeon Bay Fire Department, Jacksonport Fire Department, Door County Emergency Services Department, and the Door County Sheriff’s Office. They then transported the victim, identified as a 35-year-old man, to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced deceased. The incident is under investigation. The victim’s name is not being released pending notification of family members.

 

Belgian Historical Society receiving grant for video showing

The Great Fire of 1871 in Door County will be commemorated in October by the Belgian Heritage Center and with help from the Door County Community Foundation. The Belgian Heritage Center is receiving a grant from the community foundation and will put it towards producing a video about the Great Fire and its aftermath that affected the local Belgian population. The video will be released by the 150th anniversary of the fire that occurred on October 8th of 1871. The video will be shown to the public at the BHC campus on October 9th and 10th. The devastating fire often gets overlooked in history, as October 8th-October 10th of 1871 is when the Great Chicago Fire took place.

Waterfowl persevering through dry conditions

Though weather conditions gave Wisconsin subpar wetland conditions, that didn’t put a dent into the state’s 2021 waterfowl population. State spring surveys showed increases in breeding waterfowl, like wood ducks, blue-winged teal and Canadian geese. One popular species that had a slight dip in population were mallard numbers. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Migratory Game Bird Biologist Taylor Finger says waterfowl species numbers in northeast Wisconsin are typically stable. 

 

 

Finger didn’t find himself surprised that even with dry conditions several species numbers grew. He says with the dry conditions you can actually see the birds better. Finger says it’s a bit early to tell how the hunting season will be yet, but they start banding operations soon and should have a better idea of what to expect then. 

 

The DNR estimates that the breeding duck population in the state for 2021 is over 522,000 birds, which is a seven percent increase from last year. You can find full survey results with this link

Door County's popularity is attracting outside interest in property

Benefiting from less stress and a lower cost of living, more people appear to be looking to vacation in a Door County and eventually make it a second home. Sturgeon Bay realtor Ame Grail says the real estate market in Door County is busier than ever.  More people from bigger cities are approaching her for opportunities to buy properties throughout the peninsula. She says listed properties are moving fast.  Many real estate transactions are being completed within a month. 

 

 

 Grail is seeing multiple offers above the asking price being submitted within one or two days of a newly listed property. The shortage of homes on the market and more people looking to move to Door County has kept it a seller’s market. This month, leisureandtravel.com named Fish Creek one of the top ten best small towns in the Midwest. 

Kewaunee's Fritz ready for next challenge

You may have never known new Kewaunee School District Superintendent Scott Fritz if it was not for Horicon Superintendent Rich Appel. Fritz says he was happy being a biology teacher and the head football and baseball coach in Chilton when Appel was called up for duty with the United States Army.  After a year being the interim principal at Chilton, Fritz found his new career path rewarding enough to follow it to Howards Grove where he would serve as the high school principal. When the superintendent position opened up in Kewaunee, Fritz knew from previous visits to the community as a coach that it was a place he wanted to be.

Taking over for the retired Karen Treml at the beginning of the month, Fritz says he is excited to get the school year going this fall and have things be a little more normal than they have been for the last year and a half. Until September begins, Fritz and his family look forward to getting more acquainted with their new community, including attending Saturday’s Kewaunee  Alumnifest at Lakehaven Hall. 

 

Picture courtesy of Kewaunee School District

Fire department welcomes community for parade and picnic

As successful as last year’s drive-thru event was for the Southern Door Fire Department, new Fire Chief Rich Olson is excited to welcome you back for a more traditional-looking parade and a picnic this year on July 24th. The pandemic forced the department to alter its annual event, but the generosity of the community helped it purchase new cordless Jaws of Life units for vehicle extrication incidents and updated equipment for its emergency medical responders. Olson says he is happy to be welcome the community for a more traditional event this year, which will feature live music, water fights, live music, demonstrations, and of course food.

Olson says no specific projects are lined up for the funds earned during this year’s event, but hopes to let the community know more soon after. The Southern Door Fire Fighters’ Picnic and Parade begin at 11 a.m. at the Forestville Fire Station on July 24th. Line up for the parade will take place at 10:30 a.m. on Mill Road with the picnic taking place soon after.

YMCA lists renovation goals

The Door County YMCA announced the new vision for the future on Friday. A press release from the Door County YMCA explains they’ve taken time in the last seventeen months to evaluate what they’ve learned from the pandemic and where they want to go. In the process of reimagining its proposed Heart of the Community capital plans for the Sturgeon Bay facility, the YMCA will look to expand their social areas, which includes a new social lounge, a board room, and community space. A new wellness center would also be added to create more space for cardio and strength training equipment, ensuring access for the growing senior population. 

 

The release also stated that a new Y Activity Center will allow them to improve and expand program spaces to accommodate its growing population and offer innovative programs. Former CEO and Capital Campaign Chair Tom Beernsteen reflected when speaking of the plans, saying, “it has become increasingly apparent over the past 24 years and especially the last seventeen months that the current facility must evolve to meet the needs of our community today and well into the future.” The goal of the renovations is to create a modern and vibrant place for people of all walks of life. 

 

Kewaunee County reports no COVID activity over week

Kewaunee County’s COVID19 numbers skewed the opposite direction of the state’s this week. Out of 33 tests performed, zero turned out to be positive. There were no hospitalizations or deaths and the county lists zero active cases as of Friday afternoon. 

 

On the vaccine front, Wisconsin is at 51% of residents with one or both vaccine doses and the state administered shots to about 24.5 thousand residents this week. In Kewaunee County, 41.4% of residents have one or both doses and 40.2% are fully vaccinated. Door County is at 66.3% of residents with at least one dose and 64.4% of residents have completed the series. 


Drivers urged to be aware of triathlon traffic

You should exercise extreme caution if you plan on driving by the Door County Triathlon on Saturday and Sunday. Door County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Pat McCarty wants you to be prepared for the influx of visitors. 

 


On Saturday there is one road closure during the day on County Highway G from Bluff Pass to Murphy County Park. On Sunday there are no planned road closures, but McCarty says you should expect delays if you’re driving on or near the bike race route. There will be people manning a number of the intersections involved in the triathlon and directing traffic, and additional signage at unmanned crossings. A list of traffic obstructions for the bike race is listed below.

Update: No injuries in Algoma structure fire

One local business saw one of its worst nightmares unfold just before noon on Friday as a fire broke out at Bearcats Fish house in Algoma. No one was seriously injured but some employees of Bearcats were exposed to smoke and later released by EMS. The Algoma Fire Department arrived around 11:40 AM as smoke was coming out of the doors on the east side of the building. Algoma Fire Chief Tom Ackerman credited the initial attack crew for getting the fire under control, including pulling down ceiling materials. 

 

 

Early detection shows that the fire likely started in one of the smoking units in the northwest corner of the building. Ackerman says he spoke to one Bearcats employee who said he noticed that one of the smokers was on fire before he tried to extinguish it himself. Once the flames got above him, the employee dialed 911 for help. 

 

Ackerman says there’s considerable fire damage to the north half of the building and very heavy smoke damage in the retail end. He added that a firewall prevented the fire from getting to the retail area. Kewaunee and Southern Door Fire Departments also responded to the fire while Kewaunee and Algoma EMS were also on scene to make sure firefighters vital signs were in the clear.

 

 

Original story

 

State Highway 42 and Fourth Street in Algoma from Steele Street to North Water Street is currently closed according to the Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Office. Chuck Schmitt, owner of Fisherman’s Refuge confirmed the fire was located in the upper half of Bearcats shortly after 11:00 AM, and the Algoma Fire Department arrived on scene and has the fire contained. The Algoma Fire Department is advising you to remain clear of the area so first responders can work. More details will be provided as they become available. 

 

Delta variant carries concern

Door County Public Health Manager Sue Powers says the growing numbers of positive COVID-19 cases across the country should encourage you to get vaccinated.

 

According to the New York Times, the average number of new cases has doubled in the last two weeks to over 26,000. Wisconsin has seen its seven-day average cases grow from 85 last Thursday to 138 a week later. Health officials have pointed to the delta variant as the reason for the jump as it becomes the most dominant strain in the country.

 

Powers says its high vaccination rate of over 60 percent is certainly helping keep its numbers low. She does not see another huge spike for the area because of that, but still encourages people to take the necessary precautions whether they are vaccinated or not.

The delta variant has proven to be tougher than some antibody treatments, but Powers says the American vaccines have still been mostly effective.

Large farms await next steps after court decision

The Dairy Business Association knows about as much as you do when it comes to what last week’s Wisconsin Supreme Court decision means for some of its members. The state’s high court ruled last week that the Department of Natural Resources officials can impose operating conditions on large farms and consider the environmental impacts of high-capacity wells before approving permits. One of the decisions dates back to a nearly-decade-long case involving Casco’s Kinnard Farms.  In 2015, an administrative law judge called for Kinnard Farms to limit the number of animals and to install groundwater monitoring stations. Opponents to the decisions, including the DBA, said at the time that the DNR could not require those conditions under state law. DBA Director of Governmental Affairs John Holevoet likened the case to one ruled on earlier this year where the Wisconsin State Supreme Court stripped the powers from former Department of Human Services Secretary-designee Andrea Palm on how she handled the COVID-19 pandemic. While the future of the permitting process for operations like Kinnard Farms remains murky, Holevoet says a lot has changed with how farmers operate since the case first entered the courts.

Holevoet says it is unlikely that animals would be removed from farms, but could see the possibility of new limits moving forward. He adds that the real impact of the decision could be a couple of years away. Midwest Environmental Advocates Executive Director Tony Wilkin Gibart told DoorCountyDailyNews.com last week it should have never taken eight years to get to this point, but called the decision a true David vs. Goliath moment. He added it showed that Wisconsin residents have the right to demand clean water.  

 

Picture courtesy of the Dairy Business Association

Fire destroys home in Brussels

A Brussels homeowner could use your help after their house was destroyed in a Thursday night fire. The Brussels-Union-Gardner Fire Department was paged just after 8 p.m. to the home near County Road C and School Road. When they arrived, they found black smoke pouring out of the home and two parts of the home completely engulfed. The homeowner had arrived just a few minutes earlier and was greeted by black smoke as he tried to enter the back door. BUG Fire Chief Curt Vandertie says the initial investigation shows the blaze started in the kitchen and estimates that approximately 75 percent of the home has suffered damage, leaving it inhabitable. He credits the owners of Rouer’s Grand Slam and the rest of the community for already stepping up in the fire’s aftermath.

Investigators and the insurance company were expected to be back at the home Friday after firefighters were cleared from the scene at around midnight. Southern Door, Sturgeon Bay, Luxemburg, and Casco Fire Departments and the Door County Sheriff’s Department provided assistance with the call.

 

 

Photos provided by BUG FIre Chief. The picture of the home burning was provided to Vandertie by a nearby resident.

NWTC looking to foster diversity with nursing grant

The local nursing landscape could be on the way to looking more diverse in the near future thanks to a Northeast Wisconsin Technical College grant. The college started working on the EARN grant last spring with the Department of Health Services and officially unveiled it on Thursday. The EARN grant stands for Educating Aspiring Registered Nurses and aims to increase diversity in the NWTC nursing program as well as the nursing workforce. The $1.8 million dollar grant will aid fifty minority students over a four-year period, who are faced with economic barriers. Associate Dean of Nursing Brian Krogh says there hasn’t been too many logistics of the grant program worked out yet, but he doesn’t think it will matter what NWTC campus you attend, as long as you meet eligibility requirements. 

 

Krogh hopes aid recipients stay in the area and practice, but would even like to see some nursing graduates come back to NWTC to educate others. 

 

 

The influence the grant could have is also important, as Krogh would like the representation of minorities in their nursing department to influence others to enroll at NWTC.

 

Illegal dumping habits to affect compost hours

Illegal dumping habits to affect compost hours

 

You may have to change your hours of dumping compost after the city of Sturgeon Bay officially announced changes taking effect that had been approved for a year and a half. The city will begin closing and locking the gate at its compost site at night, starting on Wednesday, July 21st. These changes were approved in January of 2020 and a press release from the city, states that the change will help curb illegal dumping at the compost site. Municipal Services Director Mike Barker says that city employees have been spending time almost daily removing illegal materials from the brush and lawn waste piles, which comes to a high cost for proper disposal. Items that have become commonly removed from the piles are treated lumber, lumber with nails, concrete, and plastic materials, which can damage shredding equipment. 

 

Compost hours that become effective on Wednesday are below:

 

Spring and Fall (March 15th to May 14th; October 1st to December 15th)

 

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday     7:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M.

Wednesday                                                     10:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M. 

Saturday-Sunday                                            8:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M. 

 

Summer (May 15th to October 1st) 

 

Monday, Wednesday, Friday    8:00 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. 

Tuesday and Thursday            10:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M.

Saturday-Sunday                       8:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M. 

 

Short term rental ordinance proposal gets tweaked

Soon you may see a short-term rental ordinance that could set a precedent for Door County. Over a year of sometimes contentious conversations about STR ordinances in Sevastopol took another slight turn on Wednesday. The town of Sevastopol Plan Commission met and after learning that the town has close to 80 STR’s rather than the original estimate of 66, the proposed registration fee for STR owners was reduced from $500 to around $300. Renewal of registration would be in the $250 range. 

 

The plan commission plans to send their recommendation to the town board and they’ll include all the relevant documents. Some of the documents that will be given to the town board are the proposed ordinance, application process, a list of frequently asked questions, a resolution on the fees, sample letter for owners to send their neighbors, and the letter the town would send to renters. 

 

There is no minimum night stay in the proposed ordinance. However, if a guest or group stays at an STR for under six nights, the next group of renters would not be able to stay at the property until that six-day period is up. Plan Commission Chair Linda Wait provided an example, saying if you stay at a cottage from Thursday to Saturday, the next renters won’t be able to stay until the following Wednesday. Wait adds that this ordinance would go into effect on July 1st of 2022, helping rental owners prepare. 

 

 

Wait says she’s pretty certain the ordinance will be discussed in Monday’s town board meeting, but she’s unsure if any action will be taken. The proposal can be found here

 

Door County reports COVID death; above 100 hospitalizations

With state COVID19 numbers on the rise, Door County Public Health is urging you to get your vaccination shot, as they have plenty of supply. Door County had a death in their weekly COVID19 report which is its 26th since the beginning of the pandemic, and two hospitalizations. In Door County, 102 overall people have been hospitalized because of the virus. There were two positive cases over the week in Door County out of 49 tests performed. 

 

As states push younger groups to get vaccinated, 50.9% of Wisconsin’s residents have done so. In Door County 66.3% of residents have one or two vaccine doses and 64.3% have completed the series. In Kewaunee County, 41.4% of residents have at least one dose and 40.2% are fully vaccinated. Full COVID19 and vaccine data state and county-wide can be found with this link

 

Green Bay diocese lifts dispensation

If you’re Catholic, the Diocese of Green Bay is giving you the all-clear to come back to church in about a month.

 

Bishop David Ricken announced on Wednesday he was lifting the dispensation for Catholics to forgo their Sunday obligation of going to mass. The dispensation has been in effect since early last fall when COVID-19 numbers started to rise after lifting it for a brief time during the summer. In his statement, Ricken said he made the decision based on “greater health in our communities and our parishes.”  Pastor Dan Schuster of St. Mary and Holy Trinity Parishes in the Luxemburg-Casco area says attendance is still down from the pre-pandemic levels. He thinks people will come back after the dispensation is lifted, but not because the bishop is specifically telling them.

 The obligation to attend Sunday mass does not apply to those who due to illness or age believe their health would be placed in serious jeopardy. The dispensation is officially lifted on August 15th when the Catholic Church celebrates the Assumption of Mary. 

Preventative measures offer healthier outcomes

A little extra attention to your health now could save you from sickness and other issues down the road. COVID-19 is to blame for more than 40 percent of Americans skipping out on medical care in 2020 according to the American Medical Association.  Of those respondents, 29 percent of people skipped out on preventative care visits and 26 percent missed outpatient general medical appointments. Researchers found that nearly 10 million people missed cancer screenings as a result of the pandemic. This covered breast, colon, and prostate cancers where early detection is crucial to fighting against it. Bellin Health President and CEO Chris Woleske says delaying care of any kind carries its own risks.

Woleske says Bellin and other hospitals are still trying to catch up the high volume of missed appointments in 2020 due to limited staff and equipment. She recommends you and your kids stay in constant contact with your doctors to keep up with any changes in your health. You can listen to the full #MyCommunityMyBellin podcast here.

Roundabouts creating bad driving habits

There are no roundabouts in Kewaunee County, but you will still see the impact of them on area roads. Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski credits the relatively new intersection style for some drivers failing to yield to oncoming traffic and not halting completely when approaching a stop sign on other area roadways where there are no roundabouts. It is leading to more traffic stops and has the potential of creating accidents along the way. Joski believes roundabouts do a good job regulating traffic flow in the right places, but until they come to Kewaunee County, he wants motorists to follow the rules of the road.

He encourages motorists to look both ways not once but twice when crossing a controlled intersection because of different factors like poor visibility and vehicle size and color. You can read more about this topic from Joski below.

 

FROM SHERIFF JOSKI

Each week for the past decade, I dedicate a portion of my time to putting together these weekly articles. There are times when the topic is readily available due to a specific time of year or the observation of a given safety initiative. Some of the best ideas however, come from members of the community who reach out to me with a concern or topic they would like covered. This is exactly the case for this week’s article which my contributor so eloquently requested to be titled; “Stop Sign Intersections are not Roundabouts!”

            

For many of us, our driving history pre-dates the advent of these new intersection devices, and some have adapted better than others to them. I do believe that roundabouts do create a safer environment while expediting the flow of traffic through the given intersection. The purpose of this article and its relationship to roundabouts is that we need to recognize that there are in fact traditional intersections still governed by the standard stop sign. In these cases, the hard and fast rules still apply, and that is that you must come to a complete stop prior to proceeding into the intersection. You must also yield right of way to all traffic not controlled by a stop sign.  Too often we see accidents which occur due a driver’s circumventing one or both of these requirements, due to either inattentiveness or impatience.

           

Just so there is no suspicion that I making this stuff up, here is the actual statute as stated under 346.46(1)

   

“Except when directed to proceed by a traffic officer or traffic control signal, every operator of a vehicle approaching an official stop sign at an intersection shall cause such vehicle to stop before entering the intersection and shall yield the right-of-way to other vehicles which have entered or are approaching the intersection upon a highway which is not controlled by an official stop sign or traffic signal.”

         

Another contributing factor regarding accidents at stop signs is what it means to actually stop. I have heard many phrases pertaining to stopping such as a “slow and go” or “California Roll” or even “Stopish” so here is the actual definition: “To cease all movement”.

         

In reality your vehicle should be stopped long enough for you the driver to be able to look both left and right not just once but twice before proceeding. This second visual is important as there are unique vehicles such as motorcycles or bicyclists which may be missed at first glance.

        

The good news is that we do not at this time have any roundabouts established here in Kewaunee County, so it should be easy to remember when approaching any intersection within our county that they are ALL controlled intersections. Whether a two way or a four way, the same rules apply. Stop completely- Look both ways (Twice)- Proceed when Safe.

        

I hope this clarifies matters and provides guidance as we navigate through both traditional intersections as well as the roundabouts we come across in our travels. Stay Safe!

Wagner to resign from Kewaunee County Board

For the first time in over 20 years, there will be a new voice representing the Town of Red River on the  Kewaunee County Board. Chuck Wagner announced at the end of Tuesday’s Kewaunee County Land and Water Conservation Committee meeting that he would be stepping down from his District 3 Supervisor position due to family reasons. While he serves on five different committees, it was his work with the Land and Water Conservation Department that he was most fond of during his tenure.  He had been pursuing a degree in forestry and wildlife management before being drafted into the military prior to the Vietnam War. Wagner never lost his passion for the outdoors and eventually joined the Kewaunee County Land and Water Conservation Committee and similar boards at the state level.  Whether it was discussions around a new county jail or groundwater quality, Wagner says he always tried to listen to as many sides of an issue before reaching a decision.

You will likely have the opportunity to replace Wagner much as he did for his predecessor.  He also threw his name in for consideration after a supervisor resigned from their position during the summer of 1999. More details on applying for the role will likely be announced when he officially resigns at the next Kewaunee County Board meeting on July 20th. 

Liberty Grove changes nuisance ordinance

The town of Liberty Grove is asking you to keep the noise down following a number of different complaints. The town board updated its nuisance ordinance during its meeting earlier this month to address concerns like fireworks and loud vehicles. The new ordinance is not necessarily tougher than what is on the books in the county, but it now includes a number of references to state statutes. Town Board Chairperson John Lowry said the new ordinance puts them in a better position to handle the complaints and inform people if they are doing something wrong.

Lowry added they tried to not be too restrictive with the ordinance to allow people to do things like shoot target practice or work with farm machinery on their property. According to the draft ordinance posted online, the first offense could cost you between $20 and $500 while subsequent times could be a fine of as much as $1,000.

COVID vaccinations reach pandemic-low

Vaccine providers are more than prepared to help you protect yourself from COVID-19.

 

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported that only 8,300 doses of the vaccine have been administered this week, including 57 in Door County and 32 in Kewaunee County. Both counties were under 100 administered doses during the holiday-shortened week, which featured the lowest number of vaccinations statewide since it was first made available in December.  Door County is one of just four counties where more than half of its residents have been vaccinated against COVID-19.  

 

The news comes after the seven-day average of positive COVID-19 tests ticked up one to 139. The state is still averaging two COVID-19 related deaths and 30 hospitalizations over the last seven days.

 

Door County will announce their data on Thursday and Kewaunee County will do theirs on Friday.

Door County YMCA making use of Peterson Park

The Door County YMCA is doing a few different things to get you to Peterson Park this summer. They are offering free opportunities to use the facility next to it. This summer the YMCA got their Peterson Park series rolling, which is centered around yoga, movies, and music. Yoga in the Park has been happening every other Thursday, and will continue until August 25th, weather permitting. 

 

This Friday, July 16th, there is a movie in the park at dusk. The YMCA is fixing to show the movie Gnomeo and Juliet. Peterson Park will pivot to music with their Music in the Park performance by the Birch Creek Ambassadors in the morning next Thursday, July 22nd. Marketing Director at the Door County YMCA, Amy Gamble, says you can come and enjoy more than just performances at Peterson Park for no charge. 

 

 

More information on the YMCA’s upcoming events at Peterson Park and their Friday blood drive can be found with this link.

 

Brinkman named Assistant Chief of Police

Starting next week, when you see Sturgeon Bay Police Department Captain Dan Brinkman, you’ll be looking at the department’s new Assistant Chief. After spending the past couple of months working on a staff structure change, dissolving the Lieutenant position and creating an Assistant Chief of Police position for the Sturgeon Bay Police Department, they chose Captain Brinkman for the new role. Sturgeon Bay Chief of Police Clint Henry says you can be assured the hire was made objectively. 

 

 

The structure change was in an effort to be more in line with comparable police departments. With the change the department will have to fill the Police Captain role. Sergeant Chad Hougaard and Sergeant Jason Albertson are among candidates. 

 

Drinking for causes in Door County

Next time you put your lips up to a pint of one of Bridge Up Brewing’s beers, you may be helping Door County’s conservation efforts with it. Bridge Up Brewing recently began their “Pints With a Purpose campaign” where they donate a dollar from every pint of a specific beer sold to a different local organization each month. The program started on July 1st with a dollar out of each pint sold of their Escarpment Citra Pale Ale designated for the Door County Land Trust. They are excited to be the first beneficiary of the new initiative, as the director of charitable giving at the Door County Land Trust, Cinnamon Rossman, says they were approached in June about the program. She adds that it fits their community-oriented approach. She hopes people feel encouraged to support the mission.

 

 

Rossman says little efforts like this are very helpful because they add up over time. 

 

Kewaunee County bringing back health challenge

Kewaunee County Public Health has a challenge for you, incentivizing staying fit. Get Healthy Kewaunee is restarting a bingo challenge to increase activity and improve nutrition choices within the county. The workgroup conducted the first challenge in January of 2021 to give people a fun way to safely exercise while places were not fully open due to the pandemic. Registered Health Dietician for Kewaunee County Rachel Bauer said that it received such great feedback that it warranted bringing back the program this August. The challenge starts on August 1st and goes until August 31st. 

 

If you participate you'll get a card with 25 squares, each with a physical activity or a nutrition/wellness improvement you can make. After completing at least 15 of the squares, you can fill out the information on the back of the card and mail it into Kewaunee County Public Health and be registered to win fun prizes like gift cards to local businesses. Bauer sees the program continuing. 

 

 

You have until the September 10th deadline to get your bingo card turned in. More information on the challenge can be found with this link

 

Severe thunderstorm warning for Door and Kewaunee counties UPDATED

There is a moderate chance of strong to severe thunderstorms across central and northeast Wisconsin this afternoon and evening. Door and Kewaunee Counties are under a severe thunderstorm warning until 5 pm and a severe weather warning until 5:45 pm, according to the National Weather Service. 

 There is still some uncertainty on the evolution of a thunderstorm complex, and exactly where the greatest threat for severe storms will occur.  However, there is certainly potential for severe thunderstorms today with damaging winds the primary hazard. Torrential rainfall and localized flooding will also be possible.

If you are planning outdoor activities in the risk area, have alternate plans in place, including knowing where the nearest sturdy shelter is, in the event severe weather threatens your area.

Speaker being brought in to grow NERR awareness

You’ll get the chance to learn more about a reserve that the city of Sturgeon Bay is competing to secure in a couple of weeks. On Tuesday, July 27th,the Door County Environmental Council is bringing a powerful speaker to the Door County Maritime Museum to present on a bay of Green Bay NERR that Sturgeon Bay is competing with Green Bay and Marinette to land. Presenting will be the state’s lead on the project, Emily Tyner, who is also UWGB’s first Director of Freshwater Strategy. She is also a doctoral candidate at UW-Milwaukee. 

 

The NERR is part of a network of coastal areas that’s dedicated to studying estuarine systems. The city of Sturgeon Bay posted to their Facebook page that the NERR site would provide the following benefits to the city and Door County:

 

  • A visitor center that provides international exposure
  • Increased research dollars 
  • Assistance stewarding local aquatic treasures
  • Educational resources
  • Unique recreational opportunities
  • Local economic development 

 

The presentation starts at 7:00 PM and can also be watched on Zoom. 

 

(Photo from UWGB)

 

New Coast Guard commander taking over in Sturgeon Bay

A new face will be heading the Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment - Sturgeon Bay. Lieutenant Commander Lisa Woodman is the new supervisor.  Lt. Cmdr Woodman was most recently with the Coast Guard Marine Safety Center in Washington D.C., serving as the tank vessel and offshore division chief. Woodman will replace Lieutenant Commander Andrew Murphy who was in the position for three years. Murphy is going to Washington D.C. for a new role at the USCG headquarters, serving in the Office of Operating and Environmental Standards. 

 

New cases rising in state report

The Wisconsin Department of Public Health released their COVID19 report on Tuesday and the seven-day average number of new confirmed cases went from 114 on Monday to 138 on Tuesday. The seven-day average for deaths is still at two. Door County is considered medium virus activity and Kewaunee County is in low virus activity. 

 

In Wisconsin, 50.8% of residents have at least one vaccine dose. In Door County, 66.2% of residents have at least one dose and 63.9% are fully vaccinated. In Kewaunee County, 41.3% of residents have at least a vaccine dose and 39.8% are fully vaccinated. Data regarding COVID19 statistics and vaccines can be found following this link

 

Red Cross looking for you to end shortage

American Red Cross is hoping that you step up and donate for people relying on blood transfusions, especially as there is a blood shortage both nationally and locally. Regional Communications Director for American Red Cross, Justin Kern, says hospital partners have made it clear that there is an increase in the need for blood. According to Kern, a couple of possible factors include increases in trauma and also the return to normalcy.

 

 

Red Cross is trying to pump up donation numbers by offering you a chance to enter local and national drawings through July in exchange for a donation. One drawing even includes free gas for a year. Kern says that can be a bonus on top of a good feeling for helping those in need. Kern also says that what often keeps people from making a donation in the first place is fear of the unknown. He suggests you talk to people who donate regularly. 

 

 

Type O blood is the most urgently needed. A list of upcoming Door and Kewaunee County blood drives can be found pictured below. 

 

 

Washington Island Lions show support despite COVID break

Just because the pandemic forced the Washington Island Lions Club to take most of the year off from their activities does not mean you could not find their impact. COVID-19 canceled the club’s popular Fly-In Fish Boil and Washington Island Fair events that raise thousands of dollars for special area causes. The club also could not rent out its large events tent which also raises thousands of dollars for its mission. Despite the lack of fundraising efforts, the Washington Island Lions Club still supported the community when they were called upon. That includes $3,000 towards a new concession stand at the town park and additional dollars toward efforts like the Washington Island Legion, the island’s war memorial, and student scholarships. Washington Island Lions Club Treasurer Joel Gunnlaugsson says he and his fellow members are excited to get back out into the community.

The club’s first big event back is this Saturday’s Fly-In Fish Boil at the Washington Island Airport. You do not have to be one of the 100 pilots that fly in to enjoy the event, which serves its fish boil alongside music and kids activities from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

 

Picture courtesy of Door County

Granary gets design approval

Your opportunity to see the granary move a final time is one step closer after the Sturgeon Bay Aesthetic Design and Site Plan Review Board gave its unanimous approval on Monday. The former Teweles and Brandeis grain elevator made headlines earlier this year when the early conceptual design for the structure by architect LA DALLMAN received international accolades. The Sturgeon Bay Historical Society has worked to fine-tune some of the details so they could be presented to the committee. Some of the distinguishing features include big, open windows on the first floor, a translucent headhouse, and a natural rain garden. Executive Director Beth Renstrom feels gratified by the work that has been put into restoring the granary and receiving positive remarks from the committee.

Renstrom says they are now looking at early permitting to pour a new foundation and install the necessary pilings so the granary can move approximately 50 feet to its original location. The granary recently received an endorsement from the National Trust for Historic Renovation as a building worth saving.

Dock installers battle water levels, labor shortage

If you are finding more beachy areas and longer docks in Door County, there is a reason for it. Water levels in Lake Michigan, for example, have dropped nearly two feet in just the past year.  The lower water levels are helping sandbars near the shoreline re-establish, forcing area docks out another 10 to 30 feet just to keep boats floating in a safe depth. Pier and Waterfront Solutions owner Jerry Englebert says they try to get people out to four feet of water minimum in hopes it lasts dock owners the entire season.

Englebert says even worse than the water levels has been the shortage of help many businesses are facing. He has a good crew but he considers himself two or three people short to provide the services he wants his customers to have.  

 

Picture courtesy of Pier and Waterfront Solutions

Algoma adds two new patrol officers

You will see two new police officers patrolling the streets of Algoma this week.  Zachary VanVonderen and Ann Behnke have joined the Algoma Police Department after being officially sworn into their positions.  Police Chief Randy Remiker says adding two young officers to the force is great news for the department.

 

 

Behnke completed 720 hours at NWTC’s police academy the first five months of this year and will start on-the-job training with other patrol officers for the next six weeks.  She explains why she pursued a career in law enforcement.

 

 

Behnke and VanVonderen both live in the Green Bay area and will now protect and serve the Algoma community after taking the oath of office.  

State COVID-19 case averages exceed 100 again

The seven-day average of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state hit three digits for the first time in nearly a month.  The Department of Health Services reported Monday that the state averaged 114 cases over the past week with deaths remaining at two per day.

On the vaccination front, just over 50 percent of Wisconsin residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine.  Door County reports that 66.1 percent of its residents have received at least one dose, while Kewaunee County has 41.2 percent of the population vaccinated with at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.  You can get more detailed information on vaccinations statewide here. 

Sturgeon Bay Bicycle Advisory Board back on track

After going more than 17 months without a meeting, the City of Sturgeon Bay Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board met at City Hall on Monday afternoon to discuss upcoming plans for the following year.


First and foremost, the application for renewal of the bronze-level status as a “Bicycle-friendly community” will need to be submitted by September 1.  Four concerned residents emphasized the importance for the city to accommodate bicyclists, promote bike safety, and for the board to continue as an independent committee.

 

Chair Kirsten Reeths reassured those in attendance that the board would remain intact. It will only funnel recommendations through the Parking & Traffic Committee to get approved by the Sturgeon Bay Common Council.

 

 

Discussion during the 70-minute meeting covered bringing the Bike Rodeo back on May 7, 2022, at Market Square, as well as placing more bike racks throughout the city for people to utilize. The Bike Rodeo would be coordinated with Sturgeon Bay Elementary Schools and the Sturgeon Bay Police Department.  The Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board will meet again on Monday, August 2. 

 

 

TAP marquee lights up for the first time in a year

As you drive down Sturgeon Bay’s Third Avenue at night, you will now be able to see the Third Avenue Playhouse Marquee lit up after a year of renovations. Last Saturday, many of the area’s biggest names gathered to witness the lighting of the marquee. In attendance were Representative Joel Kitchens, Door County Community Foundation President and CEO Bret Bicoy, and United Way of Door County Executive Director Amy Kohnle, Mayor David Ward and Destination Sturgeon Bay Director Pam Seiler. Both Mayor Ward and Pam Seiler spoke at the event before the marquee was lit. Last year, TAP set on a journey to completely renovate the playhouse and raise 3.5 million dollars to fund the project. So far, the TAP has raised $2.5 million thanks to the community banding together to support the project. The renovation is expected to finish in the fall, and TAP has set a tentative date for their first show back. As of right now, you will be able to see the two-person show of Gutenberg, the musical, the first week of October.

Door County businesses keeping busy

You can expect Door County tourists to stay around town a little longer this year. Tax collection data, which is often used to gauge the impact of tourism in the county, is still weeks away, however, some data gathered by Destination Door County shows the average tourist stay in Door County has grown to 3.8 days per trip. Destination Door County Interim CEO Jon Jarosh says tourists are also not just sticking to the weekends either for their visits.

The growth of visitors between the ages of 25-34 has also taken another step forward in 2021. Jarosh says many people in that age group felt more comfortable traveling last year compared to others and they are coming back in droves. He adds the demand for outdoor activities is a big reason why.

As it is throughout tourist destinations across the country, the labor shortage is having an impact on some business operations. Jarosh advises visitors to plan ahead and schedule activities in advance while also packing a little extra patience.

Smartphone features to blame for accidental 911 calls

The fancy emergency call function on your smartphone and other devices could be causing lots of issues on the other side of the line. The Door County Emergency Management and Communications Department estimates approximately 20 percent of all of the calls they receive in a month are because of accidental 911 calls. Kewaunee County saw the number of 911 hang-ups grow over 200 calls from 2019 to 2020 with 1,049 received. In both cases, it takes a lot of resources and time to learn if that emergency call was real or not. Door County Emergency Management and Communications Director Dan Kane says many times, people do not realize it has happened and it is often too late to do anything about it when does.

Kane adds that if you accidentally dial 911 to stay on the line and talk to the on-duty dispatch operator about what happened. If it was an honest mistake, Kane says you will not get in trouble. He also recommends taking a look at your smart device for ways to eliminate the feature if it is an issue. Pushing the power button five times in a row on an iPhone or certain hand gestures for an iWatch could be all it takes to accidentally make an emergency call. You can find ways to change those settings below.

 

Emergency SOS information for Apple Users

Emergency SOS information for Samsung Users

 

Birch Creek welcomes big band jazz

You’ll soon hear the sounds of Ellington, Miller, and Basie grace the grounds at Birch Creek Music Performance Center. Students of Birch Creek’s Big Band Jazz session moved into their rooms on the Egg Harbor campus on Sunday before they play their first concert featuring swing music and other favorites on Wednesday. Much like previous sessions, the size of the performance groups will be a little smaller than last year due to COVID-19 protocols. Executive Director Mona Christensen predicts they will make up for their size with their energy, especially Birch Creek’s jazz ambassadors who will be traveling around the county this summer.

The first of 16 Big Band Jazz session concerts at Birch Creek Music Performance Center will be on July 14th. Christensen says the county’s farmers markets are among the many places you will be able to catch the organization’s Jazz Ambassadors this summer. You can hear our full conversation with Christensen by clicking this link.

 

Photo courtesy of Birch Creek Music Performance Center

New sidewalk in Sturgeon Bay possible

You may have an easier path to walk to your grocery shopping experience in Sturgeon Bay. A City of Sturgeon Bay citizen’s thoughts are being moved forward and a new sidewalk along North 14th Avenue could soon be a reality. The constituent’s thoughts were brought up at a recent Parking and Traffic Committee meeting and the proposed sidewalk would merge the sidewalk system along Egg Harbor Road with Tadych’s Econo Foods. The sidewalk is in Alderperson Seth Wiederanders district, and he finds it necessary. 

 

 

The Parking and Traffic Committee is hopeful the sidewalk would be installed next spring. 

 

Broadway by the Bay returning to the Kress

The Door County YMCA is going north of Sturgeon Bay to celebrate an event coming back in 2021. On Thursday, July 15th, the YMCA is having their third annual Broadway by the Bay after having to cancel last year’s event. The program will take place at the Kress Pavillion in Egg Harbor.

 

The highlight of the event will be performances from concert pianist Jodie Desalvo and Johnathan Zeng, who is a Tenor from Chicago. The Door County YMCA’s Annual Campaign Director Alyssa Dantoin says that you may be familiar with them as they’ve performed at Birch Creek Music Performance Center. She says it’ll be a night of celebration.

 

 

Nicolet Bank and Door County Medical Center are sponsoring the event.

 

Belgian Heritage Center tours showcase renovation

If you go to the Belgian Heritage Center in Brussels this year, you will see a part of the newly renovated center. The center has finished its renovations on the 1894 former convent and parochial school. Joe Alexander, co-chairman of the center, describes some of the artifacts now stored in the schoolhouse.

 

 

The Belgian Heritage Center is open every week for self-guided viewings Friday through Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm. If you wish to schedule a tour led by one of their guides, you can call the number at the Heritage Center or email them at tourinfo@belgianheritagecenter.org. In August, the Belgian Heritage Center will hold its annual Kermiss event full of authentic Belgian food and drinks, along with live music and a bucket raffle. More information on tours and events can be found on the Belgian Heritage Center website.

Boat ramp revenue well ahead of 2020

You may have thought last year’s spike in boating was a temporary fix, but then you would be wrong. City of Sturgeon Bay City Administrator Josh VanLieshout said that in a budget planning session earlier in the week, they went through boat ramp revenue numbers to find that this summer has mightily outperformed the last two. So far, in 2021, boat ramp revenue is $6,000 more than it was in 2019 and 2020. VanLieshout says it’s an indicator of the outdoor interests people have picked up in the last year. 

 

 

VanLieshout added that it seemed like Independence Day weekend in the city of Sturgeon Bay was successful. 

 

Maritime Museum, library partner for free passes

You are able to check out museum passes the next time you pick up books at the Door County Library. All eight branches of the Door County Library system will have a limited number of family membership passes to the Door County Maritime Museum available to check out through a new partnership. The “Door Access” pass will allow families of two adults and all kids to visit the Door County Maritime Museum’s three properties in Sturgeon Bay, Gills Rock, and on Cana Island. There are no holds and are good for five days. Deputy Director Sam Perlman says it all part of the museum’s initiative to be as accessible to all local families as much as possible.

The Door County Maritime Museum is also part of the Museums for All initiative which allows families on food assistance to purchase discounted passes and the Blue Star Museum program giving free admission to service members and their families. The Door County Library will also carry copies of the museum’s new magazine and the Journal of Cana Island Lightstation.

Kewaunee Public Library Debuts their Story walk

If you find yourself going to the Kewaunee Public library, you will be able to see the newest edition of their story walk. With the support from UW Madison’s Read Africa program, the library is showing off one of the latest books they purchased with the grant. You will find on the story walk, the children’s book Ostrich and Lark by Marilyn Nelson about a friendship between an unlikely pair. Carol Petrina, director of the Kewaunee Public library, describes how this book pays homage to the country it depicts.

 

 

Along with the book used in the story walk, you will also find many books that educate on Africa and or are written by African authors on the library’s shelves. The Ostrich and Lark story walk is not the only activity that the library has planned for the summer; you can find information about other activities and events on the Kewaunee Public Library website

 

Belgian Days sees great start

You could feel the Belgian spirit in Brussels this weekend as Belgian flags surrounded the town park. Friday started the 60th annual Belgian Days festival which runs through Sunday. Brussels Lions Club President Jared Spude said a few hundred people came to the event on Friday for a live concert. On Saturday morning some took part in the biggest EMR Run the event has had to date. As that was starting a line formed and looked on at the homemade Belgian waffle breakfast. Live music is another staple of the festival, and Spude talked about the event's popularity and the lengths people go to make it. 

 

 

The event was held in drive-thru fashion last year. Spude said seeing people of all ages back on the dance floor was special. 

 

Picking the Right Kayak Paddle

Most people spend more time picking their kayak than picking their paddle.  But your paddle is the way you move your kayak, so, you should try to buy the most expensive, lightest paddle you can afford.  Lighter paddles are less fatiguing, meaning you can enjoy your time on the water longer and feel less sore at the end of the day.  Also, more expensive paddles use better components.  The formula that was shared with me by a paddle industry marketing manager is each ounce heavier your paddle weighs is like paddling and extra 100 pounds per hour.  I would suggest a paddle no heavier than 30 or 31 ounces.  You will be a happier kayaker.

 

Standard sized blades like the Aqua-Bound Sting Ray Hybrid is perfect for most recreational kayakers.  And, at around 30-ounces is very light, high quality and surprisingly only costs $149.  The standard sized blade is for a low-angle stroke with the paddle relatively horizontal while paddling.  Oversized blades, like the 31 ounce Aqua-Bound Manta Ray Hybrid is also a high-quality, reasonably priced at $149 and is perfect for those sit-on-top fishing kayaks that need a little more horsepower.  Oversized blades have a bigger bite, more control and high angle paddling where the shaft is more vertical during your stroke.

 

Picking a paddle is also dependent on your height and the width of your kayak.  For example, if you are 5’7” tall and your kayak is 24” to 28” wide, then a paddle 230 cm would be best.  You can find sizing charts on most paddle company websites, like Aqua-Bound/Bending Branches, a Wisconsin company.  Generally, most touring kayaks are narrower and require a shorter paddle, with recreational and fishing kayaks wider, requiring longer paddles.

 

If you have any questions about selecting the right paddle, email me at kayakfishingwisconsin@gmail.com and I’d be happy to assist.  Also, check out one of the area outfitters who have knowledgeable staff who should be able to help.

 

 

Dolly Parton's Imagination Library remains popular in Door County

All kids should read books, and the Door County Partnership for Children and Families has a free way for your little one to get a new book each month. Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a program she started which is a free book gifting program for kids aged five and under that Door County participates in. Door County joined the program in 2019 and there are certain geographic areas around the country where the program operates. Kids enrolled in the program get a monthly book mailed to them that’s tailored to their age group. 

 

Door County started mailing the books in January of 2019, and instantly smashed expectations, according to Chad Welch, the partnership’s community impact coordinator.

 

 

Welch says their network of local agencies they partner with helped the program get the word out and grow fast. There are around 1100 kids between the ages of 0 and 5 in Door County, and they’d like to get all of them enrolled. Welch says at their highest point they had over 700 kids enrolled in mid-2020. There is roughly a month between sign up and when your toddler is enrolled into the mailing process. More information on the program can be found here.

 

Sturgeon Bay finishing up park projects

The City of Sturgeon Bay is on schedule this summer with park improvements on the west side waterfront.  Namely, the Otumba Park project and the walkway on the old railroad spur in Sturgeon Bay are nearly complete.  Bay View Park is a one-acre park on West Larch Street behind Sonny’s Italian Kitchen and Pizzeria that overlooks the shipping canal.  Municipal Services Director Mike Barker says some benches for Bay View Park are on order and will be installed within the next couple of weeks.  The pathway has been repaved with a reseeded lawn area.  The Otumba Park project is more than halfway completed, according to Barker.

 

 

Barker adds that an ADA handicapped-accessible matting pathway to reach the water from the main walkway will be available at Otumba Park as well.  According to Barker, Sunset Park on the city's east side continues to present challenges from last year’s standing water and flooding that required removing several small trees and hedges that died.  The city invested in rip rap last fall to deal with the higher water levels.  All the park projects are expected to be completed within the next two weeks. 

Tower climb planned for 9/11 commemoration

You can get very familiar with Door County’s newest attraction while remembering the lives lost on 9/11. Pioneer Fire Company, the Sturgeon Bay Fire Department’s non-profit arm, is teaming up with the Door County Maritime Museum for the 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb Race. Participants will climb the museum’s Maritime Tower ten times in remembrance of the 110-story World Trade Center. After taking a few years off from commemorating the terrorist attacks, Sturgeon Bay Assistant Fire Chief Kalin Montevideo says this year’s anniversary is one to remember.

You will not be trudging up the stairs by yourself either. In addition to the other participants, everyone will receive a card with the name of a person lost during the attacks to keep with them. Upon finishing, the Sturgeon Bay Fire Department Honor Guard will ring a bell in their memory. Proceeds from the event will benefit both the Pioneer Fire Company and Door County Maritime Museum. Registration is open now for the event, which is scheduled to take place on  September 11th at 9 a.m.

Fair exhibitors carry stories into the ring

With every exhibitor leading an animal around the Kewaunee County Fairgrounds this weekend, you will find a story following closely behind.

 

Vivian Barta and her cousin Clay are officially exhibiting animals for the first time at the Kewaunee County Fair after entering kiddie showmanship two years ago. With a little help from their grandfather Jerry, the pair on Thursday brought pigs into the new show pavilion named after their late father Andy Barta. Both admitted they were nervous, but also excited for the opportunity.

Caleb Salentine has exhibited pigs and his baking skills at previous fairs, but has never shown dairy cattle before this year. This is despite his family owning a dairy farm just a few miles away from the fairgrounds in Luxemburg. He says it was the people involved in the 4-H Dairy Project that got him wanting to participate in Friday’s show.

 

While Barta and Salentine are celebrating firsts this year, Marie Prodell is closing the book on her Kewaunee County Fair showing career. Thursday’s beef showmanship competition marked one of the last times she will have her own animals at the fair. She does not plan on going away anytime soon as she hopes to help other exhibitors like Madison Mertens. She offers some advice to those wanting to get more involved in exhibiting animals.

Even though many of the livestock shows have ended, the exhibitors and their animals will still be hanging around the barns until the Kewaunee County Fair ends on Sunday.

 

INTERVIEW WITH ALIZA JACOBS AND ANNA PRAVECHEK

 

 

 

 

State seeing slight rise in COVID19 numbers

Kewaunee County’s weekly COVID19 report is trending downwards while the state’s daily numbers are heading the opposite direction. In Kewaunee County’s report that comes out on Fridays, just one positive case was reported this week and there are just two active cases in the county. There were no new deaths or hospitalizations. 

 

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported the seven-day average of new cases jumped from 85 on Thursday to 91 on Friday. The seven-day average for new deaths also moved to two. The Wisconsin DHS site says statistics are preliminary as death numbers can lag. 

 

In Door County, 66% of residents have one or both doses of the COVID19 vaccine and 63.7% are fully vaccinated. In Kewaunee County, 41.2% of residents have at least one dose and 39.7% are fully vaccinated. 

 

 

Kewaunee County participation needed for contingency plans

If you live in Kewaunee County or Manitowoc counties you are being asked to fill out a survey that will be used for emergency planning. The survey’s purpose is to identify how people respond during emergency situations with no prior warning. This includes emergencies related to wildlife, chemical spills, or a radiological event. Kewaunee County residents are being asked to fill it out because of their proximity to the Point Beach Nuclear Plant that sits in Manitowoc County. 

 

Kewaunee County Emergency Management Director Tracy Nollenberg says the information they are asking for is something gathered about every ten years to help perform an evacuation time study. 

 

 

NextEra Energy, the owners of the plant, are aiming to get at least 450 participants in the survey which Nollenberg says should take you just a few minutes, and could be life-saving.

 

Ribbon cut at Eagle Tower

All the stars aligned for a beautiful day at the Eagle Tower in Peninsula State Park where an official ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on Friday. Speakers representing the Department of Natural Resources, Friends of Peninsula State Park, and others spoke in front of a large crowd that came out to celebrate the tower being officially fully open. It was an emotional day as people gave thanks to the abundance of people who lended a hand in the tower’s construction. The importance of the tower’s ramp allowing wheelchairs or strollers was not lost at the ceremony. Peninsula State Park Superintendent Eric Hyde says it has already offered special experiences. 

 

 

Hyde also said the ramp has gotten a lot of use by everyone and that for how much use it gets they probably could have built the tower without its steps. He added that the reviews they get on the tower have been nothing but positive, and says it will be a good spot for you to check out stars in a few months. 

 

 

 

Update: Local missing teen located

Update: According to the Door County Sheriff's Department, Ashley Norris from the Township of Sevastopol was located around 10:45 PM on Saturday, July 10th. A notice looking for Norris was put out on Friday, July 9th. 

Original story

The Door County Sheriff's Department stated in a social media post that they are looking to locate a missing person listed as a runaway. The Sheriff's Department is searching for Ashley Norris from the Township of Sevastopol. Norris was last seen at 12:30 AM on Friday morning. The Sheriff's Department is asking you to call them at (920) 746-2400 if you have any information.

 

(Photo from the Door County Sheriff's Department)

 

 

Summer season sweetened with cherries

Your favorite cherry orchards in Door County are brimming with fruit this season. The county’s sweet and tart cherries are about a week ahead of last year thanks in part to the recent hot and humid weather pushing the crop along. For some orchard owners, that means visitors are able to pick their own cherries. For others, that means bringing out the heavy machinery and large staff out to the field to pick the millions of cherries hanging off of trees. Wood Orchard owner Steve Wood says the cold stretch earlier in the year caused cherry growers some concern, but Mother Nature is lending a hand now.

According to Destination Sturgeon Bay, Door County’s 2,500 acres of cherry orchards produce between eight to twelve million pounds of fruit each year. That makes it the fourth-largest producer of cherries in the country.

Sturgeon Bay's Under the Stars Night Market returns

Sturgeon Bay’s 3rd Avenue is once again yours on Saturday night this summer.

 

The Sturgeon Bay Under the Stars Night Market returns for a second season after making its debut during the pandemic. The city shuts down the entire street so visitors can enjoy outdoor shopping and dining in a unique atmosphere. Carly Sarkis from Destination Sturgeon Bay says the street will be a little more full than last year thanks to more vendors and businesses participating, but she adds there will still be plenty of space for people to move around. She believes last year’s Under the Stars Night Market was good for the overall mental health of the community.

The Sturgeon Bay Under the Stars Night Market will take place every Saturday beginning July 10th through August 28th from 5 to 9 p.m.

Return to normal welcomed at Kewaunee County Fair

You could have confused the early week rain with tears of joy when the Kewaunee County Fair officially opened to the public on Thursday.

 

It’s been two years since the midway last bustled with activity and the sounds of judges at the fairgrounds’ new livestock show ring could be heard. Junior fair entrants had some of their exhibits judged earlier this week with livestock judging beginning on Thursday. The Kewaunee County Fair will have many of their old favorites back, but also has plenty of new events this time around including different bands and a monster truck show on Friday. Fair Secretary Isabella Haen is grateful for the community support the event has received after having to cancel last year’s edition.

The pandemic left the fair without a Fairest of the Fair overseeing the weekend-long event and assisting Junior Fairest of the Fair Morgan Servaes. Taylor Paye was tapped for the role in recent weeks three years after being tapped as the fair’s top showperson. Paye knows exhibitors were sad about last year’s cancellation and she is happy they get an opportunity to participate this time around.

The Kewaunee County Fair runs through Sunday. You can find the schedule by clicking here.

 

 

Folk Festival going virtual again

For the 42nd year, the Door County Folk Festival invites you to hang out with other folk fans and educate yourself at their 2021 virtual festival. The folk music celebration was originally held in Sister Bay and has since expanded to Ephraim and Baileys Harbor. While the festival is going online this year, you won’t have to worry about the quality of workshop teachers dipping. Via zoom, teachers come from Greece, North Macedonia, the Netherlands, Hong Kong, Brazil, and other countries around the world, as well as the United States. 

 

Festival Director Paul Collins says the event that kicks off on Friday evening has virtual rooms set up that pay homage to its history. 

 

 

Collins says the festival was logged into about 400 times in their first year going online, and the logins were from all over the world. He says right now there’s over 300 people signed up and there’s a good chance more will join at the last minute. When the festival is an in-person event, it typically draws around 100 people, mostly from the midwest with some outliers. More information on the festival and its schedule can be found here.

 

Child Tax Credit Coming in July 2021

Beginning on July 15th, the IRS will be sending out Tax Credit payments to families with children as part of the American Recovery Act. Amy Kohnle, the executive director of the United Way of Door County, describes what this program means for families in need.

 

 

If you are eligible for these tax credits, you will receive $300 for children under the age of six and $250 for children between ages six and seventeen. As of right now, payments will occur on the 15th every month, beginning for the rest of 2021. Congress has yet to decide if they will be extending this financial support into 2022. If you are unsure about your eligibility for receiving these recurring payments, there is more information on the United Way of Door County Website and the IRS website

 

One positive, one hospitalization in Door County

Just one person tested positive out of 43 people who tested for COVID19 in Door County this week, but one person was hospitalized due to the virus. Door County’s weekly COVID19 report which comes out on Thursdays reported no deaths and that active cases went down by five, and is now just at one. The county has now had 99 COVID hospitalizations. The state did get its first reported death of July and the seven-day average for new positive tests jumped up from 71 to 85 on Thursday.

In Door County, 66% of residents have received a COVID19 vaccine dose and 63.7% have completed the series. In Kewaunee County, 41.1% of residents have one dose and 39.6% are fully vaccinated. In Wisconsin, 50.6% of residents have at least one vaccine dose. 

Door County Public Health said in a Facebook post on Friday that the vaccines are extremely effective and safe as Door County is starting to experience the benefits. The post also said that counties with high virus activity are ones with low vaccination rates. They added they’ll be monitoring the potential impact of variants and the best way to keep the community safe and healthy is to ensure that every eligible adult and child is vaccinated. 

Evers signs budget

Governor Tony Evers put several fights to bed on Thursday when he signed 2021 Wisconsin Act 58, the 2021-2023 biennial budget. In signing the budget, one of the largest tax cuts in Wisconsin history has been made, which Evers says follows through on a 2018 campaign promise to cut taxes for middle-class families by ten percent. The governor signed a $2 billion individual income tax cut.  

 

Governor Evers also announced an additional $100 million in new funding for public schools to go with investments already in the biennial budget. The budget provides approximately $685 million in additional net general and categorical school aids, which pleased Evers as it will hit the two-thirds funding goal in the next biennium, which is the next two-year period. 

 

 

Governor Evers also pointed out $129 million being put toward broadband expansion and a $2.39 billion surplus to start the next fiscal year. Evers did veto parts of the bill rather than drop the entire bill and start over, saying he didn’t want to leave $2.3 billion in federal funds up to chance. The budget including the list of vetoes can be found here

 

County jail misses programming opportunities

You will not find some basic programming required by Wisconsin State Statute at the Kewaunee County. The lack of space is to blame for the aging facility not being able to offer the programming that falls under Wisconsin Department of Corrections regulatory code 350. This covers programming such as religious services and classes towards earning a General Education Diploma.  It could also include programming designed to improve an inmate’s mental and physical health. As the smallest and oldest county jail in the state, the only space the current facility has available for programming is its visitor room, which is currently used for attorney visits. Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski says these services could hold the key to rehabilitate a person rather than just incarcerating them.

 

 

Joski says the lack of the ability to host such programming at the jail has been a concern of not just him, but other area sheriffs and the state jail inspector. You can read more about this topic below.

 

FROM SHERIFF JOSKI

I hope everyone had a pleasant and enjoyable Fourth of July holiday. It is definitely good to see people re-engaging in the various outdoor activities we all look forward to throughout those winter months. As a bonus, it has also been a relatively safe summer thus far, so let’s all do our best to keep it that way.

 

During our continued discussions regarding the planning of a new Jail Facility, the value of jail programming and education was brought into question. This is a component of the project which has great importance not only from my perspective, but also that of my fellow Sheriff’s and our state Jail Inspector. It also important to note that the ability to provide programming and educational opportunities for those incarcerated in county jails is of such significance that it is in fact part of the Department of Corrections regulatory code 350 which governs the operations of all local jails throughout Wisconsin. Specifically DOC 350.31”Programs and Services” and DOC 350.32 “Religious Programming”

 

The belief is that for programming to be effective, there needs to be long term incarceration such as what is common in our state or federal prison systems. While it is true that the length of sentences for those incarcerated in our jail facility is much less than that of a prison facility, it is none the less important as we have the ability connect those who struggle with resources that may in fact change not only their behavior, but more importantly the contributing factors behind that behavior. The ability to connect our inmates to services is not hampered by short term stays as we then utilize our community partners in these areas for follow up so as to increase the potential for successful outcomes.

 

A good example of this type of programming could be an educational component such as pursuing a GED. Even if the inmate were to be released before the completion of the program, having it initiated within the jail provides the structure and support that can then carry through once outside the facility. The same can said for mental and physical health programming, or even job training.

 

The reality is that for those who find themselves in our jail facility, the availability of resources such as those mentioned may be the first time in their lives they were provided a path towards accomplishing a goal that would have significant positive impact for them as well as their families. Or for those who find themselves within our jail struggling with mental health or addiction, the ability to access the needed resources are literally life changing and in some cases possibly life saving.

 

Although our ability to provide such services has been minimal due our existing facility limitations, we are very excited to incorporate them in our new facility with much greater effectiveness. We will continue to work with our community partners as we have in the past, to provide life changing skills and services, and provide them in a safe and effective environment.

 

Just as in the past, my offer of jail tours is extended to anyone who has an interest in seeing our current facility conditions as well as to have a discussion regarding our planning process towards a new facility. Please feel free to contact m on my cell phone at: (920)255-1100

Weborg home sold

You will soon see a home on the move in Gills Rock. The Town of Liberty Grove Board approved the $1,000 purchase price for the home formerly owned by Betty Weborg. Stefanie Burke was the only bidder for the house and now will have until the end of the year to get the house off the property at an estimated cost of $20,000. Town Board Chairperson John Lowry says they were disappointed by the number of bids and the final purchase price, but ultimately the board decided it was time to move on.

Moving the home will allow the town to further develop the future Mariners Park on the site. There are a few other structures on the site, but Lowry says it is likely the town will demolish them and remove them on their own. The Town of Liberty Grove purchased the Gills Rock parcels in 2018 for just under $1.5 million.

 

Pictures from home listing on Realtor.com

Supreme Court sides with residents over Kewaunee County farm

Local environmentalists are declaring victory after a pair of Wisconsin Supreme Court decisions on Thursday, including one involving Kewaunee County residents.

 

The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is allowed to consider the environmental impact on groundwater when issuing permits of high capacity wells and the number of animals on a farm. Chief Justice Annette Ziegler and fellow Justices Jill Karofsky, Rebecca Dallet, and Ann Walsh Bradley sided in favor of the environmental groups while Justices Patience Roggensack and Rebecca Bradley dissented. Justice Brian Hagedorn did not participate according to court documents.

 

Kinnard Farms was at the center of one of its suits with five Kewaunee County residents objecting to its water pollution permit approval in 2012. The residents argued that the DNR should have been able to prevent the Casco operation from increasing its herd to more than 6,000 animals and require different groundwater monitoring measures. Opponents to the measure say the DNR does not have the authority to offer stricter guidelines under Act 21. Madison-based Midwest Environmental Advocates has represented the five Kewaunee County residents since the beginning. Executive Director Tony Wilkin Gibart says it should have never taken eight years to get to this point, but calls the decision a true David vs. Goliath moment. He adds it shows that Wisconsin residents have the right to demand clean water.

Wilkin Gibart says while the decision would allow the DNR to put an animal cap on large farm operations, he is not sure if that would mean that Kinnard Farms or others would have to remove animals if it was determined they were above the cap. Representatives from the Dairy Business Association and Kinnard Farms could not be reached as of Thursday morning.

 

Photo courtesy of Midwest Environmental Advocates

 

Court decision on Kinnard Farms case

Court decision on high capacity wells case

 

Sister Bay hosts Freedom Fest on Saturday

If you did not get enough of the Independence Day revelry in Door County last weekend, Sister Bay has you covered. The village will once again host its Freedom Fest on Saturday at Marina Park. Running from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., the night features food from the Sister Bay Lions Club and a fireworks display at dusk. Louise Howson from the Sister Bay Advancement Association believes celebrating Independence Day a week later has really benefited the community since it started the tradition five years ago.

Freedom Fest kicks off a busy stretch of festivals for the village, which includes Bricks by the Bay on July 24th and 25th, the Door County Festival of Fine Arts on August 14th, and Marina Fest Labor Day weekend.

 

Picture courtesy of Destination Door County

COVID-19 Update: Numbers see uptick, Kewaunee County Fair hosts vaccination site

The state’s COVID-19 numbers saw a small increase on Wednesday ahead of the reports given out later this week by Door and Kewaunee counties.

 

The seven-day average for new positive tests went up to 71, an increase of eight from Tuesday. The state also saw one additional death. Door County remains one of 52 counties with a medium disease activity level while Kewaunee County is one of 18 counties with a low disease activity level.

 

Both counties remained consistent with their vaccination rates from earlier this week. The Kewaunee County Public Health Department announced this week it will host a vaccination clinic at the Kewaunee County Fair from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Friday. The vaccination clinic will take place just outside the main fair gate inside the county’s Mobile Command Unit.

 

Door County will release their weekly report Thursday morning while Kewaunee County will distribute theirs on Friday.

Sturgeon Bay crews wrapping up road projects

A little rain will not prevent you from driving on some area roads this weekend.

 

Since June 28th, the City of Sturgeon Bay has completed six different road projects impacting motorists on South 9th Avenue, North 6th Avenue, Belmar Street, North Sixth Place, South Fulton Avenue, and West Spruce place.

 

In an update from City Engineer Chad Shefchik, the recent rains have made it difficult to finish some of the current roadway projects, but does believe work on Memorial Drive, North 18th Avenue, Alabama Place, and North 3rd Avenue should be completed before the weekend.

 

Shefchik also stated the intersection of Memorial Drive and 18th Place will be closed Thursday morning to through traffic for pavement replacement. It comes after the city installed a new concrete spillway and added storm sewer improvements earlier this spring. The work is estimated to be finished by the end of the day on Friday.

 

PROJECTS COMPLETED SINCE JUNE 28TH

 

-          S 9th Ave from Memorial Drive to Texas Street

-          N 6th Ave from Delaware Street to Belmar Street

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

-          N 6th Place from Florida Street to Erie Street

-          S Fulton Ave from W Spruce Drive to W Spruce Place

-          W Spruce Place from S Fulton Ave to S Geneva Ave

 

PROJECT POTENTIALLY COMPLETED BY THIS WEEKEND

 

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

-          N 18th Ave from Michigan Street to Iowa Street (pictured above)

-          Alabama Place from Bonnie View Drive east to its termination

-          N 3rd Ave at Alabama Street

Water quality cases prepare for court dates

 Two court cases with local ties to water are waiting for their day in court. Last month, the Clean Water Action Council of Northeast Wisconsin joined the Midwest Environmental Advocates and four other stakeholders to intervene in a Waukesha County Court case involving the Wisconsin Manufacturers Commerce and the Wisconsin DNR. The intervention charges the WMC with trying to undermine the Wisconsin Spills Law and limit the DNR’s ability to investigate spills involving hazardous substances like PFAS. CWAC Executive Director Dean Hoegger says a ruling would limit what the DNR could do about handling all hazardous substances, some of which the public does not a lot about yet.

Hoegger says it will take a number of weeks before they will find out if they will be accepted as intervenors in the case. He believes the public deserves a voice in the case since it is their health that will be affected. The Wisconsin Supreme Court is expected to weigh in another case of local interest involving the Midwest Environmental Advocates on Thursday. The state’s high court has indicated it will issue a decision regarding how the DNR can regulate water pollution permits for large farms, stemming from a nearly eight-year-old case involving Kinnard Farms and a group of concerned Kewaunee County residents.

New Sevastopol addition unveiled from behind brick curtain

Not even two months since the last students left Sevastopol School for the summer, you can finally see the district’s new addition. The 1924 portion of the building was recently demolished as crews continue to remove the rubble by the truckload every day. Even locals can get in on the action with the district selling bricks for a dollar apiece. While you can see the new multi-million dollar addition in the background, Sevastopol School District Superintendent Kyle Luedtke says there will be some construction work in the foreground as well.

The project is still on target to be completed on time for when students report to class in September. Luedtke says good progress is being made on its athletic facilities as well. The district is replacing the track, the bleachers, and the press box where its football, soccer, and other outdoor sports teams play.

All-night access at YMCA already impactful

It’s been a little over a month since you’ve been able to visit the Door County YMCA at all times, and so far it’s been a success. They started offering 24/7 access at both Sturgeon Bay and Fish Creek locations on June 1st. People have taken advantage of this development by applying for a key FOB that can get them in at any time of the day or night. 

 

Director of Financial Development and Membership Services at the Door County YMCA, Tonya Felhofer, says it’s been beneficial for people whose work schedules make it tough to find time to come in during regular business hours.

 

 

Felhofer adds that just about all activities are on-limits during late-night hours except using the swimming pool. Felhofer estimates that they’re nearing 500 FOBs sold, and that on any given night they see 15-20 people using the Door County YMCA. She says busy hours go until midnight and die down until about 4:00 AM. 

 

Connector Link looking for more takers

Door County Connect introduced their new free Wednesday ride-share service in May, the Connector Link, and are urging you to hop on to get around Sturgeon Bay. The mini-bus used for transportation hasn’t been as full as they would like, but they do feel like more awareness of the service will help boost the number of patrons. One reason given for the number of open seats on the vehicle still is that there is uncertainty about where the route will take them or how long they may be on the bus. Door County Transportation Manager Pam Busch suggests you take a ride when you have some free time, even if they're not making a stop you need that day. 

 

 

Door County Connect also hopes that the service gets heavier use once the ADRC building fully opens for lunch. The capacity for the mini-bus is 14 in most cases, but for now, the capacity is at four passengers with a same-household exception. 

 

 

The Wednesday service is also convenient for the five percent discount senior citizens get at its grocery stops, including helping riders get up to four grocery bags onto the bus. It also makes it a point to stop at common senior residential spots at lunchtime. Route stops are marked and you can view the schedule below. 

 

 

(Pickup point marked at Econo Foods) 

Granary project picking up support

If you’re looking for an update to the renovation to the Door County Granary that has received a lot of attention, you got your wish in Tuesday’s city of Sturgeon Bay Common Council meeting. The Door County Granary, formerly the Teweles and Brandeis Granary, received an endorsement from the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The endorsement also pairs with a financial commitment according to Executive Director Beth Renstrom, who offered an update on the granary renovation at Tuesday’s city of Sturgeon Bay Common Council meeting. Renstrom also mentioned that the endorsement puts them in good company. 

 

 

She said the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society has been working with the granary’s architecture, engineering, and construction teams to finalize design plans. She did acknowledge concerns of project speed but made the argument that they are going at a higher speed than some realize. 

 

 

Completion of the project is expected for early 2022. Renstrom said the support for the renovation has received growing support from the community as awareness for the project has increased. She adds that fundraising is also on target. 

 

League of Women Voters vetting response to important issues

The Door County League of Women Voters hopes for 2021 to continue its path of being a year of advocacy for efforts supporting Door County’s mental health and substance abuse needs. A study presented earlier this year highlights an initiative of a group of LWV members and community residents that dates back to early 2018. That’s when they brainstormed ideas to address questions related to substance abuse and mental health issues. Membership Coordinator for the Door County League of Women Voters Susan Kohout says they wanted to understand Door County’s response to those issues and what help was available for people wrapped up in them.

 

 

The League of Women Voters started to interview people from agencies, departments, and organizations in the county to get a sense of how they work regarding understanding their strengths, roadblocks, and what they see the needs in the community to be. The LWV finalized a study last fall that was paraphrased and is on their website.

 

The LWV’s legislative subcommittee has been active in following up on this study, bringing forth things they hope to see in the budget to Rep. Joel Kitchens and Sen. Andre Jacque. Kohout says one pleasant surprise was people from numerous agencies complementing Door County on how well its agencies and people work together. The LWV finalized the study last fall. A digital copy of the study on the LWV website

 

Common Council hears housing recommendations in Tuesday meeting

The City of Sturgeon Bay held a Common Council meeting on Tuesday that spanned nearly three hours. The biggest items in the open session had to do with hearing recommendations on proposed housing developments. The Common Council received a recommendation from the Finance/Purchasing Committee to accept the Development Agreement parameters with S.C. Swiderski for the Sunset School Redevelopment. The development project is an approximately 26-unit multiple-family dwelling abutting Delaware St, North 8th Avenue, and Erie Street. The properties would have attached garages, and the Common Council shared positive sentiments about the proposed development.

 

The City Plan Commission also gave a recommendation that shows their support for approval of a preliminary Planned Unit Development for Northpointe Development Corp. to develop a 53-unit multiple family dwelling located on the West Waterfront Redevelopment Area. Council members agreed that stipulations forbidding the units from being used as short-term rentals were important. It was also brought up that suggestions brought forth at the last meeting regarding spots in the parking garage for bikes and a select amount of electric charging stations should be looked into.

 

In other business, a list of second readings to tweak ordinances were passed. A second reading approving a repeal and recreation of the municipal ordinance was approved affecting salary changes for elected officials. Salaries for alderpersons goes from $600/month to $650/month and from $800/month to $850/month for the mayor. 

 

The second reading for a command structure change in the Sturgeon Bay Police Department was passed which will dissolve the Lieutenant position and create an Assistant Chief of Police position. The rationale being to make structure more in-line with other departments in the state.

 

Another second reading that passed was a repeal and recreation of the municipal code on concealed carry. That was also to be more aligned with state statutes, and reads that no person, except a peace officer or concealed carry permit holder, shall carry concealed on his/her person any dangerous or electronic weapon. After closed session, a motion was made and passed to purchase for $51,600 a parcel on South Hudson Avenue.

 

Kewaunee refinancing pays off

The city of Kewaunee updated the public with positive long-term financial news on Tuesday. In a press release from the city they shared that the common council has worked for several months on refinancing older debts, which is projected to result in saving over $200,000. The release cited loans taken out in 2018 for repairing water, sewer, and stormwater mains on Miller Street and Highway 42 as well as the Marquette School demolition. They also pointed out a later loan in 2019 for rehabilitating River Road. The city issued $1,515,000 in General Obligation Refunding Bonds, combining the separate loans and providing a reduced 2.12% interest rate. The final saving over the life of the bonds is reported to be $206,149. City of Kewaunee Mayor Jason Jelinek said in a release that the Common Council and himself are scrutinizing the use of your hard-earned tax dollars to save every nickel that they can. 

 

No COVID deaths to start July

Wisconsin is seeing good returns in their fight against COVID19 to start July. In the Wisconsin Department of Health Services COVID19 report on Tuesday, they reported zero deaths from the virus for the sixth straight day. The seven-day average for new cases in a day as of Tuesday is 63. In Door County 65.9% of residents have at least one dose of the vaccine and 63.6% are fully vaccinated. Kewaunee County has 41.1% of their residents with at least one vaccine dose and 39.5% are fully vaccinated. 

 

COVID19 data in the state is updated daily by Wisconsin DHS and can be found here

 

Troublemakers headed south

Cathy Grier and the Troublemakers will be taking their talent to a city rich with blues history for an international competition. The Troublemakers competed with seven other bands at the Paramount Blues Challenge on June 27th in Waubeka and won the right to represent the Paramount Music Association and the state of Wisconsin at the International Blues Competition from January 19th to January 23rd in Memphis. 

 

Members of the band have played in Memphis before but they’ve never played there together. Cathy Grier’s excited to play on the big stage and represent Wisconsin, as she displays appreciation for Wisconsin's role in blues music history.

 

 

The band had a record that was released during the pandemic. Grier is excited that there’s people around the country and internationally who have listened to the album but haven’t watched a performance yet. Grier’s looking forward to doing live shows to promote that album and adds that there's likely another album coming in the future. The Troublemakers will be busy between now and January. Shows booked include July 10th in Two Rivers and you can hear the band on July 14th at Martin Park in Sturgeon Bay for the Harmony by the Bay concert series. The band will also perform at Milwaukee’s SummerFest in September. 

 

Traditions return for 60th Belgian Days

After a drive-thru year in 2020 due to the pandemic, you will find many of the things you have been missing at the 60th annual Belgian Days. Hosted by the Brussels Lions Club, Belgian Days marks its return with an extra day of food and fun that is free to the general public on Friday. In addition to the Brussels Big Dogs baseball tournament, Belgian Days is welcoming back its Saturday morning  Belgian Days Run/Walk organized by the Brussels-Union EMRs and its Sunday parade. While the 60th anniversary will bring back some of its past queens and the Ring the Bell contest, Lions Club President Jared Spude is proud of the Belgian food that continues to be highlighted during the weekend.

Proceeds from the event benefit the Brussels Lions Club and their community efforts. Spude says they are currently working to rehabilitate some of the equipment at the town park in addition to adding pickleball courts and other new features. You can click here to see the full schedule.

Door County Dispatch fields 300-plus calls

You were not alone in Door County if you heard more than few sirens over the holiday weekend. The dispatch report from Friday through the beginning of the day on Tuesday showed 329 calls were fielded over the holiday weekend. That includes 110 calls to dispatch on July 4th into the early morning hours on July 5th.

 

Firefighters tended to four fire calls during the holiday weekend. On July 3rd, Gibraltar Fire and Rescue tended to a vehicle fire near Wandering Road in Fish Creek. Fire Chief Andy Bertges says it started shortly after the vehicle’s owners took it out for a ride after removing it from storage.

The Sturgeon Bay Fire Department also responded to a pair of fires over the weekend. The owner of a vehicle had firefighters check it out after it caught fire on July 2nd on Quincy Street. On July 3rd, firefighters were called to an early evening brush fire near Haberli and Brauer Roads in the Town of Sevastopol. A utility pole was also damaged, which prompted a call to Wisconsin Public Service.  

 

Some landscaping on Mill Road in Sister Bay caught fire on July 4th from a discarded cigarette. Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Chief Chris Hecht reminds residents and visitors that we are coming off a dry spell where conditions could be drier, making the possibility of accidental fires starting more likely.

Door County part of election recount quest

A New London man has taken it upon himself to look into last November’s presidential election and is including Door County in his search.

 

In a Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel report over the weekend, Peter Bernegger wrote in his lawsuit against Door County Clerk Jill Lau that he asked to inspect and take photos of hard drives, memory sticks, election manuals, vote tabulations, and other documents. He was granted access to some but not all of the items he requested. Bernegger filed his lawsuit on May 27th with the county. The county issued an affirmative defense, or a legal argument defending their liability in a lawsuit, on June 16th. Bernegger amended his request a day later and provided evidence on June 25th. The county responded with another answer and affirmative defense last Friday. Judge D. Todd Ehlers is presiding over the case.

 

Lau declined to comment on the matter, instead directing it towards her attorney Andrew Jones. He could not be reached Tuesday morning.

Kewaunee County looks to rescind emergency resolution

Kewaunee County will no longer be operating under a public health emergency if it is approved by the Board of Supervisors later this month.

 

The Kewaunee County Executive Committee unanimously approved the motion during its meeting on July 5th. The county has been operating under a public health emergency order since March  17th, 2020. Subsequent emergency orders included closing the county’s offices for a period of time, changing the rules regarding emergency sick leave and Wisconsin FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act), deferring revolving loan payments, and approving videoconferencing and teleconferencing for committee and board meetings.  

 

With the vaccinations widely available and other municipalities rescinding their emergencies, Kewaunee County Administrator Scott Feldt said during Monday’s meeting it no longer needed to keep theirs.

The final decision rescinding the public health emergency will take place at the Kewaunee County Board of Supervisors meeting on July 20th. The executive committee also discussed applying for additional funds through the state’s broadband expansion grant program. The full meeting can be viewed here.

Wiederanders staying vocal in legal cannabis conversation

As July celebrates hemp month and its variety of uses, many in Wisconsin are wondering if the dairy state will follow the lead of Michigan and Illinois in legalizing cannabis in the near future. Even though the budget the Wisconsin senate recently passed scratched Governor Tony Evers’ proposal for legal marijuana, one city of Sturgeon Bay Common Council member refuses to shy away from the discussion. 

 

Alderman for the city of Sturgeon Bay’s sixth district, Seth Wiederanders, says he’s absolutely for Wisconsin moving ahead with legalization. Wiederanders is largely responsible for the current stipulation surrounding marijuana use in Sturgeon Bay as his proposal removing fines for using it on private property was passed in 2019. Along with medical benefits, Wiederanders finds Wisconsin to be losing tax dollars from legal marijuana sales to Illinois and Michigan. Wiederanders find the process of gerrymandering to be the biggest hold-up in legalization.

 

 

Though Wiederanders doesn’t know exactly what the cannabis industry in Sturgeon Bay would look like if legalized, he does think there would be entrepreneurs ready to cash in and help the local economy. When speaking with constituents on the issue, Wiederanders says there’s very few opponents of legalization, citing his surprise to see the reaction to his proposal two years ago. 

 

 

Wiederanders feels like it’s inevitable that Wisconsin will pass allowing recreational use, but is just dragging its feet.  

 

Common Council coming meeting highlighted by closed session

The City of Sturgeon Bay Common Council meeting features a stacked agenda on Tuesday, July 6th. To begin the meeting will be a presentation on the Door County Grain Elevator. After the mayor’s report there will be a closed session to consider three items. 

 

The first item behind closed doors according to the meeting agenda is consideration of Tax Incremental Financing assistance for WWP Development, LLP proposed development within Tax Increment District #4 (West Waterfront Redevelopment Area). The next item in the closed session will deal with a housing complex that has received plenty of opinions lately. That item is Consideration of Development Agreement with Northpoint Development Corp. for the Breakwater Residences. This is the proposed 53-unit dwelling on the waterfront. The last item in the closed session is Consideration of Purchase of Property at a parcel on South Hudson Avenue. The meeting begins at 6:00 PM.  

 

Local artists enhance downtown Kewaunee walk

An annual art contest is now on display in downtown Kewaunee for you to take part in. Winners of the Kewaunee Art Walk were decided in June when a panel chose between a variety of banners showing the works of local artists. Now residents can join in on the fun by grabbing a ballot for the People’s Choice Award, which can be found at the Kewaunee Area Chamber of Commerce. All of the banners showing artwork submissions can be viewed by walking around downtown, and each banner has a number to identify it. Renae Schlies, who helps facilitate the competition, complimented the diversity of artists in it this year. 

 

 

The winner of the People’s Choice Award will be announced at Kewaunee’s Concerts in the Park in September. Art Walk award winners are listed here:

 

  • 1st place: Abby Ostermeier
  • 2nd place: Samantha Parma
  • 3rd place: Judy Delain
  • Honorable mentions: Robin Nelson, Linda Arendt, Cami Prokash, Carissa Crawford

Lienau happy for board's return

Seeing people mill around after last month’s Door County Board of Supervisors meeting was a happy sight for chairperson Dave Lienau. It marked the first time since the beginning of the pandemic last year that all of the supervisors were in the same room together. Previous meetings had small groups of supervisors spread out in the Door County Government Center and some individual members participating from home. Lienau says like any virtual meeting, it had its hiccups along the way. He added there are a lot of positives that come out of meeting in person that do not make the headlines.

When the Door County Board meets again on July 27th, it could be introducing a new member. The deadline to apply for the seat vacated last month by Laura Vlies Wotachek is July 14th.

Rotary Shipyard Tour tickets available online now

You can now order your tickets online to experience an insider’s view of the shipyard industry in Sturgeon Bay this September.  The Rotary Club of Sturgeon Bay is again sponsoring the annual shipyard tours which are typically held the first Saturday in May.  The 28th annual event was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic and rescheduled for Saturday, September 11 this year.  Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding, the Door County Maritime Museum, and CenterPointe Yacht Services will be opening their doors for tours.  Specific one-hour time slots for tours at Bay Shipbuilding will be offered this year.  Parking and bus services will be provided between the venues throughout the day.  Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for children with only 1200 total tickets available.  All proceeds from ticket purchases go toward Rotary Youth Interact charitable projects.  You can find the link to order tickets online here.

Fish release just as vital as the catch

With fishing season in its’ prime time of the year, both visitors and locals are casting out from the shore and on boats, and just as important as the catch is what you do after it. Catch-and-release fishing continues to increase in popularity throughout Wisconsin, and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is reminding you to alter your gear or methods to minimize hooking mortality. This could lead to using different hooks or trying to set the hook sooner. 

The DNR also wants you to add deeply hooked fish to your bag limits, releasing only fish with a survivable hookup. Fish hooked in the gills are under clear stress may not have a high chance of survival after release. The DNR adds that fish have delicate gills and jaw muscles and holding a fish by its gills or lower jaw can cause permanent damage, making it hard for them to eat after being released. Some release tips from the DNR include:

 

  • Keep fish in water as much as possible.
  • Hold your catch with two hands and gently release it back into the water
  • Handle the fish as little as possible and use wet hands or gloves
  • If the fish is deeply hooked, cut the line and let the fish go.

New tradition born in Sturgeon Bay

On Sunday morning, people in Sturgeon Bay met at the bridge on Michigan Street to walk the historic steel structure, and celebrate its 90th birthday. The day started with a briefing on the history of the bridge from the board president of the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society, Christie Weber.  It was the first year the event took place, and Sturgeon Bay Historical Society member Annie Lampert says she was blown away by the turnout.

 

A good crowd came to pay homage to the bridge’s history, but it hasn’t always been celebrated. Lampert commends Weber on her efforts to keep the bridge standing. 

 

 

Lampert added that the bridge walk will now be an annual event and each year is a dress rehearsal until the 100-year celebration.

 

 

 

Sevastopol bringing back 50+ year reunion

A special type of high school reunion is coming back for people who once roamed the halls of the Sevastopol School District. On August 29th, if you graduated from Sevastopol High School fifty or more years ago, there’s a reunion for you. The event has gone on for several years, but took the year off last year because of the pandemic. Nancy Schopf, who is the chair of the event this year for the hosting class of 1968, says there’s about 100 reservations so far and more coming each day. The reunion has its fair share of yearly regulars, and guests come from different pockets of the country.

 

 

She said the event typically has typically drawn 200-250 people. To make a reservation you can call Nancy Schopf at 920-743-4873.

 

Volunteers needed to handle Door County Triathlon

People will engage their competitive side when the Door County Triathlon comes back this year, and you’re encouraged to help run the event. The triathlon that was called off last year is scheduled to be held on July 17th and 18th. The YMCA will be helping as usual for the event’s return. The YMCA fields over one hundred volunteers yearly, and while they have a good start, they’re looking for more help on July 18th. Annual Campaign Director at the Door County YMCA Alyssa Dantoin points out that volunteers often don’t have to go far from home to serve. 

 

 

On July 17th there is the sprint triathlon and kids triathlon and on July 18th is the half-iron triathlon. Some of the funds generated from the event go to the YMCA’s annual campaign and its missions. Events will start from Frank E. Murphy Park in Egg Harbor. Information on the event can be found on the Door County Triathlon website.

 

(Photo from the Door County Triathlon) 

Blessing of the Fleet returns to Smashed on the Rocks

The Blessing of the Fleet in Algoma took place on Saturday, June 3rd, at Smashed on the Rocks for its 4th year. The event started at 11 am with food and drinks available for all who came. At 2 pm, live music was played by the band For What Its Worth. Then at 6 pm, the boats began lining up to wait for the Coast Guard boat. At approximately 6:30, the boats all started making their way out of the canal and into the lake. In the marina, an Algoma Fire and Rescue truck gave the boats their salute by aiming a hose above the traveling ships. Like previous years, the boats then took a lap around in a circle in the lake before returning to dock. The night continued with more live music from the band Annex. Then at dusk, Smashed on the Rocks began their firework show that many of the residents of Algoma watched.

Neighbor to Neighbor celebrating 2020 accomplishments

Neighbor to Neighbor in Door County released statistics that highlighted the ways they greatly impacted the community in 2020. Although the number of people served was down just a bit due to the lockdown at the beginning of the pandemic, Executive Director Ann Bennett says they really kicked into high gear last summer once the state partially reopened. In 2020, Neighbor to Neighbor helped residents save over $450,000 in medical expenses and fifty-three volunteers donated 1587 hours to facilitate medical equipment loans, maintain equipment, serve as peer companions, and assist with special events. Though opportunities to assist were limited at times, Bennett says they found a way.

 

 

Neighbor to Neighbor will be celebrating their achievements in the July 27th annual meeting at the ADRC building in Sturgeon Bay. There they’ll also announce volunteer awards. As of Friday, Neighbor to Neighbor has an abundance of incontinent supplies to give away. To donate to the incontinent supplies or inquire about their availability you can call (920 743-7800. You can also RSVP to their annual meeting by calling the same number. 

 

Restaurants utilizing outdoor seating to meet demand

Door County hospitality businesses are adapting to a post-pandemic labor shortage and a high-demand tourism season this summer.  Dylan Kwaterski from the Florian II Lakeside Supper Club in Baileys Harbor says adding more outdoor seating and a remodeled “Harbar” with a food truck has helped to accommodate more customers in a relaxed atmosphere.  He says the limited seating capacity inside due to COVID restrictions last year set the stage for more waterfront activities being held outside this summer. 

 

 

Over 200 people are expected this holiday weekend to pack the lawn at the Florian II. Kwaterski adds that the family-owned and operated business includes the Blue Ox across the street that shares employees to cover work shifts.  He notes the loss of workers from the J-1 Visa program as a challenge all Door County businesses have experienced this summer.  The Florian II Supper Club has been open since 1973, and the family restaurant dates back to 1956.  Dylan’s father Joe and his twin brother Jerry currently own the business begun by their parents Florian and Ada Kwaterski.

Johnson staff visiting in Door and Kewaunee County

Constituents have some time available to report to U.S. Senator Ron Johnson’s staff this coming week. Johnson announced through a press release that his staff will be making stops in Door and Kewaunee County on Tuesday and Thursday, allowing people a window of time to meet and request assistance with a federal agency or regarding other federal matters. Johnson will first make it to the area on Tuesday, July 6th at the Luxemburg Village Office from 1:00 PM until 2:00 PM. Johnson will head further north on Thursday when he is in Ephraim from 1:00 PM until 2:00 PM at Village Hall. Restrictions prohibiting press at the staff-led office hours are put in place to protect the privacy of constituents. 

 

Enjoying your Independence Day in Door County

Festivities on the peninsula have been underway this weekend, and on Independence Day they aren’t slowing down. Sunday’s slate of activities includes the only parade on the actual Fourth of July in Egg Harbor beginning at 1:30 p.m. Baileys Harbor started its day-long block party with the fire department’s pancake breakfast at 7 a.m. The block party is in place of the town’s usual parade.  Sturgeon Bay hosts its annual Independence Day festival called “Sturgeon Bay Celebrates” at Sunset Park beginning at 5 p.m. and a band at 6 p.m. Gills Rock will welcome visitors for its own celebration beginning at 5 p.m. with a boat regatta starting at 7:30 p.m. Sturgeon Bay, Baileys Harbor, Gills Rock, and Washington Island will all host fireworks displays on Sunday night.

 

Showing appreciation for soldiers beyond the fourth

The Fourth of July weekend is a premier time to celebrate the United States and show appreciation for all the sacrifices made for it, but that’s also something you can do well after the holiday. There’s a variety of ways you can show appreciation for people in uniform, but Adopt a Soldier Door County founder Nancy Hutchinson points to one particular way that doesn’t take any extra communication but speaks volumes. 

 

 

Completing a house or lawn chore for a veteran in your neighborhood is just two other ways to show your gratitude. Hutchinson even mentioned getting creative and assembling a care package. Adopt a Soldier sent out July 4th boxes to soldiers in early June.

 

Moneypenny signs off

Destination Door County CEO Jack Moneypenny spoke to his Door County audience one last time before departing his position. After spending over a decade leading Door County’s vision for effective tourism and marketing, Moneypenny signed off in a newsletter sent out this week. Moneypenny showed pride in saying that his staff and himself have accomplished the mission they embarked on fourteen years ago. He outlined the challenges faced when he took on the role, stating he was directed to take new room tax dollars and market Door County to increase tourism and find new customers. 

 

Moneypenny said in the letter that his next great adventure is in Madison. Moneypenny’s last official day with Destination Door County will be July 14th. Since Moneypenny announced his coming departure, the organization tabbed Communications and Public Relations Director Jon Jarosh as Interim CEO while a national search for Moneypenny’s replacement continues. 

Quick response saves boat

First responders took action around around 8:00 AM on Saturday morning to rescue a boat that was sinking. The US Coast Guard got a report of a boat at Harbor’s Club Marina on North Madison Avenue in Sturgeon Bay that was taking on water. Upon their arrival, the Sturgeon Bay Fire Department was already assisting at the scene. No one was injured, but USCG Petty Officer Third Class Jacob Hallam does note the Coast Guard’s equipment was helpful in speeding up the draining process. 

 

 

The USCG Auxiliary offers and encourages vessel safety checks by calling 920-450-6069.

 

Habitat volunteers working double time

Door County Habitat for Humanity volunteers are anxiously waiting to meet their partner families.

 

The organization has the foundation poured for a three-bedroom home and a four-bedroom home in Sturgeon Bay with hopes of putting up walls in the coming weeks. Volunteers are about a month ahead of schedule compared to last year when the pandemic delayed the groundbreaking until July.

 

Construction Supervisor Chuck Stone is thankful for having a great mix of new and experienced volunteers this year, but admits it is different not having a partner family around.

The organization will announce the partner families in the near future. Stone encourages people who cannot volunteer at the job site to shop at the ReStore, where funds can be used to offset the higher prices of materials.

Servaes excited for Fairest reign to hit peak

The wait to walk the Kewaunee County Fair midway as the Junior Fairest was a lot longer for Morgan Servaes. After not being chosen to be the Junior Fairest of Fair in 2018, the Algoma High School student earned the title in 2019. She was able to attend a few events early in 2020 before the pandemic put her reign on hold. In the fall, the Kewaunee County Fairest of the Fair Committee elected to allow Servaes and Fairest of the Fair Kiley Pagel to continue their reign through 2021. Servaes has only recently received the chance to don the crown in public in recent weeks like last Sunday’s Kewaunee County Breakfast on the Farm. She is excited to finally oversee the fair as its Junior Fairest after a three-year wait.

Servaes will have a different but familiar Fairest walking the fairgrounds with her when the fair officially kicks off on July 8th. The 2019 Fairest of the Fair Paige Bellin will assume the role for 2021 after a great opportunity pulled Pagel away from the area for the summer.

Fight against invasives rages on

You can help the Door County Invasive Species Team take on the likes of garlic mustard, wild parsnip, and phragmites.

 

It has been 20 years since talks of creating a concerted effort to fight invasive species first began. In the years since the Door County Invasive Species Team has been able to get landowners and other stakeholders to buy in on the impact of invasive species and providing them the tools, the education, and the dollars to make those efforts successful. Funding has been crucial for the Door County Invasive Species Team’s efforts, which included the over $23,000 received from the latest round of Wisconsin Coastal Management Grants announced earlier this week.  

 

In addition to helping install boat and boot cleaning stations at various sites, Door County Conservationist Samantha Koyen says simple outreach efforts have also been effective.

Koyen says no specific plans have been made on how to use their most recent grant, but added the focus will remain on common invasive species and new varieties such as the Japanese knotweed.

Mayor Ward excited about project progress

The city of Sturgeon Bay has been making up for lost time this summer by getting back to old activities and showing off what they’ve been working on lately. With tourism season in full swing, Mayor David Ward says there’s three areas that have seen work this year that he’s really excited for locals and visitors to come see. Graham Park next to the Oregon Street bridge is one. When the entire project is complete, it’ll include amphitheater seating, gardens, and free community games. It’s open but they are awaiting final steel and aluminum to put a fountain there made by local artist Rob Soukup. 

 

Mayor David Ward also looks forward to people using the west waterfront promenade walkway between the Michigan and Oregon Street bridges on the westside of Sturgeon Bay. The promenade is open and being used, though not a finished product. 

 

 

The area under the most construction right now is the Otumba Beach project which will increase the depth of the beach and include an ADA accessible beach mat. The improvements are on pace for a mid-July opening. Mayor Ward doesn’t want that to discourage people from visiting Otumba Park.

 

 

Mayor Ward says there’ll be a lot of ribbon cuttings in the city’s future. He says the city is in much better shape to display its assets than it was a year ago. 

 

Under five weekly cases for Kewaunee County

In Kewaunee County’s weekly COVID19 report released on Fridays, the county went under five total cases this week and are now under a handful of active cases, with just two. Seven people recovered from the virus over the week and there were no deaths or hospitalizations. 

 

In Wisconsin, 50.4% of residents have either one or two doses of the vaccine. In Door County, 65.8% of residents have one dose and 63.2% are fully vaccinated. Kewaunee County has 41% of residents with at least one vaccine dose and 39.5% are fully vaccinated.

 

Blessing of Fleet kicks off holiday weekend in Algoma

You will be able to celebrate Independence Day weekend and wish area anglers good luck this summer with just one stop in Algoma. The city will be the site for the annual Blessing of the Fleet for the fourth time on Saturday. The old Mediterranean tradition was resurrected after a number of fishing boats caught fire in 2016. At 6 p.m., boats will be led down the Ahnapee River by a U.S. Coast Guard boat while witnessing a water salute. Smashed on the Rocks owner Rana Ninneman says it usually is held earlier in the fishing season, but this arrangement fills a void in the city.

The Algoma Blessing of the Fleet is also being paired with live music and food throughout the day and fireworks at dusk.

 

Photo courtesy of Algoma Chamber of Commerce and Josh Kohanek

Virtual school options varying

It depends on your child’s district when it comes to school being taught virtually this fall. Every school district in Door and Kewaunee counties offered it last year due to family concerns around the pandemic. The percentage of students that stayed at home for their education varied from district to district and changed as conditions warranted it during the 2020-2021 school year.

 

Some districts like Algoma will continue to offer the remote learning option, but Superintendent Nick Cochart does not anticipate a significant number of families to choose it.

 

Gibraltar Superintendent Tina Van Meer says remote learning will only be reserved for those suffering an extended illness or another medical condition that requires them to stay at home.

 

Sturgeon Bay School District Superintendent Dan Tjernagel says they are looking at a product called OdysseyWare for its middle and high school students and have students check in with staff on a regular basis. Elementary-aged children may have to use a different platform.

 

Sevastopol School District Superintendent Kyle Luedtke says families who choose the remote option will have to commit to at least one semester and their principals will connect students with teachers within the Wisconsin Virtual School. He believes this will allow teachers to have more focus on the students in the classroom.

Tjernagel credits special education and pupil services director Lindsay Ferry with help on their virtual options after previously teaching at the Rural Virtual Academy. He admits what the district did last year for its students was unsustainable. Classes will be back in session for all students in Door and Kewaunee counties in September. 

Gills Rock museum debuts salute to fishing industry

The Death’s Door Maritime Museum is helping you coin a new phrase when you go out to eat in Door County. The Door County Maritime Museum’s Gills Rock campus is premiering its new “From-Net-To-Table” photography exhibit to celebrate the area’s fishing industry. The photographs featured in the exhibit take visitors onto commercial fishing boats, introduces them to the staff at processing facilities, and sits them down at the restaurants that serve the final product. Door County Maritime Museum Deputy Executive Director Sam Perlman says the great aspect of the exhibit is that it is all about what is happening now.

The Death’s Door Maritime Museum will host a ribbon-cutting for the new exhibit on Saturday at 11 a.m. The museum is open seven days a week through October.

 

Fisherman Will Henriksen. Photo by Cassie Buntin/DCMM

Card collecting experiences boom

Baileys Harbor’s Joe Miller carries a picture of his mother everywhere he goes with his collection of sports cards, but not for the reason you might think. Miller credits his mother with saving his collection at a time when many parents would have thrown them out or given them away. He bought many of his cards as a child for as little as a penny, but Miller didn’t pick up the hobby again in earnest until he went to a card show when he was in his 50s. Since then, he has collected cards from all of the major sports dating back as far as the 1910s. Miller enjoys the historical and social aspects of card collecting.

Card collecting has experienced a surge in popularity in the past year due to the pandemic. The website eBay announced earlier this year a 142 percent surge in domestic sales in 2020. According to the Action Network, specific cards of Mickey Mantle, Michael Jordan, Tom Brady, and Wayne Gretzky have sold for more than $2 million. It is a part of the hobby Miller does not like.

Miller is putting a portion of his collection up for sale Saturday and Sunday at a sports card show he is hosting at his Baileys Harbor home. A portion of the sales he is donating to the Door County Food Pantry Coalition. You can listen to our full conversation with Miller on our Podcasts page.

Sheriff's Department prepped for busy weekend

With cooperative weather expected this weekend your prediction of Door County being busy is likely a safe one. With that, comes increased traffic all over the county. Door County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Pat McCarty suggests people give themselves extra time when driving from one location to another.  

 

 

Thus far the tourist season has brought a large influx of visitors. McCarty thinks it could be because of the COVID pandemic curtailing many tourist efforts last year, and making people that much more excited to get out this year. 

 

The Sheriff’s Department will have extra staff on hand this weekend, and state patrol presence in the area. McCarty says they want you to have fun this weekend but to be careful. 

 

Favorable holiday weather makes preparation key

The sun is supposed to prevail on the peninsula for the weekend, so while you’re advised to have fun, you’re also reminded to have emergency prevention plans in place. Even though you may be making arrangements for fun in the sun, a spokesman with Ready Wisconsin, Andrew Beckett, says to set aside time out of it. He also notes to listen to your body. 

 

 

While the forecast predicts sunny skies on the weekend, Beckett explains not to be overly reliant on the predictions with Wisconsin’s sometimes unpredictable weather. 

 

 

Beckett also notes that fire suppression should be part of your plans if you are thinking of being around open flames. He also adds for outdoor activities, you should bring repellent for any risks you’ll be facing, such as ticks or mosquitos. 

 

Peninsula prepares for the Fourth

While some traditional events make be taking the year off in 2021, communities in Door and Kewaunee counties are prepared to celebrate Independence Day this weekend.

 

It starts on Friday night when Little Sturgeon hosts its fireworks display.

 

On Saturday in Door County, Johnny G’s Fishing Hole is the ringleader for the Idlewild Independence Day Parade at 11 a.m.  The parade towards the bar and restaurant begins at Hainesville Lutheran Church. The Friends of Rock Island State Park hosts its traditional Independence Day cookout and fundraiser beginning at 11 a.m. Egg Harbor kicks off its Independence Day activities at 4 p.m. before the Modern Day Drifters take the stage at 5 p.m. Birch Creek Music Performance Center will be the scene for its traditional Independence Day weekend concert beginning at 3 p.m.  Egg Harbor will cap off their festivities with fireworks at dusk. In Kewaunee County, a pair of Algoma businesses will host fireworks celebrations for the community to enjoy. That will be preceded by the Blessing of the Fleet near Algoma’s Smashed on the Rocks beginning at 6 p.m. The city of Kewaunee will not host a parade this year but it will still have a day full of activities including a cookout hosted by the Muskrat City Sportsman’s Club and veteran’s salute at 8:45 p.m. The city will also have a fireworks display at dusk with a “ground show” near Lakehaven Hall and a more traditional display over the lake.

 

Sunday’s slate of activities includes the only parade on the actual Fourth of July in Egg Harbor beginning at 1:30 p.m. Baileys Harbor will host its day-long block party starting with the fire department’s pancake breakfast at 7 a.m. The block party is in place of the town’s usual parade.  Sturgeon Bay hosts its annual Independence Day festival called “Sturgeon Bay Celebrates” at Sunset Park beginning at 5 p.m. and a band at 6 p.m. Gills Rock will welcome visitors for its own celebration beginning at 5 p.m. with a boat regatta starting at 7:30 p.m. Sturgeon Bay, Baileys Harbor, Gills Rock, and Washington Island will all host fireworks displays on Sunday night.

Kitchens' room tax bill receives signature

Representative Joel Kitchens shared enthusiasm for a bill he authored being signed on Thursday. The bill is supposed to ensure local municipalities are receiving the correct amount of room tax revenue from short-term rental companies. Representative Kitchens voiced his excitement through a press release on Thursday stating, “I am glad the governor recognizes the importance of my legislation and the impact the tax has on our state and our tourism industry.” Kitchens cited a 2019 bill requiring providers such as Vrbo to collect and remit the room tax on behalf of their short-term rental clients, saying it became common for businesses to remit the tax revenue based on zip codes. 

 

Kitchens views that as an issue because there are many areas in Wisconsin where several communities share a zip code. Wisconsin Act 55 is aimed to do away with that problem, and make it easy for lodging marketplaces to comply with the law and meet their room tax obligations. To help ensure the process goes correctly, the state Department of Revenue is required to create a form for these businesses which seeks this information:

 

  • Total sales for properties located in a municipality with a room tax
  • Total number of nights such properties were rented
  • Room tax rate and total tax due

 

The DOR is also tasked with posting the name of each municipality that imposes a room tax, the rate of the room tax, and the mailing address of the municipality. 

 

Fly-In returns to Rio Creek

You might confuse Rio Creek Airport with O’Hare or LaGuardia this weekend when it hosts its annual Fly-In. Several airplanes will land onto the turf runways during the day-long event which also includes an antique tractor and car show, food, music, and kids activities. The fly-in serves as the Rio Creek Aviation Foundation’s biggest fundraiser for not just the upkeep of the grounds but also for its scholarship. It has provided three $1,000 scholarships to young aviation enthusiasts in recent years according to foundation member Bill Roethle.

This year’s Rio Creek Fly-In takes place on July 3rd from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.  The Rio Creek Aiport was established in the early 1970’s by Don Walter and celebrated its 45th anniversary in 2018.

Vickman says goodbye

After 45 years in education, Southern Door Superintendent Patti Vickman has officially finished up her career where it all started.  After graduating from Southern Door in 1972, her path in education took her through Green Bay, Oshkosh, and even Kentucky before landing back in Brussels in 2012 to take over as superintendent. During her almost decade-long tenure, she helped lead efforts to improve the facilities throughout the campus and course offerings for students. It ended with a pandemic where the district was able to have in-person classes the entire year. She will always remember all of things they were able to accomplish during her time as superintendent.

Instead of leaving a note of encouragement for new Southern Door Superintendent Christopher Peterson, Vickman says she is leaving behind a binder full of advice. While she will be using the extra time to visit her grandchildren and reconnect with other friends and family, Vickman will remain on the boards of several local non-profits. She was not the only superintendent to call it a career on Wednesday as Kewaunee’s Karen Treml also officially retired from her post. She was replaced by Scott Fritz.

 

Picture courtesy of Southern Door School District

 

 

Death and Hospitalization in Door County weekly report

In Door County’s weekly COVID19 report that comes out on Thursdays, Door County Public Health reported just one positive case this week, but a death and a hospitalization. Thirty people were tested over the week and active cases dropped from nine to eight in the week. Total deaths from COVID19 in Door County are now at twenty-five and hospitalizations are at ninety-eight. 

 

In Door County, 65.7% of residents have at least one vaccine dose and 62.9% are fully vaccinated. Kewaunee County has 40.8% of residents with a vaccine dose and 39.3% are fully vaccinated. 

 

Wednesday storm capsizes boat, causes fire

The storm front that came through Door County Wednesday afternoon is to blame for a pair of incidents in Egg Harbor. At 3:45 p.m. a boater had to be pulled from the water approximately 100 yards offshore near White Cliff Road. The sailboat the boater was on capsized shortly after the storm front brought heavy rains and windy conditions. Mutual aid was requested immediately from Gibraltar Fire and Rescue for the use of their boat, but Egg Harbor Fire Chief Andy Staats says the boater was able to get onto another vessel unharmed.

About 35 minutes after tending to the water rescue, the Egg Harbor Fire Department responded to a telephone pole fire near Birch Lane. Staats says the fire was extinguished by the time they got there after a branch fell onto a live wire. The department closed the road until Wisconsin Public Service was able to come and fix the issue.

 

Picture courtesy of Egg Harbor Fire Department.

Wisconsin Senate sends budget to Governor Evers

The clock is running on Governor Tony Evers after the Wisconsin Legislature approved the 2021-2023 state budget Wednesday night. Both houses passed the budget on a bipartisan basis with the Assembly voting 64-34 in favor of the legislation on Tuesday and the Senate sending it to the Governor’s office after a 23-9 vote. The budget ignored proposals by Governor Evers to legalize marijuana and expanding Medicaid, but it does include a $3.4 billion tax cut. The tax cut is a large part of why State Rep. Joel Kitchens signaled his support for the budget last month.

After the Senate passed the measure on Wednesday night, state Senator Andre Jacque urged the governor to sign the budget, highlighting state tax relief, a number of northeast Wisconsin projects, help for the most vulnerable, and other investments as reasons to approve it. Governor Evers has six days excluding Sunday to act on the $87 billion budget, which could include some partial vetoes, before it automatically becomes law.

 

Picture courtesy of State Senator Andre Jacque

 

 

STATEMENTS FROM OTHER STATE LEADERS

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos

Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz

State Senator Robert Cowles

Senate Minority Leader Janet Bewley

 

 

 

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